Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming apps out there, but it’s not necessarily the most beautifully designed (unfortunately that was Rdio, long lost). Navigating through the different sections of its app took a lot of tapping and was often not very intuitive. Today, Spotify is trying to improve its interface with a redesign, arriving first on iOS, which places its key sections in a lower navigation bar instead of a side menu.
Goodbye, hamburger menu. You will not miss.
The new navigation bar features the same key sections that were previously in the sidebar menu, including Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Your Library. And when you’re listening to a track, the song title, artist, and player controls will now appear above that bottom bar for easy access.
While this is a minor change in the grand scheme of things, it is not a change lightly at a time when an app’s popularity is more determined by engagement and retention of people. users only by its ranking in the App Store. And browsing through the hamburger menu was a controversial design choice at best.
Many in the industry believe that the menu – which consists of three horizontal lines, aka the “hamburger” – is not intuitive to users and is not an efficient menu for navigating an application, as it requires that people click on the menu first before they can click on the link or icon that takes them to their intended destination.
There is also the argument that hamburger menus decrease discoverability features because everything they contain is hidden by default.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine once even called the burger menu “devil,” claiming that what’s out of sight is too.
In other words, when a business dumps the menu altogether, it takes a pretty deliberate stance that says “it’s not working”.
Spotify wouldn’t be the first to remove the hamburger menu. Facebook notably went to a tab bar after a ton of user testing, and many other apps quickly followed suit.
Spotify also based its decision on extensive testing, we’re told.
The company tested the tab bar on iOS to see its impact on user engagement. He found that users with the tab bar ended up clicking 9% more in general and 30% more on actual menu items. Testing also found that reducing the number of options in the tab bar to five increased the reach of Spotify’s scheduled content, according to the company.
Before rolling it out more widely, Spotify tested the tab bar with new and existing users to make sure there were no negative effects. He revealed that the new bar encourages users to explore more types of content (e.g., scheduled on Spotify, self-scheduled, etc.) without affecting retention, engagement or consumption time metrics.
New users were also more interested in the navigation menu during their first sessions than they did when the hamburger menu was present.
The results of that final test convinced Spotify to go public with the change, he says.
While these results are valid for iOS, Spotify is not yet convinced that Android users will react in the same way. The company believes that the user interface for each platform should follow operating system guidelines and should be considered individually.
In May, Spotify will begin testing a new navigation model on Android, but the company is uncertain what the results of those tests will be. The goal is to launch a new navigation interface adapted to Android by July.
The new tab bar will be available to all iPhone users (iOS version 5.3.0 or higher) in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Sweden from today, and will be rolled out to other markets and platforms in the coming months.