I'm designing a music player app, which will play from a stream on the internet. In the app, I plan to show a navigation bar, a tab bar, and some info about the song that the user is listening to.

In addition to viewing info, I'd the users to be able to stop/resume playback and have some way for them to see the song in iTunes or some external website.

Consider that I have two actions:

  • Playback
  • Launch External App

I seem to only have one place to put a button. I was thinking of making the album artwork into a button, but the next question is, which action gets a button, and which one gets the artwork? What do users expect? Do I simply put two buttons beneath the song info? Do I put one button in the right of the navigation bar?

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1 Answer 1


On what a "user expects", it will depend on the context:

  • In iTunes: play the album.
  • In an MP3 shop: more info or add to cart.
  • In a blog or bulletin thread: open image in a new tab.

In your case, if the user is browsing around, opening an external app (iTunes) would disrupt his/her experience, so I'd recommend doing this action pretty obvious: use a button that says launch album in iTunes or something similar. While tapping on the album would simply play the album, enabling the user to play/pause and continue browsing without interruptions.

Tapping on the album is already a common pattern, used by the iTunes iOS and Spotify Facebook apps. Affordance is normally conveyed with a a play and pause icon over the album art.

cover flow

  • 1
    Useless comment: I never realized that the Impressionists also made music! :)
    – Karen
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 16:34
  • 1
    playing a painting, now that has to be synesthesic Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 16:44

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