Spotify Podcasts Redesign

SPOTIFY USERS are loyal to Spotify because of the diverse music selection. Playlists are available for different genres, moods, artists, even specific types of songs that users like. This personalization helps listeners quickly find a playlist that's unique for their specific situation and start listening.

Listening to podcasts on the app, however, feel a lot more clunky. With no unique features that differentiate Spotify podcasts from other platforms, friends and I started to notice our frustrations kept building.

- Why does Spotify podcasts have this frustrating listening experience? What can be done in order to make listening to podcasts on Spotify more personalized and intuitive?

Discovery Phase

To start off my redesign process, I interviewed 10 different people who regularly listen to podcasts on Spotify to understand their experiences. I wanted to understand their pain points, likes/dislikes, general behavior, and the context behind why they listen to podcasts on Spotify and other platforms. I focused on asking:

  1. WHEN do you listen to podcasts?
  2. WHY do you choose to use Spotify podcasts?
  3. HOW do you listen to podcasts?
The most consistent factor I learned is that these listeners use Spotify while they’re doing another activity, i.e. during their commute, during housework, while cooking, etc. Most of them like the ability to passively listen to podcasts since they are generally long and don't require people to skip through them. In contrast, they stated that they generally do have to pay attention when listening to music playlists because they tend to skip through to find songs they actually want to listen to.

In addition, most participants noted they did not like when podcasts have ads in the middle of them. 7 people interviewed paid for Spotify premium while the other 3 had the free version. Regardless of which version they had, participants had to listen to ads because podcasts have sponsorships in the middle of episodes.

- Therefore, I needed to design concept features that will help users listen while minimizing the amount of time they would need to spend on their phone.

Using the qualitative data I collected from the interviews, I broke down a sample user journey through Spotify Podcasts to fully understand what to keep in mind at each step.

Heuristic Review

I analyzed the podcast listening experience. Both the features and UI for the desktop and mobile apps have similar limitations, so I included my analysis of the mobile app here.

Podcasts vary in length and genre, but most are significantly longer than songs and cover multiple topics in each episode. Keeping this in mind, imagine you’re watching an episode of the “Trash Taste Podcast” as seen to the left. You’ve already listened to it before but want to start listening from a specific section during the episode. This brings us to pain point 1:

No Time Markers:

No time markers mean that users must manually scrub through the podcast episode to find a spot to start listening to. This takes away valuable listening time.

After starting the episode from where you left off, you hear an ad in the episode. Really? I have premium and I still have to listen to ads? This brings us to pain point 2:

No Option to Skip Ads:

No option to skip ads forces users to continuously skip forward 15 seconds. This means users have to be physically close enough to their device to both skip forward and have to guess how many times to skip the ad without cutting into the episode itself. This also takes away valuable listening time.

These two factors often mean that users have to spend more time than is ideal scrolling through the episode to start listening from a specific point. From doing research on websites and apps that offer content that can be very long in length, I noted these features that make them more intuitive for users:

  1. Content breakdown with time stamps
  2. Option to skip ads or parts of the content
  3. Ep info easily accessible

The Possible Solution

Based on the work above, I created low-fidelity wireframes that focused on two concept features that will help users START listening quicker and STAY listening for longer.

  1. CHAPTERS: time markers in the episode will give listeners a rough idea of the episode content and the ability to choose where to start listening.
  2. SKIPPING ADS: a skip ad button will help listeners save time because they won’t have to manually skip forward and they won’t miss part of the content in the episode.

The Result

With the research and wireframing done, I went to redesign Spotify’s mobile and desktop apps! I made sure that both versions covered the chapters feature and the ability to skip ads to help make listeners like Kelsey have a better listening experience.

Chapters Feature - Mobile

For the mobile design, I modeled it after Spotify’s lyrics available on mobile. This makes the UI look more familiar and more intuitive for users.

Chapters Feature - Desktop

For the desktop design, I actually decided against modeling it after the desktop app’s version of lyrics (seen above). I decided against it because of two reasons:

  1. The desktop version just has so much more real estate for a full list of chapters.
  2. There is already a section for episode information. Using this already existing function would help reduce the amount of screens users need to click through to access chapters.

This reasoning helped me design this:

Skipping Ads Feature - Mobile

I looked for inspiration from Netflix and Youtube, two companies that offer “Skip Intro” and “Skip Ads” buttons respectively. I ended up putting it right under the podcast logo on the right side because of two reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to put the “Skip Ad” button on the logo itself to maintain continuity and because there might be branding issues if I were to put the button over the logo.
  2. I wanted to put the button in a familiar place: on the right side. Netflix and Youtube put their buttons on the bottom right of their videos, so I wanted to use this already established model in designing this feature.

Skipping Ads Feature - Desktop

I decided to place the “Skip Ad” button on the right side of the play button on the bottom bar. I thought this would be best in order to both even out the number of items on both sides of the play button, and in order to also put the button close to the fast forward button. This would make the “Skip Ad” button stand out already to podcast listeners who already skip forward through ads.


This redesign project was really exciting and challenging for me because I use Spotify so often that I don’t really critically think about the interface and features. Deciding to tackle the podcast feature, something I already have a lot of experience with, really helped me hone in on certain aspects of the app that I would like to see improvements on.

Moving forward, I would perform usability testing on the redesign and preference testing to see how Spotify users would respond to the redesign. One important thing I would concentrate on testing is the placement of buttons as they are to see if they make sense for users.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to contact me with any feedback and check out my other work!

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