[Research] Transitions + User Flow of Plaid & Spotify

Plaid

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Plaid is, perhaps, the best example of transitions and user flow on Android. The concept is very simple, so there weren’t too many complicated transitions and UX problems to tackle. In essence, the app is a simple viewer for dribbble. The user can look at the images and comments on any particular post, as well as favourite posts and comment themselves.

When opened, the app loads into a basic gridded homescreen. Each tile is a separate post — each post opens into the detail page with comments and other basic info. The app also features a basic post and search function. The transitions in this app are what really make the difference, though. Every time something is tapped it will animate out from its original position. For example, when a post is tapped it will expand upward and its detail content will scroll out from behind. When one would scroll all the way up they experience a slight “pull” animation, indicating if the user scrolls up and releases the post will close. It’s these types of flourishes that make the app truly polished and a good example of successful UX.

 

Spotify (for Android)

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Spotify, in my humble opinion, is very much a mixed bag. Some of the application is a torrid mess, while other parts are delightful. At the core, Spotify is a music app with some advanced discovery services and social functions.

The app loads into a very well done homescreen by showing the user playlists made for them and what they have recently been listening to. These functions do well to serve the purpose of getting the user to immediately start listening to music without having to navigate through multiple menus. To move to other places throughout the app, Spotify presents a bottom navigation bar. It shows the five main pages of the app. This does it job simply and well. The problems arise when the user tries to navigate through these pages and submenus. There are no animations or pointers for where the user should be going. Everything is a button with a somewhat vague icon. For example, above the nav bar is the music bar, showing what the user is currently listening to. When tapped, this bar will animate upwards, indicated it should be able to be swiped up by the user to reveal it. However, when actually swiped, the bar does nothing. There is a similar problem when tapping the overflow menu of a song or album. The menu animates in from the bottom. Yet, to dismiss it, the user cannot swipe down. It’s these small annoyances that make the app cumbersome in terms of usability.

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