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.

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