The architecture of information:
[Spotify] recently released a major update to a core feature of its mobile apps, ‘Your Library.’ The new version promises better findability and discoverability — i.e., it focuses on the system’s information architecture.
‘Your Library’ allows user to access the content they’ve saved on Spotify. This includes playlists, songs, streaming radio stations, artists and albums, etc. As such, it’s a central ‘place’ within the app. Over time, users can build large libraries.
Streaming media apps offer access to at least two sets of content: the ‘global’ collection, which includes as much stuff as possible, and the user’s ‘personal’ collection, which is (at a minimum) a one-off subset of the former.
The two sets have different objectives. The global collection aims towards discovery and findability, whereas the personal collection aims towards curation and familiarity.
Both parts of the environment must be distinct from each other to accommodate particular affordances and make clear to the user what s/he is looking at, yet maintain enough similarities to seem part of the same system.
This is a tricky line to walk. It’s interesting to see how major players like Spotify are doing it.