Skip to main content

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 label 'interactive tab'.

The third, a play icon, only displays when I tap the Audio button and plays the song via an integration with Apple Music (super useful!). But the identical play icon below that (the fourth) does something totally different than the third - it scrolls the page slowly helping the user play along with the tabs. As the audio controls (for playing the song) collapse, the user sees only one pause button, on the same row as the Audio icon, which makes it unclear what the visible play/pause control relates to (is it for scrolling? for playing the song?).

A couple of suggestions would make the screen more usable...
  • On the top, remove both of the play buttons, and convert the 'Interactive Tab' text to a button, top right giving the user only one clearly labeled play option. This will also remove some clutter, making the screen less dense, letting the user focus on what's important. 
  • On the bottom, consider using the same gray background (used for the active Audio button), for its related play/pause controls in the above row, leaving the scrolling controls white. The slight variation in color across rows will help users distinguish the one set of controls from the other while the gray color will establish a visual relationship between the Audio button and its controls.





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

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