Skip to main content

Using 4AD's search wheel

4ad is a British independent record label that began in 1979. Its former and current artists include the Pixies, Lush, The National, Bauhaus and Pale Saints. If that's not enough, the website is full of video, streams and downloads of their latest music from the homepage and flexible navigation including a prominent search box and a right-panel rolodex style for finding artists alphabetically and chronologically. There is also an interactive wheel used to search by artist or year. However, some components of the wheel are unclear and not useful.

Without any instruction, the wheel immediately suggests (by changing the mouse pointer from arrow to hand) that you can click and drag to a particular year or an artist; a corresponding white (or black handle) lets the user find specific information efficiently while a red handle (the 'Randomise Leaver') selects random artists from their catalogue. But the purpose of the red rectangle that contains some sort of number is not clear and the ABCD control (allowing you to go a letter page) on the top continually gave me 'no entry' when I used it.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't find either function useful when searching for music. Although the quick link to Wheel Help is visible, 4ad could improve the already good user experience of the wheel by simply removing the unnecessary components. This use of functional minimalism would make the wheel less complicated while not compromising its core functionality - finding great 4ad music.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Setting a price alert on Stubhub

A few weeks ago, my wife and I really wanted to see Alvvays and Frankie Rose at Metro in Chicago. But the show sold out and I was left to look for tickets second-hand. I've used Stubhub before to purchase concert tickets but up until now, hadn't tried their Price Alert feature which lets you set a ticket price max and be notified when the price goes below it. The user experience from beginning to end was really good. The feature is easy to find and provides very mobile-friendly controls to create the alert. The Price Alert tab was prominent on the event details screen - very easy to find. Note: today (1/5/18), Stubhub has removed those tabs and you have to tap an Info button top right of the viewport to look for the same feature. It's a still a good UX once you get there but it's an additional step. The Price Alert feature is intuitive and uses tappable numbers to let me pick the quantity of tickets (not a clunky dropdown menu or less efficient plus/minus p

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 user

KEXP's new Apple TV experience

I love KEXP . It’s a listener-supported radio station in Seattle. It streams all around the world on its website and mobile app. And they’ve had a really good app for the Apple TV for some time - great to stream in the house at a high volume!  And I’ve reviewed them before here . Oh, and also here .  They recently released an excellent new version of the app for Apple TV. And although it doesn’t introduce a lot of new features, it’s way more visually engaging and maximizes the screen real estate much better than before. Here are some of the major changes... Additional, prominent functionality- Archive (stream any show from the past) and streaming Settings The old version had a lot of wasted, unused screen real estate while the new version makes more efficient use of the screen New, large, colorful tiles along the bottom represent each song played in chronological order You can scroll left and right to see history of songs played (much further back in history than before) Larger album