What is it?
This is a solution found in the Spotify mobile app. When Spotify detects that is currently being used on a car, it will automatically switch the player to a car view mode with larger buttons and limited functionality to reduce distractions.
How does this interaction or solution work?
When a Spotify user launches the app and streams its audio to a car sound system, the app automatically changes the default view to a car specific view that is optimized for car usage.
The car view renders a larger UI with buttons that are 2x/3x the size of the standard view ones. The functionality available to the user is limited to skipping, rewinding, pausing/playing, liking, shuffling, and accessing the car mode context menu.
The car view also showcases a limited amount of information (Album/Playlist, Songname, Artist, and Playback Data). No Album-Art or Dynamic imagery is shown while the app is in this mode.
In our tests, the car view mode gets enabled every time that the phone connects to the Bluetooth connection that is identifiable to a car. We presume that Spotify is using a list of widely commercial car Bluetooth UUIDs or manufacturer specific data.
As of the time of this writing, we couldn't determine any other context detection functionality that enables the mode, but there may be more.
How does it help the user or improve the experience?
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 41% of car owners have listened to online radio via phone while in their car. (1)
Spotify acknowledges that a significant use case for their music streaming service happens inside the cars of their subscribers, and therefore adapting to this context can improve their experience with the app.
By creating a dedicated, self-enabled car mode, Spotify is helping its subscribers to operate the app safely when they are driving.
Although the ideal, is that drivers should never operate their mobile devices while driving, Spotify understands that customers will still try to manipulate their app somehow. Enabling a safer operation mode through context-awareness techniques is a way to help the final user avoid the risks of using an app that is not generally designed (or encouraged to be used) for car usage.
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