The New Desktop App

The New Desktop App

dan
Roadie

UPDATE - April 16th, 2021

Hey folks,

 

We've tried to cover most of the frequently asked questions concerning the new update in this Spotify Answer - Make sure to check it out!

 

We'll continue to go through all your posts in this blog, so if you have any other questions besides the ones in the FAQ, feel free to add them in a comment below.

 

Thanks,

The Community Moderator Team

 

UPDATE - April 8th, 2021

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday we published a blog post on our engineering blog which goes into more details on the new UI, the reasons behind it and the process of building it.  If you'd like to read a few more details like that you can check it out here.

I'd also like to mention a few things coming in upcoming versions of Desktop

  • We're working on bringing back a list-like Discography view, something many of you have mentioned missing in the new UI.  We expect this to land in an upcoming release, so do watch this space and make sure you remain fully updated.
  • "Discovered On" playlists for artists will be back in an upcoming release.
  • We're working on bringing to Desktop the ability (like in our mobile apps) to see all the saved songs by a particular artist from within the artist page itself.  Again this will be arriving in an upcoming Desktop release.

Thanks,
Dan

 

ORIGINAL POST -----

 

Hi everyone

Dan here from the Desktop team again. I wanted to make another post to once again thank you all for your continued feedback, and also give a little more detail about what we’re doing from here on in.

 

In short, the new user interface is the future of the Spotify Desktop client, and over the coming weeks we’ll roll out the new UI to all Desktop users. Many of you will have noticed already, but we’ve based the new experience on the more modern and scalable Web Player codebase, and in doing so made both versions more aligned and easier to use than ever before.

Why are we making this change?

We believe in the future of the Desktop platform and want to make sure it can still serve the needs of our users now and into the future. 

The existing Desktop UI codebase became increasingly hard to maintain as time went on, and you may have noticed a growing gap between the Desktop and Mobile apps in some cases. For those of you interested in the technical details, a blog post on the engineering blog is coming soon. The short story, however, is that our desire to continue pushing Desktop forward and bringing new features to it became incompatible with the reality of maintaining the legacy experience.

 

Meanwhile, we had a Web Player serving similar user needs, but built in a much more modern and scalable way — with a more cohesive Spotify “look & feel”. We therefore resolved to use the Web Player UI code as the basis for both Web and Desktop in the future, and have been spending quite some bringing the Desktop-class features that you’ve come to expect to this shared platform. You’ve had a sneak peek of this as we’ve been testing and building things out, so once again I’d like to thank you for both being a part of it and giving great feedback on this thread that has definitely helped us improve.

Benefits of this approach

Firstly, I’d like to say that this really is a new beginning for the Desktop app. Long-term Desktop users will start to notice more rapid iteration on the app than they’ve seen in the past.

 

I’d like to call out some of the things in the new Desktop, and also give you a little taste of what’s to come.

 

Design - We’ve focused on consistency, are using more color to enhance the experience where appropriate, and are making better use of cover art and album images in the app. We're also better aligned to other platforms, put an increased focus on accessibility, interactions and animations, and have tightened up our design language, so it’s more in line with what users have come to expect from Spotify.

 

Functionality - We’ve brought the functionality that users expect from Desktop, like sorting/filtering, drag & drop, and advanced settings and options, whilst improving areas like playlist creation and curation, profile pages, and more. In many cases these improvements have landed in the Web Player, so the work here has benefited our combined users on both platforms.

Tip! You’ll also find new keyboard shortcuts for many tasks (press ctrl+? to see them) which makes certain actions much faster and easier for any user.

We are also aware that there are a few aspects raised in the community that haven't been fully addressed as part of this update, but items like the Search Bar and discography on artist pages have ultimately been brought closer in line with other Spotify applications. That said, we will continue to iterate on the experience across both platforms moving forward.

 

The future of Desktop

As mentioned above, this change to the Desktop UI gives us the ability to move faster in bringing you new improvements, features and functionality — so you can expect to see continued improvements to the client in the weeks and months to come.

 

Once again, I’d like to thank you all for helping us shape the Desktop App over the past year on behalf of everyone here at Spotify, and please do continue to post your feedback and use our Ideas section here in the Community to tell us what you’d like to see and why.


