I really like the effort, but I do not think this is better then the current Soundcloud design. Yes, it is aesthetically more pleasing, but I think you made some big errors in terms of usability and user experience. Let me explain:
Although I like the player in the topbar, I think there are some issues with the topbar concept:
- There is a lot of things going on, it’s hard to see anything and there is no hierarchy between elements. I initially didn’t thought the player wasn’t that big until I took a closer look.
- The search bar is gone? Or you replaced it with a button-like search bar. The search bar was so prominent because it’s probably one of the most used elements and the contrast made the search bar really clear.
- I do not know what the icons stand for. I first got to hover the menu items before being able to know.
- It’s much harder to make this responsive. Possible, but harder.
Let’s move on to your content. Like the colours used, and the blur is nice too. There are a few problems though:
- The current design contains much more whitespace and is design clean and contains less visual distraction.
- In your design the soundcloud feed doesn’t look and feels like a feed anymore. It’s impossible to see users interactions with the song (which is a popular feature?). It’s also much harder (to impossible) to interact with activity items on the same page, and makes the whole page a lot less interactive. Also a lot less room for text, so you’d probably have to truncate a lot of long titles.
- The '3 hours' is hard to find and only triggered when scrolling.
So to summarize: great looks, but you’d trade in a lot of user interactivity, usability and experience for it. Hope you take this as positive feedback☺
If he is serious about becoming a product designer he should really consider taking this feedback. This is all great, excellently communicated and very good points.
Thanks for taking the time to write this out.
I agree with some of the toolbar feedback (mostly just moving the icons back into the user dropdown so they can have labels), but honestly I strongly disagree about the content part.
Open up your SoundCloud feed. Mine sure has a lot of white background, but that background is FILLED with little text details and icons, all about the same gray and same size. Honestly it has LESS whitespace than the redesign, even if more of it is literally white. Whitespace means empty space. Very little of this feed is empty:
It isn't clear which track is playing. There are tiny numbers everywhere that aren't really relevant to me unless I can sort by them (I can't) or I'm actively looking at that track. The redesign does a decent job of addressing some of those issues (not all of them).
In many ways it's like SoundCloud needs a cleaned up UI for listeners, and keep more of the details for artists who want to see the stats on each track (or maybe they have an Artist dashboard with all that separate, even more reason to clean it up).
I know I would use SoundCloud more if it looked like that redesign, the current UI frustrates me.
I am not saying Soundcloud's current UI is that great, but I think the proposed design in total is a step back from the current one. I think you can make some great improvements with a few iterations from the proposed design. It's a good first proposal, but it needs some extra thought before having a design Soundcloud could actually release to users.
I think it's great Evan (the person who made the proposal) spent time to improve Soundcloud's design, but so the team at Soundcloud did. The downside of Evan is he probable made this all by himself, so he didn't get the luxury the Soundcloud team has of feedback from colleagues/peers.
That's the main general issue there is with most redesigns people do: they lack the experience the product team gathered from users and the knowledge from problems the product team already encountered. And it's just a lot harder when you're on your own, without insights other people have.
Outside people like Evan do have the advantage of having a fresh look on things and experience with the product – something that the product team will lose after a while because they are so into their own product they don't see things anymore (like banner blindness). You can definitely see that in his design: an entirely new direction that the Soundcloud people could definitely combine with their experience and knowledge of the product.
For example, the introduced blur would be a great addition to display behind Soundcloud's current promoted song with the big graphic behind the graph. And there are a couple of other things the Soundcloud design could really benefit from, but the problem is that Evan tried to create an entirely new design without keeping some of the current design's elements that do work good.
I agree with the sentiment, but I don't agree that his approach here is all that radically different from what Soundcloud has right now.
It is certainly simpler, but overall the layout is the same, the icons are the same, where you would find or do something is in the same place.
Granted he doesn't get the feedback that the Soundcloud team has, but I think he is approaching this as a Soundcloud listener, while the Soundcloud team also has to take artists into account, and as I mentioned I think that's a difference in approach worth exploring.
Hey all. Evan, the author here.
I couldn't have anticipated I'd have so many readers but the feedback is great! I really appreciate everyone who has taken time to leave comments.
Clearly, this redesign isn't perfect and makes some big tradeoffs. I'm thinking I'll do a short follow up piece later on to address the responses.
I <3 feedback! Thanks for reading!
Interesting take.... I actually have been an avid user and content creator of SC for years. When they pushed out the mobile and desktop redesign, I was very displeased.
Steering away from the desktop experience my frustration resided more on the mobile side. They pulled many many key features, that I still miss to this day. A few below-
• track-listings (if they are legally enforcing copyright laws, they should be giving user ability to see track titles)
• who I 'follow' (important feature, your search isn't robust enough yet to rely solely on that method)
• private messages (gone)
• notifications (gone)
• playing app through Apple TV (gone)
• record feature (gone)
• who liked my sets/tracks (gone)
• increasing the size of the artwork and wave stream within my feed has created an incredibly tedious task, of finding something to listen to on my morning/evening commutes
eh, this is an interesting concept, but I have to take issue with a couple points.
The search bar is too wide. At its max-width, the site is 1240 pixels and the input field for the search bar is 668 pixels. Usually the autocomplete feature finishes queries after just a few characters have been typed.
His solution was (I think) to remove all visual cues of it being an input and making it indiscernible from the other navigation links, suggesting it's not an input at all but a link to another page.
Player Widget - Although the player widget is visible on every page, its position at the bottom doesn’t intuitively communicate its utility.
I don't think its placement has anything to do with conveying its utility. I'm pretty sure most everyone understands the utility of a player like this. He doesn't really consider why it is where it is.
The profile picture navigates to the user’s profile and the icons on the right link to their settings, likes, playlists, messages and notifications. The upload link has been removed since it doesn’t need to be accessed at all times. It belongs on the profile page.
Soundcloud deemed messages and notifications important enough to bubble them up above the account dropdown, and now they're mixed in with other utilities, and also moved all the way to the end of the list of icons, which to me diminishes their importance. He also changed the look of them, which caused me to initially think they were removed. The settings icon used to be a dropdown(?) and is no longer a dropdown(?)
I agree that the Upload link isn't used at all times, but when its needed it is one of the most important links on the site, and should be easy and obvious to find.
This is lengthy so I should stop. A good effort nonetheless though.
For what it's worth (and I don't use SoundCloud a whole lot) I use the little stats (plays/likes/reposts/comments/etc) as a quick indicator of how good a track is. Maybe these would be better replaced by some kind of algorithm that can look at the ratio between plays and likes/reposts/comments and throw out an indicator based on that.
Sound cloud is not only for songs. Lot of people do podcast, Audio notes etc. And these comments from users play an important role, at least for me. The current design is more suitable for a music player but definitely not for SoundCloud. Soundcloud is a product for people. You upload your sounds . Removing the upload icon in the title bar will make their product obsolete :)