Slacker Radio’s web app targeted the most loyal die-hard 5% of users. To everyone else who just wanted to listen to music, the learning curve was too steep.
User analytics, competition analysis, and user testing indicated an abundance of complexity listeners were not using.
Simple in-house testing indicated that the transition from the “Shelf-player” to “Sticky-header-player” was confusing because it reordered the elements, and hid some vital feedback. To better maintain continuity I retained all the functionality in the top player. Then I made adjustments to accommodate a smoother responsive experience.
Surveying competitors led met to test the Play-Pause button configurations with new users. Internal testers preferred the centralized and prominent Play-Pause.
I separated the Like and Ban buttons and put Like with Volume to the right of play. I tested other configuration, but this was least awkward.
“Ban” had a negative connotation, so I relegated it to the left. Also, I recommended it’s removal and use of the “Skip” button to progressively-ban songs.
My understanding of the problems users encountered and reasoned approach helped Slacker to push an even more radical new approach to the service that evolved in the following years.