Skip to main content

Slacker moves to a flat design

Slacker just made a major change to flat design (for the better!). Did they have a non-flat, skeumorphic look in the past? Well, it wasn't as bad as Apple's iPad newsstand or reel-to-reel podcast metaphor but they used plenty of gradients and even a speaker-grill texture (below) on both sides of the web app almost to suggest 'hey, this is a music app!'

Consumers don't need those cues designed to look like the real world anymore - they need a simple, clean design to communicate intended use of the product and that's where flat design comes in.






The new Slacker design achieves that - it's ditched the black and heavily-textured interface for a clean, white design with large, readable type and simple, pictogram-style iconography. Although, there are some drop shadows to give the UI depth, the overall look is well-organized and the flat design allows me to find things (like the Create Station and My Music features) quickly.

Not to mention the approach on the web is Mobile First providing only the most critical features on the surface. The user experience is tablet-friendly (large buttons and type which translate quickly to other resolutions) and simple. The mobile UI is so similar to the web that the experience across devices is not only visually cohesive but also leverages most of the ways you use the app on the web (similar controls, buttons, icons and type).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ultimate Guitar's many Play buttons

In any UI, calls to action must be clear - represented either by intuitively labeled buttons, or instantly recognizable icons. When they're not, your users will have to do extra work to figure out how a feature works, how to get started, how to distinguish areas of the screen. This will cause them to hesitate, be confused, and simply take more time than needed to get something done. And they'll most likely forget next time they visit your app.

In the case of Ultimate Guitar, an excellent guitar community website which includes chords (and tabs) from 1000s of songs, the detailed view of a songs's chords have too many similar calls to action.



In the image above, notice the number of tappable elements that represent 'Play'. The first and second one (top of screen) seem to do the same thing - they briefly open a different, more robust view of the tabs, followed quickly by a modal asking me to upgrade. Not only are the options redundant but only the second one has a lab…

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 best p…

What made Rdio's UX so good?

On December 22, Rdio finally shut down its service, a beautiful, on-demand music streaming application, which didn’t do anything extraordinary when it came to functionality - they had discovery, sharing, playlist management, and a mobile offering just like their competitors. But it was the user experience that set it apart from others like Spotify and Apple Music. Simple, organized, intuitive, and mobile-first.

Clean, simple UI - Screen density is often an issue with music apps trying to cram every piece of recommended content and social function on the screen at once. Rdio's beautiful, simple design (with plenty of white space and good use of color and typography) makes for a clean interface so users don't get overwhelmed with all of the options and content being shown at any given time. Users notice important things like calls to action since they stand out so well.

Well-organized - Things are where you expect, including a small set of persistent navigation options on the left…