enter image description hereI want to understand,

After login in Apple Music, I am asked " what genre/artist is of my interest " and displays a set of bubbles that I can select.

  1. What is this step by step process of understanding user's preference before suggesting them with content called ? Ideally done to better understand user interest so that the product can give the user personalized recommendation.

  2. Is there a specific UX/industry term for this ?

  3. What are the best practices to do this. If anyone can point at some sources.

Thank you

  • Well a written form with a step-by-step process of asking for someone preferences is usually called a questionnaire. Or some other king of survey. – J_rgen Oct 3 '16 at 7:45
  • I understand questionnaire. To be precise, I have attached a screenshot for reference. Many products and services do this to better understand user interests while onboarding. – Pallavi G Naik Oct 3 '16 at 7:58
  • 2
    It's a variation of a step wizard optimised for mobile. – SteveD Oct 3 '16 at 8:52
  • 1
    Agree: its a kind of wizard. – PhillipW Oct 3 '16 at 9:08
  • I can recall becoming aware of an artist I liked and not even knowing what the genre would be called. In Pandora, you can type in an artist name or even a song name. This seems much better to me. – user67695 Oct 10 '17 at 14:05

It is actually a variation of on-boarding (a gamification mechanic) which is using a step wizard interaction pattern optimised for a mobile device.

On-boarding is typically used to introduce a user to the features of your solution, however the system can also gather information about you and your preferences by asking the user some simple questions during the on-boarding process.


First off you have to understand that these sort of questionnaires (that's what I'll refer to them as) are called different things between different people and different views of UX/UI/IXd.

What I think is the same in all of them is that they all would put them under the category of "understanding user needs" or something similar, this is one of the first things that are conducted when designing as system - basically some research that lets Apple Music make your experience a lot more enjoyable by suggesting songs / artists that are interesting for you.

It might seem counter intuitive to have a part of the 'research' process in the middle of the UX, but since Apple Music at its core is a music service and you it's customer and as it's your initial time using it, it makes sense to ask you these questions to understand your taste of music.

  1. If you want to have a term to call this I'd suggest simply using 'questionnaire' or 'establishing user preferences'. This process would be set in the initial research or in a stage you referred to 'initial onboarding'.
  2. Touched on above and by @J_rgen
  3. This is a highly subjective question and can't be asked without context. One approach might be perfect for a system but completely wrong to another system. I'd suggest looking at the basic principles of IXd and consider the points; visibility, feedback, constraints, consistency and affordance. From the POV of the Apple Music example you provided I'd suggest it's a good approach for their users, it gives them an easy way of interacting with the questionaire (Apple products employ mainly touch-screens, so clicking is intuitive - whereas writing wouldn't be).

I hope that helped you somewhat! :)


It is called “Customization”. Customization is done to create “Personalization”.

“Personalization” is dynamically tailoring an application or website according to the user. It's more of a strategy which itself is a UX plan. Personalization can be active and passive.

“Active Personalization” is something which is provided by the options, a user defined.

Example: You went on Amazon and searched for Apple Phones and Virtual Reality Headsets. Next time you log in, there will be list of iPhone & VR headsets shown on the page.

In your example, after selecting genre/artist of you interest, you’ll be shown those on a major basis with some recommendations of another genre/artist in a separate list or in between. Though it depends on the specific organization strategy.

“Passive Personalization” is something which is machine based which is done by tracking the user behavior which is also called “Behavior Targeting”.

Example is geo-location. System automatically gives us results based on this.

To start with this, we do user research, we collect data, data on what user needs/likes/dislikes and put those options on the app or website for user to select which we call filters or questionnaire. The entire process where a user logs in, selects, okays and perform the action is “User Flow”.

The filters/questionnaires we give are called "Filtering" which can be further divided into “Collaborative, Content-Based and Hybrid” by which we can make sure, what a user wants/likes/dislikes and then show them the results as per their previous selections.

You can see this examples in Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, Amazon, Google, News Articles etc.

Hope this helps a bit.


This can be referred to as onboarding and can be used to achieve a range of objectives. Some example variations around this approach are:

  • Setup process where a users actually sets up their account as part of their initial sign up.
  • A ‘joy riding’ type approach where users are walked through using the product highlighting certain features
  • Task driven approach where a user actually performs a task (think of curation type sites where the user selects preferences as part of that initial flow).

You can also have a continued onboarding approach post that initial first engagement, as used on LinkedIn, where users continue inputing preferences etc over continual use of the product.

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