New design for home page
Two weeks ago, I blogged about the progress designing a new Magnatune home page, and how I wasn't entirely happy with the direction it was going. I asked people who were graphic designers to contact me if they wanted a shot at being Magnatune's next graphic designer.
I heard from several people, but the mockup from James at Messiah Studio (in New Zealand) really impressed me, as it pulled off a bunch of goals I had in mind.
What do you think?
Here's what I like about it:
- the integration of the hand-drawn character is nicely down
- the background is is interesting, textured, but not over-the-top
- the tabbed dialog of genres is attractive
- the main benefit we provide is clear, as is the price, and the small text below it (No DRM, etc…) is still readable while not being intrusive
- the "misc" things are below the fold, where they probably should be, as they're just not that important.
James emphasized that this was a 1st pass, quickly done. When we spoke, he made a bunch of suggestions for further improvement that I liked, so hopefully in a week or two I'll be that much closer to something I'm pleased to go with.
This all comes out of a blog entry a few months ago, where I showed our competitor's pages, and a mockup I (the amateur) made.
Posted by John Buckman on April 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM | Permalink
The colours all look nice together, and I like the subtle use of dropshadow that gives the whole thing a friendly almost analog look. It's warm, inviting, simple, and functional. I'd love to see how this design will pan out on album pages, member area and so forth.
IMO I think you have a keeper here.
Posted by: Spike Page at Apr 25, 2012 7:47:27 PM
This is certainly an improvement. I like the colour tones and textures, and the subtle drop shadows.
I still don't like the cartoon character, though. It looks very amateurish. Sorry :(
- Provide a "tour" of features provided for members. Have these features been finalised?
- A short video guide to the site.
- Links to favourable reviews.
- Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. How many people want to restrict their music listening to a static computer? Sure, they can download albums or individual tracks, and that may be OK, but part of the "magic of Magnatune" is listening online to the curated collections. (Right now, I'm listening to the "Space Music" collection, btw)
In parallel to the new web site design, I think Magnatune strongly needs alternative ways to listen:
- A full-function mobile app (iOS and Android), with all user-specific features.
- XBMC addon
- Plugins for other popular media players, e.g. VLC and Windows Media Player, capable of acting as a DLNA/UPnP server and renderer.
Posted by: protokool at Apr 26, 2012 7:00:41 AM
I would delete all non-essential information from the front page. The 'below the fold' stuff.
This is a landing page.
So, the goal is to get the person to click, to engage, to get to step 2.
There should be a very clear button to click.
One that gets them to that next step of engagement.
What do you want them to do next?
Explore? Where's the button?
Maybe you want them to 'pick a genre to browse'.
First, it's good to map what you want the consumer to do.
Then you design pages to guide people to do those things.
Make them click before they think, intuitively, to show what you do.
Posted by: Ivan at Apr 28, 2012 2:17:01 AM
actually ... kinda like the design, although the cartoon still seems a little "awkward" to me (no offense), but maby we all need a kind of a mascot here. :) keep going, looks like you're on the right track // regards
Posted by: ruediger at Apr 28, 2012 2:26:28 AM
I really like this design, the colours are very pleasing on the eyes. Much better than the previous suggestions which were a bit garish.
Hoping the new site will also have an overall slightly larger music player, that doesn't use flash.
And better login handling so I don't always get ads on the end of songs when I follow links from the email newsletter.
Stay awesome Magnatune!
Posted by: Riley at Apr 29, 2012 12:24:21 AM
Like the colours and general appearance.
The cartoon looks scary to me... but like the idea of a mascot.
+1 for Squeezebox support, is what I miss the most. In my case, I don't need Squeezebox integration, just the capability to stream to squeezebox touch/player and listen through the stereo.
Posted by: Martí at Apr 29, 2012 2:06:02 AM
I think I like John's mug better than the cartoon - John's smile is natural, while the space alien thingy seems to have a fake just-trying-to-fit-in-am-i-doing-it-rite type of forced smile.
Other than that, hey I like the new design.
