Work has started on the development of the Audiotheque drama website, with David Watts, our web developer, figuring out what will work and what will improve the functionality of the site. He’s working on a snapshot that is sitting on the university servers, so he can experiment and play around, and if he breaks anything, then we can always take another snapshot of the existing site.
So I want to start to think about the overall structure of the site, it’s purpose, and how we would like users to be interacting on the site. I’m looking for sites that I can model and analyse what works and what doesn’t work. To do this I want to build up a list of sites that catch my eye, and which offer an experience to the use which is both functionally efficient and cool at the same time. Here are some of the existing sites that deal with audio drama and sound design and my thoughts on each:
A Flash based site that is a few years old now. There’s lots to explore if you are a French speaker. The interface is good, but as a text based experience it is less easy to follow if you don’t know what the words mean. Once you get into the interface, however, it is very easy to move around and play tracks. The recall is very quick and the collation of tracks into a table, with additional information about it makes it very easy to go through the tracks and listen to a number of them in quick succession.
A WordPress blog, this site highlights some personal blogs by Matt Hulse, a film maker and sound designer. Good for sharing articles, but doesn’t contain audio.
It seems there is nothing exclusive about the name Audiotheque, and this site does contain audio to download. I like the prominent design and balance between images and text. There is a nice feeling of intuitive balance to the front page, without overloading the user with too many buttons or obvious links.
A rather functional looking site that promotes sound effects. Useful to look at because it manages to organise lots of different types of sound effects by category. One of the main functional requirements of the Audiotheque site is to allow the users to find the type of dramas that they want to listen to. This might be within a limited range, but it would be useful to be able to track these categories and to showase the different forms of content in different ways.
This is a very interesting looking project. I really like the way that it encourages users to make their own sonic postcards, and to share them on the site. As an educational project it has great potential. I’m a bit worried about the design all being blue, but the simplicity of the interface is great. Very clear ‘play’ or ‘download’ buttons, and very little attempt to add more to the interface than the project itself.