Thanks again,

Dan

1,858 Comments
ick1999
Casual Listener

I'm a long time Mac user. The app was at times completely unusable. I'd have to delete library cache and other settings just to get it to start up. I've seen a major improvement with the new UI. Startup takes a minute at most now, where before it was a few minutes or often a black screen indefinitely.   THANK YOU!

cbizz
Regular

This update sucks. 

 

I like to listen to multiple albums by an artist--to play through them as I used to be able to. Now I can't do that but I get album tiles, which is seriously the coolest design pattern from 2016. Thanks for that. 

From your b.s. article: "so we can continue providing you with the best listening experience possible" -Yeah, cool. How is it better? 

Awesome on updating your codebase and changing your UI for change's sake, but pretty sure that doesn't mean you have to eliminate features and make the UX worse.

 

potenzh
Newbie

Not a good update to Desktop UI.  Searches only show a list of album covers - which assumes I know which album a song is on.  No longer has an 'About' feature which was great when discovering new artists.  Starts on a page without a 'Search' option - which is just bizarre... Starts on a page with a big irrelevent advert.  Says 'Good afternoon' which would annoy me at any time of day, and it's currently 00:40AM.  The phony graphic equaliser icon when playing is distracting and not in time with the music.

A_Mystery
Casual Listener

It'd be nice to be able to use the old UI until the new one is more fleshed out (instead of having to install an old version). 

 

I just really don't like changing the UI for change's sake. The new one, as far as I've seen, does not add much if anything to the user experience. It's less clean and more bulky, with the artist shown below the song name and an album picture next to it (making it take up 3 times the vertical space and making navigating large playlists annoying), or the friends tab that I have never used. On top of that, some functionality (like copy pasting into a specific part of a playlist, drag and dropping playlists to show the name and artist instead of spotify URL) was removed and it is buggy (some text is invisible). I can get used to a new UI, but I cannot change functionality. That's where the frustration lies.

 

I've already posted my main concerns here earlier, but for people wondering about local files, they can be found in the playlists tab when you go to your library (as was pointed out in another thread).

zombieman81
Newbie

For the machine I use Spotify on most at present, a GPD Pocket 2 sitting alongside my work laptop so I can have music while I work I have (as I felt like doing when previously commented) performed a file restore putting an older desktop client (mid 2020) back.

 

In that scenario the new UI is totally impractical with the name of the playlist taking up maybe a third of the height of the screen(?) and even scrolling down only a handful of tracks at once. This is an extreme case but the old client worked very well for me.

 

The growing trend seems to be UI/UX designers creating interfaces that work on their snazzy big monitors but make for bad experience on smaller displays trying to use apps at anything less than full screen. Saw similar with Blizzard's Battle.net recently. It's like the UI design target is for devices where you can only have one application on screen at once - tablet or 8-bit home micro style single tasking is NOT a valid design target for a music player especially.

 

Before I launch Spotify on any other computers I will try to remember to take a backup, maybe even taking the time to add the "classic" override to the prefs file as a precaution, because IMHO this "xpui" is just not fit for use yet. Triple clicking of a track name column header to sort by artist? That's an ugly totally non-intuitive hack, not a design!

Medina33
Newbie

With everyday that passes I come to the realisation that Corporate Spotify don't care at all about their customers. We as listeners have been very vocal about the awful changes to the Desktop app. And what do we get in response? An stupid FAQ bulletin in which they justify themselves and keep pretending that there isn't anything wrong with their new platform. They need a REALITY CHECK! 

 

Are you even reading this? If not, why even bother having a community section? Spotify, you went from being the best music platform in the market, to now being absolute trash, but you won't admit it. People at the top of your business thought they could foolish us, spoon feeding us a downgraded version.. But guess what? You haven't actually fooled nobody. The joke is on you! Spotify and Co., you are the biggest loser! 

alerio
Visitor

Was the suggested songs feature removed for playlists? I remember that when you would scroll to the bottom of your playlist you can find songs that are similar to what you already looking for it. I've been trying to expand one of my current playlists and it's rather annoying that I can't find the feature anywhere. There is a "Find more" option, but that only asks me to look for songs or artists. I've attached a screenshot below of what I am referencing..


