The Shazam app can find information about songs, movies, and shows using short audio clips. One of the good characteristics of the app is the “Shazam” button is large and in the center of the Home page, making it memorable and efficient to access. In addition, the button pulsates when a user is not shazaming anything, and an animation synchronized to the audio plays when the app is “listening”. This dynamism of the button gives visual stimuli to entice the user to press the button and notify them when they are shazaming, making it an affordance that helps guide new users. The designer likely chose to make this button the most prominent because it accomplishes Shazam’s original purpose and is what the service is most known for.
Conversely, there are some parts of the interface that could be improved. For example, the navigation between the 3 main pages: Home, My Shazam, and Discover is not efficient. This is mainly because there aren’t many user flows that navigate to My Shazam or Discover. Most users come to the app to Shazam songs and other audio clips. Therefore, as soon as they open the app to the Home page, they hit the Shazam button which will take them to the song’s specific page. From this page, the user can only navigate back to the Home page. There is no button from song specific pages to My Shazam or Discover. Therefore, navigating between these pages takes extra steps and is less efficient. Shazam may have chosen to design their app navigation in this way in order to always bring users back to the Home page, ensuring they don’t get lost in pages they don’t recognize.
Parts of the app also have low learnability for new users and users who don’t explore the app past its auto recognition feature. For example, since the Discover page is not connected or accessible from the song specific pages, the Discover feature is not connected to Shazam’s audio recognition. Therefore, the only way to find the page is if the user knows it exists or looks for it themselves. Consequently, Discover has low learnability for users who haven’t been shown the page.
Also, the Home page has a camera button below the Shazam button. It’s purpose is not obvious until you click into it which opens a camera and pop up explanation. The feature can scan Shazam QR codes to open information connected to the code through an augmented reality experience. Since the camera is not being used to take pictures, but rather scan codes, it would be better to make the icon a QR code symbol. Shazam likely chose to add this button to the Home page because it would have the most visibility there, allowing them to promote the new technology and make their brand more exciting as augmented reality is very popular right now. In addition, since the button is on the Home page, it’s very efficient for users’ to access the feature. However, the learnability of it is not nearly as good as the Shazam button which has the command “Tap to Shazam” above it, while the scanner button doesn’t have any accompanying instruction.
Finally, if there is an advertisement on the footer of Shazam homepage, sometimes the background color of the home page adjusts to match the color of the advertisement. This can be somewhat unappealing if the advertisement is red, or another alarming color. It also draws the users’ attention away from the app’s functions and towards the advertisement. Shazam makes a majority of its revenue from advertisements and I think designers may have purposely chosen to make advertisements greater focal points in order to meet certain demands from their sponsors. Perhaps, the priority of profit was a constraint placed on the company and its designers leading them to sacrifice certain usability and aesthetics of the app.
To improve the Home page, I would remove the advertisement, creating more room at the bottom. This would allow for the enlargement of the QR scanner button and include the instructions “Tap to scan code” above it. Also, I changed the icon for the button to a QR scanner icon. With these two modifications, users will better understand the purpose of the scanner without having to click into the feature.
In addition, the song specific page now has navigation buttons to the Discover and My Shazam pages. This will make it easier for users to learn about these two pages and their accompanying features as well as navigate to them in the future. Clicking the Discover button will open to the Discover page with an option to add the song and its artist to the users’ library of “liked” songs. This is indicated by the addition of the + sign next to the Discover icon.