A Spotify Usability Failing

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nicholas Pierce, a friend of mine from Worthing, will be one of the first people I know to point out a flaw in a user interface.  One of his biggest bug bears is Spotify, he gave me a nice long list a while a go of how bad the UI is, there is a brief blog post on one of these failing on his blog. Today I noticed something within Spotify that will bug me until it gets sorted.  It's one of those things that hit me, and the instant thought was 'how did I not notice that before?'

In almost every program that has some form of search, be this searching your computer or the internet the search box is in the same place; the top right hand corner of the application window, this is true of everything from Windows Explorer to Apple's Finder, iTunes to Windows Media Player, FireFox to even Internet Explorer.  All of these programs put the search box in that same place.  Why? So that even people like my Mum instantly know where the search box is.  The user learns it in one program and the skills are transferable across to every other program.  This is really basic human computer interaction principles.

So where does Spotify put this box? In the not quite top left hand side.  You may think this is a really simple small problem, however it can really slow down how you use a piece of software.  There is a guy called Jakob Nielsen who wrote down 10 principles of creating a user interface, by not placing the search box on the top right Spotify have broken at least two:

You can have a further read of these principles on useit.com (don't worry, it is short and readable).

There are a couple of other issues with Spotify, however this one was bugging me today.  I felt a little rant was needed!  Have a good rest of you day.

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