Before the update:

alerio_1-1618639901104.jpeg

After the update:

 

alerio_0-1618639789652.png

 

GTImk7
Newbie

Hi!
As a very regular Spotify user (listening to music every day via the Spotify desktop application on Windows PC), I want to share my opinion on the new desktop app. I personally like when UI's freshen up from time to time, but it has to be in a way, that an existing user doesn't have to relearn the whole app. (Not only my personal opinion, I think this is one of a few rules to a good UI design) Sadly, this is the case with this update, and not every change has made the app better. In detail:

 

- Search bar: needs to come back to its old place. It is just nice to be able to search for a song at any time, without having to change the active tab first. This doesn't mean the search tab has to go, for extended searching it might be helpful. But for a quick search, I prefer the all-time-visible search bar at the top.

 

- Searching songs inside a playlist: It wouldn't be a huge change to make the necessary search field visible all the time, without the user having to click the icon first to make it appear.

 

- Songnames and artists: They belong next to each other, in different columns. ATM, its tideous to sort a playlist by artists - and I personally thought it wasn't possible any more at all. Plus playlists are not as lucid as they were before the update.

 

- Album covers inline: Didn't like it at first, but now I get it. I'd be fine with it, when song names and artists are separated again.

 

- There seems to be a bug with the order of songs played: In one of my playlists, Spotify keeps playing the songs in the order 1-3-2-4-5-6-7-8... (swapping 3rd and 2nd song). With an empty song queue as well as another playlist played before, doesn't matter. Always plays them in the wrong order.

jimverneuil
Newbie

Not having the exact date of release of a track on the desktop interface makes me go check on Apple Music when it was out ! At some point it's going to be easier switching to Apple Music...

professorludic
Visitor

I actually feel defeated and sad by this update. It makes me feel stupid. I don't know how to interact with it in the ways I've been interacting with it for years (the list of artist's tracks/full discography, for example), but I also I don't have the time or the energy to figure it out, especially with all that is going on in the world right now.  I have zero mental space to spend on "relearning" a tool just so I'm less frustrated with my interactions with it. 

 

I'm tired of redesigns that seem more for marketing purposes than for user experience. I'm also tired of corporate responses that seem little more than "but it's for your own good!" or "keep up or get left behind!". I guess I'll have to get left behind this time. 

 

Updates and changes have benefit and are needed (I don't argue with that), but why can't those be more gradual or less obvious if they really are for bettering user experience? 


I'm fully aware that one disappointed customer's experience doesn't matter an ounce to Spotify, but I felt the need to express myself. I've felt frustrated with updates before (that's to be expected a little), but this is the first time I actually feel sad.

surfyournut
Newbie

Dear Dan and Spotify Team,

 

Thanks for this opportunity to provide feedback. I have to say it took a bit of digging to find the thread. I'll say a few things about the service in general and some specific feedback about the new UI, and allow me to add that I've been a loyal paying customer for a long time.

 

Library Management:

Having always used Playlists to group, save and enjoy music by artists I like, I was glad when the Save feature arrived back in 2014 or so - but I quickly hit the cap of saved songs ("Epic collection, friend..."). What I've always wanted was an easy way listen to the discography of an artist all in one place, but to keep those in a list without relying on memory. Until recently, playlists were the only feasible way to do this, and as such I have thousands. But they're a pain to manage. You either need to use the navigation bar on the left (with no sorting/filtering) to find the playlist you want to add to, then drag and drop albums or songs with the mouse. Or you select and use the right-click contextual menu to add them to the playlist from that same long list. You want to move a playlist from the bottom of the list to the top? Have fun waiting for 10mins as it scrolls when you drag-and-drop! The hidden feature to be able to filter the right-click add-to-playlist list by typing the name of the playlist you want was very useful - but this has gone in the latest update!

 

Now to find and edit your playlist you'll need to scroll the long list in the navigation bar, or in the playlist view in a cluttered, un-customisable interface swimming in oversized artwork. Custom sorting is nice, but this again is managed via the navigation bar on the left, not in the main window - like you'd imagine. Like many others I'd appreciate a slimmed down list-view, and the ability to sort and filter my playlists whilst simultaneously browsing music to add.

 

I've noticed the new 'Artists' view under Library lists artists you've followed, so this is probably the way for me to go for now - but I'll have to retrospectively follow any artists I've missed in the past decade or so. I appreciate that you can download an entire discography, but will need to resort to playlists to sort and filter down music for download on my phone, so the pain points remain.