Posted by: ym at Apr 29, 2012 3:19:39 PM
The cartoon is not working for me. You need a better site mascot. Looks like a little blue devil. Perhaps a DJ character would be better and easily recognizable. Cartoon is fine.
Posted by: sergio miller at Apr 30, 2012 7:59:54 AM
I think this is an improvement from the first iteration. Yellow is a hard read on the web. Unfortunately. The painter quality is definitely nice.
I've been considering people's comments about the mascot. I like the idea of it coming from your photo, but what doesn't read well is why is the plug in mascot's mouth? That doesn't make sense. Maybe have the plug be attached to the catalog somehow? Like where the search tab is? off to the side probably will eat too much width, but how about vertically, from the top of the search tab? And perhaps have some notes emanating from the headset like really faint in a light blue or even the dark tan of the back tabs? Then this explains better the toothy grin? as in to mean, "Look at all this great music I have at my disposal!"
Hope this helps.
Posted by: madame philosophe at Apr 30, 2012 8:49:24 AM
The mascot will definitely scare people away. No, really, please get rid of it. I wouldn't visit a website with that thing staring at me.
Posted by: Rob at May 1, 2012 1:53:59 PM
I think you should have a "best selling" tab as well...
Posted by: David at May 2, 2012 11:21:04 PM
It's a huge improvement on the current layout. Much more "with the times".
It was high time for a makeover. :)
Please also include links for social media. When I hear a good song on the site, I want to share it.
It will be good for artists and the site too because they'll get more publicity.
Posted by: lizi at May 3, 2012 3:39:50 AM
I think "Free Song of the Day" should be featured with prominence on the homepage too. For people who aren't on the Magnatune mailing list or who aren't being nagged by me on Facebook daily to "LISTEN UP!" and click my Magnatune links, the Song of the Day keeps them coming back day after day until they too give in and become "one of Us".
Good point about the cartoon, Madame Philosophe. He needs music notes swirling round his head so we all know why he's grinning and can be reassured he is not grinning because he has just eaten the canary.
Posted by: Spike Page at May 3, 2012 6:43:53 PM
I don't like the "smiling" char. It looks very scary.
And I don't like to interact with windows showed in windows. I didn't bought a big monitor to see a postcard sized window in which I can search for music. The best way to improve your site would be to keep the current design and add a few new functions like tabs or social media support. Avoid the usage of flash and large graphics and make the whole site scalable to fit every screen size.
Posted by: anon at May 4, 2012 4:27:14 AM
Just a thought regarding the previous comment about wasted space on screen...perhaps consider a slightly different view for logged-in members that moves the main content to the top of the page and minimizes or removes completely the "buy a membership" content..OR have something akin to the "show more/show less" script YouTube uses.
Straying a bit off homepage design, I'm glad to see recent activity on the Magnatune page on Facebook...even if the old yellow homepage graphic is being used there. For those of you on FB, here's the link > https://www.facebook.com/Magnatune
Posted by: Spike Page at May 4, 2012 7:31:51 PM
Looking much better indeed, more up to date. However, I can only chime in with the "mascot non-lovers" - it really looks frightening and turn-offish.
What is most important for any website on its first page is direct involvement for any visitor - you need either social media options (linking via the usual - fb, twitter, insta, 4square etc.) or a direct play option for music. Every second wasted before I can actually listen to music is a second that draws users away to another site. The "free song of the day" might be an option, e.g.
You need to engage people directly from the start. If it's not a funky, videostyle multi-media layout it needs to the be stuff you are actually offering - music. (But no autoplay ;)) And never ever underestimate the power of a newsletter. Get people to sign up in a newsletter of your own - it's one of the prime marketing tools right now for a site like this.
Make three options available, clearly, visibly:
Join the newsletter (for free song of the day, e.g.)
Play music to have a first look
Sign up - prominently (showing on an extra page what great features await you and how you support this site and its musicians.)
Posted by: Marcel Bülles at May 6, 2012 5:20:05 AM