UI < UX

This Quora question stuck out at me.

A lot of the answers attribute Spotify’s success over Rdio to advertising,1 marketing, and because they made a deal with Facebook. They say that Spotify’s UI is a mess compared to Rdio.

It’s like these people have never even used Spotify. A lot of them oversimplify the reasons why Spotify is winning the streaming contest.

I’ve used both. To me, Spotify is just more enjoyable to use.

Rdio is far prettier than Spotify, but it’s also far slower. Want to search for an artist? Spotify is faster. Want to scroll through all your collection? Spotify again, faster. How about access your playlists? In Spotify they’re accessible directly on the left side of the app. In Rdio you have to do some digging and wait for things to load.

If you’re working on an application take a note. All the work you’re going to be putting into your interface design, all the little things you’ll be working towards to make your app pretty, don’t mean much if your app is slow.

I don’t care how pretty your app is if I all I can think about is how often I wait for it to load. User interface doesn’t matter as much as user experience.

Spotify worked to get interaction delays under 200 milliseconds. Rdio is prettier, and I actually prefer its collection model to Spotify’s star everything you want methods, but it takes too long to do things in Rdio.2

Sure, Spotify ripped off iTunes, but it’s better because of that, not despite it.


  1. If this was truly about advertising Rhapsody would have won years ago. 

  2. I tweeted that months ago, and it was cool that Rdio’s design head says this is something they’re working on: