turntablelab redesign

holy crap. whoever re-designed the turntablelab website, pete hahn & co. should get their money back. i know, like the facebook redesign, some things have to grow on you for awhile before you learn to use them (and love them?), but this website appears to be a well-intentioned mess-terpiece. in fact, i had stopped looking for site updates and relegated myself to their dwindling-in-interest blog as of their 2.0 site redesign in '06. Previous to that, I actually enjoyed going to the old site for monthly music updates (remember Real Audio clips?), their top 5 of the moment, and easy navigation to different genres with short, spot-on reviews. it was simple, not too hard on the eyes, and you trusted the musical taste. hahn, please, if you have to do one thing, try to save the music, let snack and commish (your two most valuable selectors) pick cuts and bring it back to revolve around that. generally speaking, you want to limit the number of hierarchical choices for the customer on initial entry; another example of a bad site would be this one: look at how many complex pathways the user has to decide upon; flash should be used to make things simpler, and never jarring for the user (as when your page is obscured by a huge number of links upon rolling over the top menus). i understand that you have a giant amount of diverse product to sell, but i don't think this site is the solution.

also, there is implicit in the design critique the question of using thumbnails to sell product (turntablelab's front page design (or "the wall" as they call it) is a grid of 16 product thumbnails). having tried the thumbnail route once (Summer 2007, site design for TME Studios), i learned that thumbnails don't sell, but interesting color swatches do. For a good example of the swatch design, check out Supreme's store site. Typically, the internet user is scanning a page, not trying to decipher the meaning of a series of 150x150 pixil images (and if any of them may be a worthwhile click-through). The swatches are cool because there is no need for meaning as such, just a visceral reaction to the pattern -- either you like it or you don't. and if you do, there is a game of suspense on click-through. for those that want to see all the product, they provide that page also.


Oil Can

I was out in Burlington, NC, yesterday at 5PM, about the time you would imagine the interstate and local roads would be busy with workers returning home. The roads were strangely clear. Later, walking around a local strip mall, the sense of economic decay was palpable: the only business that was busy was Autozone, where customers were saving money by sitting under their own cars doing their own repairs. More than two thirds of the country's economy is dependent upon consumer spending. From working part-time at a local retail establishment, I can tell you that no one is hiring now, and employers that are not cutting positions are cutting employees' hours. That means less dollars for consumer spending. Which is also less dollars for the businesses tertiary to the retail sector, everyone from accountants to signmakers.


Fail Log

this is my vision for the retail store. small location. coffee served at 9AM. evening meal served at 7, pull out a long wooden table that cuts through the center of the store, feed as many folks as seats exist (benches?). the products aren't located inside the main part of the store, instead stored in a backroom. rather than browsing, you ask X what they are looking for, bring them back something you think they might like, personal. charge proportional to income. so the interior doesn't look like a store, it looks like an arts space. so there is shit going on every hour. 9AM coffee, desks for people to read. once a day, video clips projected to a wall, best of ish culled from dvds, also, what's hot on the youtube ish, blogs, etc. live performances at night, turntable/mc battles. so retail is going on all this time, only its selective, you don't realize, don't need to realize that you are in a store. hour for art instruction. writing workshops, storytelling.


Oil Can

oil trending up on stocks tightening last week. inventory builds slowing, while general markets feel optimistic about recovery, and banks are in the clear regarding geithner's stress tests. lots of buy pressure.