 

I would love it if Spotify would provide more flexible options for the collection and curation of our listening choices, and guidance on how we as users can manage this more efficiently. Your 'discover weekly' algorithm is usually excellent, but once I've discovered an artist I want to remember them, curate my listening experience and easily chop and change playlists.

 

Smart Playlists:

Further to the above, I suggest the addition of smart playlists, in a similar way to the way Steam does this for games. Even iTunes did this back when it came out.

 

A user should be able to make a playlist that will automatically curate and grow based on your filtering. These could even just be a 'smart search' saved in the guise of a playlist. I see the potential to support this in your software and hope this idea isn't new, please consider it.

 

Bring back text filtering of 'Add to Playlist' contextual menu:

The ability to right click on music in the PC app, go to 'add to playlist', then type to filter the contextual menu's list of Playlists was amazingly useful. This hidden feature was a way to manage a long list of Playlists and quickly add to them. The latest update has removed this feature, and I find no fast way to add the latest music by an artist to their already existing playlist, given that both browsing new music and browsing your playlists occupy the same window.

 

The 'copy' 'paste' method will suffice for now, but it's slower and more time consuming to go back and forth between views.

 

PC Application Performance:

Lastly I'll mention that the new UI on PC (Win 10) is slow and laggy.

 

I've experienced lag scrolling through the new Playlist interface, which I assume is due to caching the artwork of so many. Like others I like the option to see the artwork, but now that I browse by keywords and artist name I rarely even know the artwork for my favourite albums so, unless I'm interested to see it, this serves no navigational purpose. It clutters the view, in my opinion.

 

I've also noticed a lack of responsiveness when performing fairly normal searches and browsing, even just scrolling through the keyboard shortcuts window. My PC is of a high spec, handling games and video editing software with ease, so something is off here.

 

Visual Quality:

Whilst album artwork looks more or less the same, text, icons and buttons appear to have lowered in fidelity, looking jagged and blocky. It does not look like a polished, premium, paid music service.

 

Overall I appreciate some of the new features, but the new UI looks like an alpha product. There are some good ideas in there, but they're disjointed. The User Experience feels rough and my own browsing and listening experience is not as smooth.

 

Best of luck with development, I hope to look forward to the return of some beloved features and improved library management, as well as better user education of how to get the best out of the service.

 

Surf.

lazesummerstone
Casual Listener

Service provider? You mean the company that supplies your internet? Because that’s what a service provider is.

TrashcanMan
Regular

Please bring back the Recently Played page....I used that all the time.  Really feeling frustrated with the simplification (Use it this way or **bleep** off mentality) of the Desktop UI.  If I wanted a Mobile experience I'd use it on my phone.

greathenry
Visitor

As a regular desktop user, I've found the new update frustrating so far.

 

It now seems to take more clicks to achieve anything. For example, I now have to click through each album to find a particular song that I'm looking for, if I can't remember the name of it. What's more is that it doesn't remember the scroll position between pages, so each time you go back, it resets to the top of the page!

 

Removal of the search bar is especially annoying.

 

The UI elements feel way too big by default, and doesn't make good use of the screen real estate. Fortunately, I just figured out that you can zoom out, which is useful.

Hypnos2012
Visitor

We're working on bringing back a list-like Discography view, something many of you have mentioned missing in the new UI.  We expect this to land in an upcoming release, so do watch this space and make sure you remain fully updated.

This needs to happen before my subscription renew date. You have RUINED the desktop app by removing this feature!

Macewindu420
Visitor

Hey can we also get exact release dates back in an upcoming release, right now it just displays the year. 

Other_Self
Regular

Congrats on 1000 posts (which spotify doesn't care about) in this thread.

outtallectuals
Casual Listener

I welcome that the Discovered On section is back on the Web App version, with an even more number of playlists visible (50 i believe), and would love to see this expand on to Mobile & Desktop application now. 

Starbridge
Casual Listener

this app is awful. the clarity was the only reason why i haven't gone to deezer yet

playfan5
Visitor

This update is very bad, and slow and clearly wasn't ready for prime time.

 

Even if the search bar is still one click away, this is such a bad UX decision. Search is the heart of an app like Spotify.

As any browser, being web, music of film, the search bar should always (always) be visible and reachable.

 

So, as a paying user, instead of having a huge useless ad (aka, announcement) on top of the Home page, give us something useful : a search bar.

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