As a frequent Spotify user, especially of their mobile platform, I’ve witnessed first-hand the various tweaks the company has applied to their applications over the years. Their recent unveiling of the new “Touch Preview” feature is one of the most groundbreaking updates they’ve developed to date.
How It Works
Last Thursday, I pulled out my phone and plugged in my earphones to start my daily commute to campus. To my surprise, upon opening Spotify, I was prompted with a message reading “New! Touch Preview.” I assumed it would be just another update, yet less than a week later, I can attest that it’s much more than that.
The operation of touch preview is just as simple as the name implies. To preview material before deciding to dedicate the next 3-5 minutes of your life to it, all you have to do is press your finger on the touch screen to hear a 30-second preview.
Users can utilize the preview feature when browsing through playlists, as shown to the right, or even within playlists, as shown below.
Previewing Playlists as a Whole
Previewing a playlist before clicking on it is not only useful, but the feature itself has been carefully catered to Spotify’s strengths.
Recently, the service has been very dedicated to enhancing user experience, specifically the experience of searching for new music, by creating hundreds of different playlists to appeal to different users of various moods.
However, when scrolling through these playlists, it can sometimes be unclear what a playlist includes since the user is given little information other than a title and some vague artwork.
By horizontally scrolling through the highlights of a given playlist, the defining features of a playlist now become apparent within seconds.
Previewing Within Playlists
On the other hand, previewing songs within a certain playlist is certainly handy as well.
I’ve been a Spotify Premium subscriber for almost three years. Since the paid service places no limits on the amount of playlists a single user can create and the limit for a given playlist is a whopping 10,000 songs, I’ve built up my fair share of playlists by either following or creating them myself. But even so, I sometimes forget the tune of a song just by looking at the name.
By opening up a playlist and scrolling my finger down the list, I am able to hear a brief snippet of my playlists and easily decide if I’m in the mood to listen or not.
The Specs of the Scrolling
Whether you’re moving your finger horizontally or vertically, the previewing is seamless and smooth. It gives off the vibe of turning a radio dial, evoking nostalgia in those of us that spent much of our life scanning through stations in the car, in the most modern way possible.
While scrolling, if you happen to be in between songs so that your finger is applying pressure to two tracks at once, it blends them together in a manner that made me believe I was the DJ of my own Spotify for a moment.
The new update gives users more control and flexibility in the search for not just more tunes, but better ones. Since the feature aims to improve how users discover music, Spotify also vamped up the way that users can save their new favorite hits.
In a simple swipe to the left, mirroring the Mail update in iOS 8, the track is immediately sent to “Your Music” folder, later to be sorted at their own leisure.
Behind the Update
In an article published last week, Miles Lennon, Spotify product manager, informed The Verge that users were “clamoring” for a music discovery solution and “[they] were pretty obsessed with that problem.”
It goes without saying that his team went above and beyond to create a solution for their users’ desires. This is something you don’t see everyday, and a huge reason why the technology industry is such a great place to be in today. It’s incredible to witness the passion professionals display when they want to help the people they care most about: their customers and consumers.
The new Spotify app, allowing for on-the-go sampling as well as easy swiping for saving, is unfortunately currently only available for iOS. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Android, tablet or even desktop versions roll out shortly.
Are you as obsessed with the new features as I am? Has it improved your user experience as well? Let me know on Twitter at @meganminier or in the comments below!