Recently, Spotify released a new version of their OS X desktop app. It is prettier than the last version, but in ways that I have a hard time articulating. I think that they went over the fine details and made things like contextual menus look better, as far as font as spacing goes.
If it had just been a facelift, I could have gotten on board with it, but, wow, this is a company that is aggressively testing how far a valuable service will get you.
Their queue functionality has long been problematic, due to a model that baldly makes no sense. You can click â€œplayâ€ on the first track of an album to queue up the whole album. If you then pick another album and â€œqueueâ€ it, it will insert every track of that album after the currently playing song, thus splitting up whatever album you happened to be listening to. You also canâ€™t remove items from your queue once theyâ€™re there, without clicking â€œplayâ€ on another whole song. This instantly clears out your queue. This is less user-unfriendliness and more like outright belligerence toward users.
Meanwhile, they hid the queue; instead of putting it in the nav menu on the left, itâ€™s buried in the bottom of the screen as an inscrutable icon. Very close to the volume bar, which has lost its affordance and instead just looks like a decorative horizontal bar until you hover over it. (Although, truth be told, Iâ€™m curious how far context and relying upon an idiom that users may have actually learned will work out for this particular design choice).
Fundamentally, it just doesnâ€™t feel like Spotify gets the concept of albums. Not just with regard to queues – managing albums is atrocious if you want to collect a large set, and the way that singles – actual, single songs rather than EPs – are treated as independent albums is bizarre. Itâ€™s clear that they werenâ€™t thinking about how to handle albums until the beginning of 2014.