What is wrong with Yandex.Music? UX / UI parsing



Everyone who reads this article knows about Yandex.Music or has heard it out of the corner of his ear. Since 2018, Yandex has not boasted about the growth of the Ya.Muzyka user base , when it reached 1 million paid users. At the same time, I did not enter the million paid subscribers, despite the serious penetration of the service into the Russian market.

And the truth is, why am I not using Y. Music? It costs from 100 rubles per month, the database contains tens of millions of tracks, the service is created with an understanding of the national characteristics of the audience of listeners. I asked myself a question - the answer arose immediately. For me, Ya. Music is uncomfortable. You open the site of Ya.Muzyki and immediately want to close it. I'll try to find out why. The investigation will be conducted on a MacBook Pro 13.3 '' with a Retina screen, OS X Mojave v10.14.3. For nativeness, the service will be tested on the native Yandex.Browser 19.3.0.2489 (64-bit).

start page


If you entered a page without logging in, the first page is greeted with a screen, more than half of which is occupied by advertising. The cap from above the banner crawled to the middle of the screen, the first impression was that the styles didn’t load and the layout floated, I’ll try to reset the cache. It didn’t help, but the ad unit was updated.


Figure 1. This is the start page for an unregistered user. The

banner at the top of the screen does not contain controls, I want to see what's below and scroll through the page. The result is distressing, the elements bump into each other, the page twitches in convulsions. And the treasured cross on the banner for some reason appears and disappears spontaneously. I usually close these pages because it has everything except the most important thing - music. But today you need to go to the end and test the service.


Figure 2. Scrolling the main one for an unregistered user

. I have access to the “full version” of Y. Muziki as part of the PLUS subscription. Let's see what it is proposed to pay for.

I will not go into details about the size of the music library, the list of content providers and other things, I can only say that when importing the music library from Spotify for testing, 63% of the content was synchronized. I listen to music mainly in English. Another 3% of the tracks are absent in the original and are found only in the form of remixes, remakes and covers.

Paid User Home Page


After authorization, he encounters the Music interface, the main difference of which is that the screen is not littered with banners. And thanks for that. On the right side, where Ya. Direct used to show off, a quarter-screen void was formed. A promo banner of a playlist hangs in the upper part of the void, I don’t want to open the banner, the proposals are not interesting to me.

At the top of the screen is a search bar that is characteristic of other Yandex services. As well as menu items, I will consider and designate the experience of interaction.

The main thing is, in fact, the main page. In general, everything is clear, but the information is difficult to read to figure out the location of menu items, controls and content.

Recommendations- music that people like me in musical tastes like. Usually advises what I’m already listening to is essentially useless. Recommendations about the performers are more interesting, the tips are more like the truth. Tips for musical directions also often contain previously listened songs, but in general they are suitable.

Genres - the section intersects with the main one in content, it is essentially useless until you notice the translucent button The whole list , but the button is useful, why not highlight it? We select the desired genre and work with collections of content by genre, and we can also launch Y. Radio, corresponding to the selected genre. In addition to musical directions, metazhans like Soundtrack or For Classes turned out to be useful .


Figure 3. From abundance, eyes run wide, but the useful section of the

Radio - section will be useful to those who want to quickly learn music for themselves. Based on the previously listened and saved playlists, the service will issue recommended tracks to the mountain, like / dislike to improve the system’s knowledge of musical preferences.

In addition, there is a division by genre , mood , type of activity , for which I include a soundtrack, as well as by time periods ( era ), the music of which I want to listen to. I liked the result, but at first I often had to skip uninteresting tracks.

In the upper right corner, an avatar with the Yandex account menu is traditionally located. Let's get back to the main content of the start page.

On the left side of the Screen we are greeted by a large heading for the Main section . The title, together with the void around it, occupies about 20% of the horizontal section structure on the main screen. As a result, in addition to the title , the screen displays only the headings of the Everything , New Releases , Chart , Non-Music , Moods and Genres subsections , which are essentially filters for the contents of the main page, as well as Smart playlists .

The main content for the user Ya.Muzyka makes automatically created playlists. Visually made in the form of tiles. I will consider the formation a little later, when we talk about recommendations. Playlist tiles are animated, the animation turns on randomly, draws attention to the tiles. Visually it looks cheap due to the strong compression of the animated graphics, on the retina it looks wretched. Fonts in the playlist description are less, being gray, are poorly read. Useful information is the date the playlist was formed, you can focus on it, choosing what to listen to.

Playlist of the day- a green cover with a counter of how many days in a row the playlist was listened to without interruption. Either gamification, or counter, or just like that. The counter looks out of place and it’s not clear why it’s only on the playlist of the day. Why do not count the weeks in the cache and deja vu? The playlist itself is assembled from popular compositions among me, and also it is not clear where the assumptions come from, the styles are all mixed up, the daily musical mess, I don’t listen.

Stash - regularly updated with unheard tracks from added playlists. Oddly enough, he palms out the tracks that I’m already listening to. In my opinion, it is identical to the Playlist of the day.

Dejavu promises that I will like unheard tracks from the music library until this happens.

Premiere- It is filled with new releases of performers of favorite compositions. The playlist is useful for me, it allows me to follow the latest updates.


Figure 4. Playlists are shuffled due to visual similarity.

Now on the functionality of the page. The main one has everything you need to surf the music collection of the service, but the design solution with jumping fonts, unreadable and small controls and texts, bright covers of playlists and albums negate usability.


