Skip to main content

The transactional flow of Sub Pop Records

Sub Pop is a legendary record label based in Seattle that has signed great bands like The Shins, The Postal Service and Nirvana. They recently celebrated their 2oth anniversary and they have a great site full of artist info, photography and a Listen feature which allows users to stream music. However, when purchasing music, the transactional flow of the site is confusing.

After adding an album (in MP3S format) by the Vaselines to the the shopping cart, I noticed several options including login, create an account, a delete icon, a link to the album and a checkout icon. However, a few of these items were unclear. I'm not sure why one would want to create an account (from the shopping cart) and there is no helpful information on the subsequent 'Sign Up' screen to explain the benefit or creating an account. The login and account options would be better placed outside the context of the shopping cart area or simply introduced at the beginning of the checkout process.

I finally clicked the Checkout icon and began the transaction process. But on the third screen, I was asked to enter a shipping address! I thought I was downloading the digital MP3S format so why would I need to provide a shipping address? The site should contextually recognize that I am purchasing a digital version of an album and bypass the shipping address screen. This type of confusing transactional flow will frustrate users and may cause them to abandon the shopping cart altogether.

Sub Pop should minimize the number of choices in the Account area by removing login and create an account and make the flow more contextual by requiring users to enter only the information they need for that purchase. These changes would improve the overall music user experience of the site.

(Sub Pop Records gave me permission to use the image.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Google Doodle tribute to Les Paul

In honor of (what would have been) Les Paul's 96th birthday, today's Google Doodle is an interactive, recordable, electric guitar. Paul, after whom the Gibson Les Paul guitar is named, was one of the first electric guitars and he designed one of the first solid body electric models. He is also one of the few artists with a stand-along exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . The Google Doodle, found at google.com , is typically an illustration created for one day to (among other things) celebrate a holiday or the birthday of someone famous. You simply hover over the strings to strum and create a song. A record button lets you save your song and send it to someone and you can even play back your own song while playing over it (like the overdubbing Paul made famous in the '40s). Click on the Doodle? Well, that will show you search results for Les Paul. Several music fans have recorded their own songs today including this one - 'Hey Jude' by The Beatles. Easy to u

A site map for a music application

For the past several months, I've been working with the CHIRP Radio volunteer tech team to design a mobile solution that allows station DJs to plan out their weekly shows. At a high level, a DJ should be able to browse and select songs from a massive music library, and add them to one or more playlists, which can be used for their shows. The app also has functionality like the ability to read album reviews, view recent activity by DJs in the app, and review a DJ's profile. A site map is an important artifact when designing any application or website. It shows how the overall navigation should be structured, can be used with end users to validate the taxonomy, and is helpful for developers as a companion to wireframes or mockups. Below is a site map I recently created for the project. The highest level navigation options are lighter in color, while as the user navigates deeper, darker colors are used to represent those options. The coloring isn't necessarily a known

Redesigning the MySpace music player

Originally a major competitor to Facebook, MySpace has evolved from a being a place for 'friendships' to an important site in digital music. Like Facebook, artists can create profile pages for fans to follow but artists can also embed songs into a music player for fans to listen to. This functionality has really opened the door for discovering new music (especially for new artists who don't have a label or a means of distribution and marketing). However, MySpace's music player (above) suffers from some usability issues including small controls and an inefficient screen layout . When advancing through a song, users have to move a very small slider control that requires unnecessary precision . An improved, larger control would be much easier to click and drag than the current small rectangle shape. Also, the two-row layout of songs in the artist's queue is inefficiently designed . A maximum of only five songs can be listed in the queue at one time and then use