MP3.COM Part Of History And The Future

scr1As a file type the mp3 has had a huge effect not just on the music industry but on popular culture at large over the last decade. One of the pioneer websites in the space was Mp3.com. There was a time that the site dealt pretty much exclusively with independent and emerging music.

However, in more recent times, it has taken on the look and feel of a site that is very much more part of the establishment. One could even go so far as to say that the transformation of this particular site over time is a reasonably accurate reflection of how things have changed as the traditional music industry has sought the reassert itself in the context of the online world.

The homepage of Mp3.com now features stories and new releases from acts you will more than probably already be familiar with. There are also some spotlighting features for new acts mixed in but the emphasis has definitely shifted towards music creators that are already well established.

 

Design

 

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There really is a lot of material on the front page and it could be argued that the sheer volume of info give the page a cluttered look but I would contend that the judicious use of white space helps to offset the data volume and keep the whole look and feel in check. The use of a lot of white really is a key element for a design like this which could easily veer into the area of information overload.

The interior pages do have a more even and less busy feel. While there are different elements and adjusted layouts depending on the particular type of page being visited, there is an overall consistency. When one takes into account the very different requirements of the content in the various different sections, being able to arrive at this type of consistency is quite an achievement.

The use of a lot of white really is a key element for a design like this which could easily veer into the area of information overload. No matter which section of the site you look at, good use of white space is central to keeping the overall look and feel coherent.

 

Advertising And Beyond

 

scr2There is a lot of advertising on each individual page but it is well integrated. It is very easy for ad to become overpowering and distracting to the point of diminishing returns. Time and effort has obviously been spent on not allowing that to happen here.

Integration is the key to this rather than volume. There probably is too much but because it is very well integrated it still works in the context of the overall experience. That said, in terms of amount, it is right on the line of what's acceptable.

This is a high user-base site where the primary source of income would seem to be advertising. Making sites of this nature profitable can be a real challenge. There has been a tendency over the last few think that more is better in terms of ads but there is no doubt that the average web user now suffers from a serious case of banner blindness. One would have to question as to where is the tipping point with respect to advertising in the profit versus nuisance equation.

In a broader sense, perhaps the time is approaching when sites like this will have no choice but to look for more inventive ways to generate new revenue streams. This is not to suggest that this would be an easy task but once there is a large and active user base, something can always be done. One would have to question as to where is the tipping point with respect to advertising in the profit versus nuisance equation.

 

User Experience

 

While we have talked a bit about the level of advertising and there is some negative impact as a result of that, it is not significant. From a macro perspective the site and design still work well and all of the available data and navigation is easy to read and access.

We always look at a site from a number of different devices. While this site performed generally very well it was a bit weaker in the context of older devices. Slower and older machines might struggle with some of the features loading a bit on the slow side.

Also, we had a number of people from the office navigate the site and got their impressions. While some of those people are coders others do not have that level of technical expertise so this allowed use to get a feel for user interaction from a number of different user perspectives. The opinions offered were generally very positive.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Because we have gone into some detail about the level of advertising on the site, it might appear that we had a negative view of the site but this is not the case. While there are certainly some issues that we felt were worth pointing out, there is also a lot of very positive stuff here. Overall, we went for 4 /5 because the good certainly outweighs the bad by a long distance.

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