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The way Soundcloud is using the comment feature is brillant and interesting but well, I find it so hard to use. Comments are displayed all over the song, they are hard to hover and without it you can't read them (it's impossible to read them all in a chronological order without leaving the current page).

So, what is the goal of Soundcloud's comment feature from UX point of view ?

Are they meant to be feedbacks ? Does Soundcloud wants to limit the use of this feature ? I'd like to know the true reasons of this design.

Soundcloud Screenshot

Actually there is a little icon on the bottom right to see all comments but doing so you'll leave the current page and come to something not really user friendly.

commments soundcloud

Anyway, my question is more about the core feature on songs.

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You can actually view all comments on a track by "and clicking 'view all' above the summary of comments on the right hand side". From: help.soundcloud.com/customer/portal/articles/… –  RedSirius Jan 16 at 9:57
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Yep, you're right but it seems sad that you have to go on another page (the design of this one is... minimal). I'll edit my post to show it. –  Gabin Jan 16 at 10:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

One of the main goals of Soundcloud is to help artists get feedback for their creations.

From an UX point of view it makes sense to link comments to the visual waveform of a track because the artist knows exactly what the comment is referring to. You have to listen to the track in order to understand the feedback. For example "The bass is a little to loud in this part".

Bottom line: Soundcloud comments are a little different than comments on a regular website as in they are not to be used for a discussion, they are more like notes or highlighter marks in a book or as you stated in the post, they are feedbacks.

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I like this idea and I think you're right. I was wondering because most part of the time I see comments ("Awesome song !", "Amazing !", etc.) more than feedbacks. But this is a problem that also affects creative networks like Dribbble, Behance, and others : they are more a showcase than a review tool. But from the point of view you mentionned I think it's clearly fine to use comments this way. –  Gabin Jan 16 at 15:43

First Part The target demographic is music lovers, djs and producers. Soundcloud is the place for many aspiring producers to start getting some of their tracks published in the public domain in order to gather feedback and develop a following.

As a producer, it is pivotal to gather feedback on certain sections of a track which could be riffs, drops, loops etc in order for them to improve their music.

This kind of widget that Soundcloud produces is excellent for this industry with this demographic. It's highly likely it would serve little benefit outside of media orientated widgets.

Second Part You stated that it's hard to read the comments on the track timeline yet you find the loading of comments all on one page not good for usability? Surely they've catered for people such as yourself that couldn't read the timeline comments?

Either way, I disagree, the fact that each comment on the comments page for a track shows at what point in the track the comment was left which links to that duration in the widget is pretty slick UX.

I think it works well for what it's intended purpose is.

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Since I don't work for soundcloud I can only assume.

Comments of other users pop up while playing the track. Most comments are placed on seconds where the track has an impressive, imposing, sublime, mellow or other kind of touch, creating or changing the feeling of the commenter. I guess the comments should underline this change or feeling and transport it to the listener. Like a crowd at a live concert that starts jumping or screaming when a beat or guitar riff starts.

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Your answer is interesting and makes sense ! However, I'm not sure that people are looking at the track when listening. –  Gabin Jan 16 at 10:17

I'd like to know the true reasons of this design.

Only Business analyst or Designer of Soundcloud can answer this. But I'd like to share how my friends use it, a RJ uploads cuts of his shows most of which are hilarious and we'd kinda add comments on it in a sarcastic way and we choose which spot our comments needs to go - like right before the start of wittiest mark so the next listener watches out for it so can pause and make some more people to peaking and listen.

Or more simply 'been there seen that'

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