Thursday, January 2, 2014

Merge's responsive design and adding items to a wish list

Merge Records is an independent record label based in North Carolina and started by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan of the band Superchunk in 1989. I got to see them live for the first time in September at the Hideout Block Party in Chicago (a great show) and may see them again in January at Metro.

Though I thought the last version of the label's site was good, the latest version is really clean and engaging - a lot of photography, large type and several ways to listen to music by way of Listen links and a Merge radio feature. And the site's built responsively which means it reacts and scales depending on your device's resolution - this makes for a consistent user experience from laptop to tablet to phone without having to download and install an app (although they already have a good mobile app).

Browsing and purchasing music on the site is also good. With browsing, the links to New Releases, Shop and a search box make it easy to find new stuff. In terms of purchasing (I pre-ordered Hospitality's Trouble), the overall flow is better than expected with plenty of feedback when items are added/removed from a cart, large buttons to proceed to checkout/continue shopping and a good step-by-step process.

The only area for improvement would be for wish lists. In order to add anything to a wish list, you must be logged in (sure being taken to a log in page interrupts the experience but I see why it's necessary) but when I wanted to add the upcoming reissue of Nixon's Lambchop, I was asked to log in but the album was not automatically added to the wish list. I had to start over (like the site forgot why I was logging in) and search for the album and go thru the process again.

Additionally, when I finally added Nixon to the wish list and continued browsing the site, it wasn't clear how to get back to my wish list later - there isn't any visible link to a wish list and i couldn't get there by going to the cart.

Aside from a few issues with the wish list, it's a very good site and I can't wait to see Superchunk later this month in Chicago.

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