Figure 5. Important information is written finely and you need to strain to read

Let's go through in more detail. I open the page, see the music that the service offers, I see the search bar and sections, but where is my music? Where are my likes? Where are my playlists? And they are carefully hidden in the menu item located next to the account. My music is no less important than collections, and sometimes more important. Playlists for various occasions were collected bit by bit, but they were casually crammed into the mezzanine.


Figure 6. Undeservedly hidden my music

Tracks, Albums, Artists, Playlists, Concerts, Friends and Listening History are hidden in My music .


Figure 7. Suddenly in my music settings!

The tracks lack a column for the name of the album from which the track was added, what if it’s an interesting collection, once you get into it, you’ll find a dozen more great tracks? Date added to favorites is also needed. It’s great to be surprised that the song you listen to with pleasure like the first time was added to the library 5 years ago.

Wow! Useful panel on the side! It displays a bunch of seemingly useful information about the track being played from the Tracks section ! To do this, click on the Play button on a specific track! Forgive me for being so emotional, I already buried the void on the side, but it fluttered, filled me up with the lyrics, a video from Youtube, a large album cover and relevant tracks. Strange decision? I agree.


Figure 8. I would like a more informative media collection

SubsectionsAlbums , Artists and Playlists are unremarkable and correspond to the names. These are my albums, playlists, and uploaded artists. The Concerts include events with the participation of performers in the Performers section . Friends are filled with non-Music contacts. Why are they not clear there. The story contains a listened to earlier.

In the section My music there are also Settings ! Is the section customizable? It was not there, these are general settings in the sections Account , Subscription and Notificationsnothing interesting. The most important is in the Other section .

Here we see the download switch only HTML-5 or Flash (why?) Player.

The logarithmic volume scale is turned on by default, it’s better to leave it that way. The volume control is perceived appropriately by ear.

Adding new tracks to the beginning of the playlist, why don’t you display the date the track was added to the playlist and don’t let it sort by it? It’s more convenient.

The inclusion of the “Endless stream of music” mode - again, why hide? The function should be available to disable, like endless playback on YouTube. For example, before going to bed, you can turn on the chillout album and doze off under it. As soon as the album is over, playback will stop, and will not spin slow songs until morning.

A couple of switches of social activity and access to the library by the public, it is strange that they are here. They have a place in the Account section .


Figure 9. In Other important settings are hidden, a place which is at the forefront

And most importantly - there is hidden a dark theme switch . Why so far? Why isn't the topic switching question automated in the end? Everyone knows how to determine the time zone. The sunset / dawn time is known. I want to switch the dark mode quickly.


Figure 10. A dark theme is read better than a bright one even during the day.

So far, everything I wanted to pay attention to.

Finally, another feint with the ears that the playlist card makes. After about 10 minutes from the beginning of use, I accidentally pressed the card past the controls, and again a blank comes in handy on the side, the playlist starts to appear on the right! In Albums and Artists the same thing.


Figure 11. In the header on Yandex, you click - you get to the search engine, you click on Music - you get to Music. Here is the same "logic"

And if you click on the Play icon, then visually nothing will change, except for playback in the player at the bottom of the page. There are no questions to the player, besides why it is always necessary to reach for the bottom left corner, the player's elements in the center are more convenient. The controls are small even for 13 inches of the screen, less than the font height of the headers. The volume icon is collapsed to quickly decrease, you need to point to the icon, then aim and get into the control in the popup. The equalizer call also became an opening after referring to the volume level, the equalizer button in the volume slider brings up another pop-up element with a card with frequency sliders.

Enough for a start, I think, I summarize the problems of the web version:

  • A quarter of the screen vertically occupies a void and a stupid promo banner of the playlist. The void is completely accidentally filled with a playlist, or track information, if you know where to click.
  • Horizontally, one fifth of the screen is occupied by the title. The page was clearly made up for 1080+ screens.

    Figure 12. This is how the page on the 1440p monitor looks.

    A bunch of bright spots on a white background (the night theme reads better), visually looks clumsy, without harmony and rhythm.
  • The logic of working with the interface does not come from the principles of intuitiveness, without experiments, randomly impossible, it will not work, it will not be clear.
  • Fonts of 6 different types complicate reading from the screen. Somewhere a crazy big headline the size of an elephant, repeats the text from the cover, somewhere useful information flickers and makes your eyes strain.
  • The Genres section can be easily dragged to the Main without loss of functionality.
  • Section My music needs to be returned to the general structure of sections. He was lost, and Settings were lost in him. And in Settings, the Dark theme was lost. Do you understand what I mean?
  • The logic of the formation of playlists also suffers, the relevance of the proposals to my musical tastes is low. Streaming services should pleasantly surprise you!
  • The menu divides the service into sections, and the pages have subsections.
  • Tin with advertising in the free version.
  • The site twitches, loads the processor - and is it on Yandex.Browser? For comparison, try scrolling Spotify and I. Music.


Summary


There was a feeling that in an attempt to make Music unlike competitors, the team implemented solutions in the style of the infamous traditions of Soviet engineering thinking. They built the product “which has no analogues in the world” (although the night theme visually copies Spotify, the wife at first glance mixed up the applications and was surprised what happened to Spotify). The pursuit of uniqueness complicated the product for the end user, they got a mess from sections with unclear functionality. Instead of a clear and intuitive interface, we got a harvester with non-obvious action algorithms.

I want the service to develop into a cool product that they will love, and not at the hopelessness of import substitution.

upd.1 In Ya.Muzyk they still read the article (thanks) and corrected some points (this is generally a pleasant surprise):
- removed a huge banner on the split screen
- added a dark theme switch on the main one (though this is a lurid switch for adidas playlist advertising)
- corrected the schedule of smart playlists, now without artifacts

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