Tom Dai

One Queue

A collaborative music experience across multiple platforms


One Queue is an app that simplifies collaborative music listening by allowing multiple people to connect and edit a shared music queue.


The app was designed to address a personal need experienced by one of the designers, who often found it challenging to share music in social settings without having to physically hand over their phone. The One Queue app solves this problem by enabling the host of a gathering to start a music session and invite guests to join and add songs to a shared queue.

My Role
Product Designer
Time Frame
3 weeks, February 2023
One Queue on iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV
One Queue on iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV

Project Origin

Original Idea

The One Queue app’s original idea began with a frequent personal need experienced by one of the designers. This need led to the exploration of different ways to share music with others in a social setting without having to physically hand over a phone.

Exploration of Existing Solutions

We explored various existing solutions, including Apple’s SharePlay and Spotify’s group session. However, these options presented several limitations, including:

  • Music playing on all devices

    Both options require the music to play on all participants' devices, which is the opposite of the need: to play music on a single device.

  • Handling of the phone to start a session

    They require handling the phone to start a session, which can be impractical in situations in which people cannot use their phones.

  • Subscription requirements

    They require all participants to have subscribed to the same music service, which limits the pool of people who can join a session.

These limitations reflect that the solutions were not designed for face-to-face social settings. After researching popular music services’ APIs, we determined that the limitations above can be technically circumvented, so we took it as a challenge to design a solution for this use case.


Scenarios for Use

The One Queue app was designed to accommodate a variety of scenarios where collaborative music listening could take place. We came up with two specific scenarios to guide the design of the app:

  • In a Car

    The driver's phone is connected to the car playing music, and the driver would like other people in the car to add songs they like.

    They can simply say “hey Siri, start a One Queue session”, and the passengers can follow Siri's instructions to join the session.

  • At home

    In a small gathering, the host's phone is connected to the speaker in the living room playing music.

    If the host is occupied with something else, with One Queue, the host can start a music session and invite guests play the songs they like.

Types of Users

Based on the scenarios for use that were identified, we realized that the app serves two types of users: hosts and participants.

  • The Host

    The host is the person whose phone is connected to the device(s) playing the music. They start the session.

  • The Participants

    The participants join the session. They look for songs on their own phones and add the songs to the queue.

Forms of Apps & Key Features

We decided on the forms of apps to create, including one for the phone, one for the watch, one for the TV, and one for the car infortainment system.

Start Session
Join Session
Edit Queue

The main app, the phone app, accommodates both types of our users. It is designed to have all the features including session operations, music selection, and queue editing.

However, we designed the watch and TV apps to be companion apps only capable of starting a session, since the watch has a small display that is not suitable for music selection or queue editing, and a participant is not likely to join a session on a TV.

We also looked into the possibility of creating an app for the car infortainment system, specifically for CarPlay. However, we found out from the CarPlay App Programming Guide that One Queue does not fit into any of the types of apps allowed in CarPlay.

Creating the Views

Main Components of the App

We decided on the main elements that make up the app during the creation of the user flow of the main app. These main elements include session control, music exploring, and music queue.

User flow of the main app

Session Control

We decided to use a bottom bar to display the session control. The bottom bar is always visible on the screen, so users can easily access the session control. The bottom bar also displays the current session status, including the session code and the number of participants.

Bottom bar without session
Bottom bar without session

We addressed the issue of the possibility of a session getting out of control, by setting a room capacity and using a session code. Hosts can set a room capacity to limit the number of people who can join a session, and each session is given a “session code,” which is required to join the session. The team used a seven-digit code because it has a lower possibility of brute-forcing into a session and is more secure.

Current session viewed as a host

Music Exploration

We decided to use a search bar to allow users to search for songs and add them to the queue. We also added a “shuffle” button to allow users to shuffle the queue.

Music Queue

We decided to use a list to display the queue. We also added a “clear” button to allow users to clear the queue.

Prototype and Feedback

We created a prototype of the app using Figma and conducted user testing with three participants. We asked the participants to perform a series of tasks, including starting a session, joining a session, adding songs to the queue, and moving songs in the queue. We also asked them to provide feedback on the app’s design and functionality.

Dispute Resolution

Initially, the team did not add a system to moderate the adding and moving of songs in the queue, believing that disputes about what songs to add or remove should happen outside of the app since the app targets off-line, face-to-face use. However, during user tests, the issue of song queue disputes came up frequently. The team eventually decided to provide a simple tool that facilitates dispute resolution, allowing users to vote to move a song to the top or remove the song from the queue. If half of the participants vote the same way, the song is moved or removed accordingly.

Improvements and Overlooked Features

During user testing, the team received feedback on overlooked features, such as notifications and QR codes for joining a session. Additionally, improvements were suggested, such as adding placeholder text for the search bar in the music exploration/selection area.

Experience for Yourself!

The One Queue app’s final design incorporates all the features and improvements suggested during the design process and user testing. The app’s user interface is intuitive, with clearly labeled buttons and controls. The music exploration/selection area features placeholders for easier navigation, while the session control area allows hosts to manage sessions effectively.

The One Queue app offers a seamless and collaborative music listening experience, perfect for social gatherings, road trips, and other events where multiple people want to share and add songs to a shared queue. The app’s design is an excellent example of how thoughtful ideation and user feedback can result in a user-friendly product that solves real-world problems.