Hear the band's newest song "Jukebox" only here!Ian Collins
Watch the rising star's 'Heart Skips a Beat (Live at House of Blues)' video premiere.Bella Howard
'American Idol' champ performs in our studio + talks breaking the pop mold, health struggles and why he almost quit 'Idol.'Gino DePinto, AOL
Interested in the latest news on the nominees? Our 'Real-Time Awards Show News' module has all the latest stories from across the web.
1. Simple pages (less is more)
2. Fast load times
3. Improved Header
4. Improved Search
Search is very important because no matter how good we make our user interface for browsing, we have so much content and data on our site that it is impossible to reveal it all just through a browsing interface. Music is classically long-tail and search and long-tail were made for each other.
The most obvious improvement we made was to switch to a more classic layout of results. Our old page presented results grouped by category. While this aided in finding the type of asset you were searching for (song, video, picture, etc,) it did not put the best result up top. If you were searching for a video, you had to scroll past artists, albums and songs to get to videos. The new page displays the best results -- regardless of content type -- descending from the top.
The second improvement we made was to include our editorial and news results on the page. The old page only displayed results from music.aol.com for artists, videos, etc. The new page searches our entire network of sites including Spinner, The Boot, The Boombox and more. This unlocks all the original content we have along side all the results we previously displayed.
The third improvement was speed. Results now display a lot faster than they ever did.
We hope the new search page allows you to quickly and easily find the content you want. We are not done yet improving this page but felt like we reached a level with it that was such an improvement on the previous page that it was worth releasing now. We will continue to tweak the page based on feedback we receive from you. Please let us know what you think.
Not sure what to search for? Here is a search to get you started - http://music.aol.com/search/?query=jack+johnson
On top you will find the new artist navigation bar. This provides quick links to Videos, Pictures, Albums, Bio, Lyrics and Tour Dates. If we have an exclusive performance -- Sessions or The Interface -- you will also find a link to it here.
Below that is the new Real Time News feed for the artist. Like on our new homepage redesign, this brings artist news from 30,000+ trusted news sources across the web and keeps the page fresh with new content every day.
The News feed will also contain photos of the artist.
More and more artists are using Twitter these days to connect with their fans. We've compiled a huge list of official Twitter accounts and put Twitter widgets right on these pages. Now you can find the official accounts of your favorite artists easily.
Like we mentioned in a previous post on our redesign, we have a huge site with many pages. We have chosen to release theses pages as they are ready, as opposed to all at once in the end. As such, some things may seem a little weird to you as you jump from page to page. For the Artist pages, we redesigned the Main page and the Albums page. Videos, Photos and Bio are coming but for now they may look a little out of place. Hold tight, they are coming.
As is the case with all our redesigns, we would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about the new pages! And go check out Taylor's new page!
We started the process by asking "what could be removed"? After looking over the click data, we saw that very few people were using the search tabs. People were here for music, and wanted to only search within music results. Since we believe that less is more, we removed all search tabs.
The next issue we tackled was account-based. The old header showed you when you were logged-in by displaying your name with a drop-down to go to your profile and sign-out. It also had links to edit your profile and your profile settings. These were extraneous since people do not edit their profiles very often. It was also slightly hard to find the sign-out link. The new header shows you when you are logged-in with a quick link to your profile, playlists and sign-out. Much cleaner.
The final thing we changed was the biggest. In the past, we had 10 main navigation links. This posed a problem since we have a lot more than 10 pages. We decided to go with drop-downs on the main links to allow for quicker access to more content. We grouped our pages by type (videos, songs, etc) with tool-tip descriptions. We believe this will be a huge help in navigating our site.
Moving forward, we will put the new header across all our sites. We have a lot of work ahead of us, so things might seem a little weird as we continue to push this out. We also hope to add dynamic content to the drop-downs which will personalize the site according to the music you listen to and the news you read. Please let us know what you think. Your feedback is what drives us. Thanks!
One of those features is CD Listening Party. Every week we feature 10-20 new albums that you can listen to for free. On our current homepage, this is buried low on the page. Even so, it is one of the most clicked parts of the page. For the redesign, we raised this much higher on the page. We also gave it some more breathing room.
Right below CD Listening Party is our new 'Real Time Music News' module. Here at AOL Music, we write tons of articles every day about artists, songs and everything else in music. Even though we cover a lot, we can't cover it all! There are many music news sources out there -- and since this is the Web -- we figured that linking to them would be pretty easy. The new News module will show the latest music news with up-to-the-minute updates. The best part is that it is customizable. You can now track news just from your favorite artists if you want.
Another new feature is the ability to see what other people on AOL Music are listening to -- in real time! Anyone with a public profile will be visible on this module. It is a great way to see what music is hot and sample it for yourself. You will also be able to see the last three songs you've listened to, plus a link to see more.
If you are logged in, you can also see what other people on your AIM buddy list are listening to now.
As we stated in our previous post about our redesign, our aim was to make our site simpler to navigate while highlighting our best experiences. We feel confident we have done this with the new home page. Look for it in the next few days. Of course our work is never done. We want to hear your thoughts -- tell us what you think.
First and foremost, we hope the new design allows you to more easily navigate our site. Our main purpose was to showcase our best features -- features that you have told us you enjoy the most. We have done that by adding more prominent placements of key features. We have also done that by removing extraneous features that were not often used. If we removed something you liked, please let us know. While we have tried hard to keep everything, we understand that anything we remove will probably upset some people.
Starting soon, we will roll out the new design, page by page. The first pages to receive a makeover will be the home page, Artist Main, Albums and a new News page. We will also be rolling out a new header across all our pages. Things may seem a little weird as certain pages will look new and others look the same. Please bear with us. We have a large site! In the coming days, we will write about the new pages with screen shots. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
Update - Check out screen-shots of our new homepage.
Update 2 - Check out screen-shots of our new header.
--AOL Music Team
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