August 03, 2012
Over the last few months, the popular music tracking and online radio site Last.fm has been working on a revamped web GUI design. Redesigning the artist, album and track pages from the ground up and improving the navigation menus, the new site launched recently to approval from users and critics alike. Though not a major redesign of the website's look, these changes not only improve usability, but add new features for users to play with as well.
According to Gadgetsteria, the new look offers subtle improvements all around, simplifying the Now Playing page, showing more information about listening habits and more. While it has been several years since the company last tweaked its site, even these small improvements are a welcome change.
The important thing to notice on the redone web UI design is the improved navigation and "tidying up" of pages, as the official Last.fm blog put it. This not only makes the pages more pleasing to the eye, but speeds up navigation and helps users find what they are looking for faster - key components of proper web design. Text is easier to read, images are bigger and important data more prominent. Simon Moran, managing director of Last.fm, said the new features are based on user recommendations.
Despite adding more content to pages, the redesign simplifies the site. Combined with user feedback and the consideration of usability, this component makes up the most important part of this redesign: more capabilities without cluttering up the design and complicating the user experience.
Another major change is a move toward responsive design. Moran told memeburn that the company has taken steps to make its site work equally well on tablet and mobile phone browsers as it does on desktops. Making the site more flexible will also improve the overall web design usability and increase user satisfaction.
Overall, the new site has had its detractors, with users complaining that some suggestions are being ignored by the developers. However, as with any website redesign, some suggestions cannot be easily implemented, while others may simply go against the direction a business is aiming for. On the other hand, critics from VentureBeat and other sites have voiced general approval of the new changes.