Using community features to dust off an iconic product


Product Designer


2 Week Sprint

December 2020

Shazam has been a lead song discovery app since 1998 (yes…1998), but research indicates that the most common use case of Shazam lasts less than half a minute. Our approach to this problem was to leverage Shazam’s already existing repository of locational data and introduce a new feature called Super Shazam that would amplify the product experience through community. I designed the product experience around this feature where a user can user a gestural launch to search for recommendations based on different filters.


Breaking down the business

To understand a product's design is to understand its business strategy.

The majority of Shazam's revenue is through its referral system to other streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify. But with a high retention rate, how could we improve their revenue by getting more tags and shares given its notoriety? At 12+ years old, Shazam still stands in the top 3 most popular music apps with over 200 million users and 1 billion "Shazams" a month.

With these stats in mind, I defined four key questions to help focus our business, market, and user research, which led to the creation of a community-focused feature that would aim to solve this problem: Super Shazam.


What can Shazam do to increase the value of using their service to map its user’s taste in music?


Do people trust the music recommendations of an algorithm or a human more?


How could geolocation data become useful to Shazam's users?


What role does social networking play in sharing and enjoying music?

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A Case of Featuritis

Shazam's largest pain point is its use of a swipe up gesture to access its larger array of music discovery features.

As we see in apps like Tik Tok, the ability discover music comes with the ability share & post amongst a community, which lead to greater streams.

When Apple music acquired Shazam in 2018, new features such as "artists highlights" (think Instagram story-esque) began to creep in with the intent to promote Apple Music and drive up streams. But when feature creeps begin to become buried within a product, the negative impact of a messy navigation and unclear usage begins to only deter users.

This theory was represented in a multitude of our user interviews who hadn't updated the app since they downloaded it. I learned that one gesture could botch the entire UX of a product.

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UI Restructure & A Consolidated Feature: Super Shazam

With an energetic yellow and slingshot gesture, Super Shazam gives the user the ability to launch into music discovery by location, genre, and mood.

Using Shazam's brand guidelines, I re-vamped their UI component library and re-designed the user experience five key identity traits in mind. Shazam creates a feeling a feeling of simplicity and play through holding down a button to tag a song. With this same product feeling in mind, I designed our new feature Super Shazam around a new type of sling shot gesture.

By introducing a three-screen navigation, users can no also use their thumb to naturally flow between three states:

1) Shazam

2) Artist discovery

3) Super Shazam

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