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The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

The new Imphenzia music site

Following three months of development the new Imphenzia music site has been launched to start off the new year. This time it was a total re-make from the ground up of the music site and I had to learn how to develop using JQuery in order to get the visual effects, real-time updating of pages without page reloads (using “AJAX”), and at the same time keeping the development effort to realistic proportions.
During the development process I set two requirements upon myself to fulfill, 1) make the new site clean, and 2) make it very simple to use. By using JQuery and quite modern features of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) I realize that there are visitors that will experience problems with the design and functionality, namely the visitors that use old browsers or have disabled javascript. For the first time, however, I felt that it is a sacrifice for the greater good as the vast majority of visitors will benefit from a much improved experience.

I also had time to reflect on the historic designs and trends that my site has endured over the past 13 years. In recent time, for the launch of the 2008 site, it was all about content, content, content, account features, google ads, and more content. Following the trend at the time the font was small to fit in as much text and information as possible and the layout was split into three columns complicating it even further. The 2011 site is the complete opposite with much less information presented in a tidy manner with larger text and without columns. I also think that the time of content packed sites was a natural way to progress as it was expected to make use of fancy layouts and high screen resolutions, where as we’re now back to putting the visitor at the center of attention making sure that the message you want to get across is clearly visible and simple to understand.

For some time I have been contemplating over how I should release my music. In the very beginning it was only possible to purchase physical albums, then the addition of mp3 albums, then single mp3 tracks, then a “donation” to download all tracks for a period of six months. I found the various options, and how they were presented on my site, to be very confusing. What would my visitors think if I thought it was confusing? The idea of a donation, for example, would only make sense if all tracks were downloadable to begin with since a donation is giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Bottom line; it was very confusing.

I hope that the new site has taken a big step in the right direction to combat the issues outlined above. The album section has been totally redesigned with a clean look and a visitor can add digital albums and CD albums into a shopping cart. The donation feature has been replaced with a new feature for full access that still focuses on allowing the visitor to contribute with an amount of his or her choice and is return rewarded with longer term of access depending on the size of the contribution.

Themes and registration

Music Site 1
I've completed the theme functionality on the new site. Changing the look (and width) of the site is extremely easy and fast. The screenshots that you can see demonstrate this functionality although changes to templates are only minor for testing - in the end result the themes will be quite different from each other.

Music Site 2In addition to themes I've completed a user registration process with live java validation of the form fields as you type. This will simplify the process making sure that your passwords match up and that your address is valid etc. The registration process also features validation by e-mail to ensure you don't get unsolicited spam.

 Finally - the most important thing I've learned so far is KEEP YOUR CONTENT AND DESIGN SEPARATED. This is the best way to work as changing a theme or page content is super simple once the framework is in place. It's 4:14am now so I'm going to eat something and watch some TV now... then off to sleep.