Stefan Moritz: prototyping your way to the best Spotify app ever

Veryday worked with Spotify and Microsoft to build an app for Windows Phone - and they did it without writing a spec along the way.

Warning: liveblogging

Prone to error, typos and crimes against grammar. Post will be updated and corrected during the talk and over the 24 hours afterwards. 

Mix. Dance. Play.

That’s how the Windows Phone client for Spotify was built.

Veryday had two clients: the Spotify team (who were too busy to do it themselves), who wanted their ecosystem – their brand – moving to a new platform. And then there was Microsoft, that wanted to show off the power of their platform. They wanted it to be better than the iPhone app. They had to mix these two aims.

Search is one of the most important things on Spotify. People look for specific music. It wasn’t really part of the app, though. So they had to bring the tech in the system into the app in a big way – and that meant working with Microsoft closely. Dancing with them. And they want to bring the social features of the desktop app into the mobile one.

So. they mapped and prototypes features, structure and flow. The main thing was that their eyes were always on the user experience the whole way.

A lot of apps on Windows Phone use the panorama view to create a magazine-like feel to the app. But it tends to stop at the top layer. They integrated it deep into the app, right down to the music. They added a contextual pinch menu that allowed you to control how the music plays, wherever you are in the app.

The magic happens when you use prototyping with a relentless focus on the users. Prototyping is a good negotiation. Numbers build a foundation under a gut feeling. Prototyping builds structure on the top. There were no specs written on this project – it was all prototyping.