I was looking at a lot of UI design on Dribbble today, and it occured to me that UI design must be one of the hardest categories of graphic design to be skilled in, because it truly is where information design and aesthetic are forced to bridge — nay — zip-line the gap between them. If someone had screwed up on the design of every damn interface of the Macbook I’m using right now, no doubt it would destroy a lot of the intrinsically exciting and slick mythos that Apple has created around it’s products. As it is, I understand that Jobs disliked the menu bar and it’s increased “clutter”. I don’t personally mind it. But in the greater scheme of Apple’s love of minimalism, his attitude makes sense. Even still, I must contend with the stupid leather skin covered iCal — but only because I’m too lazy to theme it with a skin someone else made that looks better and less chintzy.
To digress, I use Spotify a lot — it’s sort of the motor fuel to my designing sessions, and probably a larger distracted than Facebook at times. I’ve gone through quite a few online music streaming applications and it’s the one I love best so far, though it is synced up with my first love, Last.FM. I remember when I first used the Last.FM app and liking how light and unobtrusive it was. If you wanted it big, you could hit up the website. But for some desktop action, all you needed was the medium sized application, which was more than hi-def enough to display album art, biographies and such. And it looked great. Still does (last I checked anyway :P…) Spotify’s desktop app looks nice, but I’ve always felt it’s a bit bulky and unnecessarily shows you almost absolutely eeeverything. And it’s so biiig. Yeah, I can minimize it, but then all the windows get squished together and it looks weird. And also, the mini album cover window just doesn’t do it for me. I want to see my favorite album art BIG. And also, I don’t always need to know who’s updating their playlists, even if I do enjoy stalking my friends musical choices. Sometimes, I just don’t give a shit. With this project, I wanted to trim the fat off of the app.
With the Last.FM app and Spotify’s smaller imbedable widgets in mind, I cobbled together something that I think I personally would like to see coming out of Spotify’s design lab. It’s pretty simple–not a drastic re-design at all. A medium sized Spotify player featuring a retractible main window that highlights the important stuff — who you’re listening to; album art, navigation, playlists, and a retractible sidebar that also gives you easy access to the juicy extras — your friends & followers and the streaming timeline of info. Essentially, I like things that have lots of retractible windows. 😛
I’m not a UI designer, so I won’t pretend that this is perfect at all. It’s goofy and quick (2 1/2 hours is quick, right?) and mainly for fun. But I do think something along it’s line would be a nice addition to Spotify’s range of applications. Get on it Spotify! If you don’t, though, I’ll love you anyway. 😀