Internet Magazine (Sept 99 p73) surveyed Music on the Web (UK) as the first of a new series of surveys of home sites.
My opinion of the review.
I think the review is a good one. We got the new front page logo on-line in time for the article. The page looks attractive and should bring us some new visitors. I think two stars is a poor rating but I guess every site owner will feel equally hard done by. I do not envy them their job of trawling through sites. Some points made are valid and will be acted on.A major omission was the recogition of of Ian Lace's contribution as editor for this site which is very unfortunate as he was very active in generating reports for them and answering their questions. I get all the credit for much of what is his work. The report has a nice picture of the front page and several smaller images so it is an attractive report occupying a full page.
Text of report:
When Dr Len Mullenger isn't lecturing in Biology, he's a major music fan. He has two music sites - Film Music on the Web and Classical Music Web (come.to/musicweb) which is devoted to CD reviews and profiles of composers. Subject matter apart the sites are similar.
Film Music on the Web has 11 areas for you to visit. The CD reviews section looks at around 20 different film soundtracks every month. Click on the image of an album and you get a detailed description and a star rating from individual reviewers. The 57 year old webmaster, Dr Mullenger, then award's an editor's choice and an editor's recommendation - a winner and a runner up.
Watch out for the dreaded one-star award. The reviewers don't hold back if they didn't enjoy what they listened to. But you probably won't get that far - the graphic of what looks like Dr Mullenger in a mad pose should be enough to put you off.
The News section has a mixed bag of stories. For instance, you're told that on 10 September, the Birmingham Symphony Hall will be screening the original 1925 silent version of Ben Hur, complete with live musical accompaniment from the City of Birmingham Symphony orchestra.
On the other hand there is a rather spurious review of Episode1: The Phantom Menace that doesn't even mention the soundtrack. Thankfully there's quality content elsewhere on the site, including an interesting interview with John Williams, the composer of the Star Wars soundtrack.
Dr Len has to be praised for his sites thorough approach to the subject matter. "The Internet is dominating my life and my wife hates it," he says. And you can imagine why, with the time it must take to update this site - complete with book reviews, related articles, composer profiles and on-line links to third party on-line CD retailers.
The site also has a bulletin board and a monthly competition to win the CD of your choice. These interactive features have helped to attract 60,000 visitors since launch.
Created: January 1998
Current Size: 32Mb
Development Time: It's been a continuous process since January 98
Number of Pages 486
Motivation: The Classical Music Web had been running successfully for about a year and the idea of a Film Music site complemented it.
What Next?: We thought about a domain name, but we could not afford it. E-commerce is an obvious feature. I'm looking for a volunteer to help me improve the site - please e-mail me at email@example.com
Sites need to establish an identity quickly, and a good logo can help. Len's site does have an image that acts as a logo across a lot of the pages, but it changes throughout the site. (Three image are shown)
Visitors always want to click on images, so if a site does have a consistent logo, it should link to the front page or contents menu
People don't want to do too much scrolling - particularly on the opening page. Keeping information within a browser window will encourage exploration of the rest of the site
PICTURES THAT LINK
Linked pictures can be an excellent way of sending people straight to the information they're looking for. But visitors can get confused and frustrated if pictures don't act as links to other pages or section.
This is so central to good web design that almost anything else can be forgiven. Len's site has a 'back to menu' link on most pages, but it needs more - people want clear consistent navigation. Most designers put a site's major links within a navigation bar, place it on one side of the screen and leave it there on every page
Dr Len Recommends
Music& Vision www.mvdaily.com
DESIGN 2 stars out of five
CONTENT 4 stars out of Five
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