In a previous post I wrote about my experience on the FeedMusic website. I explained how the website felt more like an experience to have rather than a site to visit. I went on to explain how this website hit the nail on the head of each important piece of design as presented by Steve Krug. That being:
- Take advantage of conventions
- Create effective visual hierarchies
- Break pages up into clearly defined areas
- Make it obvious what’s clickable
- Eliminate distractions
- Format content to support scanning
Now, I would like to go a step further and evaluate FeedMusic based upon Don Norman’s 7 fundamentals of design. The seven fundamentals are discoverability, affordances, signifiers, mapping, constraints, feedback, conceptual model.
FeedMusic takes discoverability to another level by making it one of the best websites in terms of discoverability I have interacted with. One of the first things a user will notice on the page is the scroll down (mouse icon) at the bottom of the page allowing the user to immediately know how to interact with the website. Everything on the website feels so easily discoverable, because scrolling down is essentially all one has to do to view everything.
The affordances and signifiers on the website are limited due to its clean and minimalist design, however the scrolling feature again is the first thing that comes to mind in terms of these two design principles. The scroll icon and moving text are signifiers of how to navigate the website and the affordance is the act of “scrolling.” Those who use websites know that scrolling is a function that navigates from top to bottom, apply that to the primary use of this website with an obvious signifier and it works quite well.
As for mapping, the website goes from beginning to end. The introduction of the website is the first thing one will see and as the user scrolls down they are taken on the journey of the website until the last piece of content asking the user to move forward with the FeedMusic company.
Constraints on this are also limited due to the minimalistic design but one constraint is that the user virtually cannot do anything else other than scroll down or click the side hamburger menu to navigate the site. You can scroll up to go back a section, but you cannot scroll up past the first page of the site, you cannot scroll side-ways, just down. There really is not much of a need for constraints here due to how simple the site is.
Feedback is another strong point of the site, with each scroll down or each click to a new section from the side menu there is a transition and moving animations giving the user the feedback that they are progressing through the site in the correct direction.
Lastly, conceptual models. “With a clear conceptual model, discoverability is enhanced – the user can figure out how to do new things or try variations on existing things. She can also evaluate the results of the actions that she takes” (Socialinsilico). We, as people, have a mental model of how things are read, how we navigate through webpages, and how moving through content works. That mental model is incorporated into the design of FeedMusic website by having content move from top to bottom, messages appear as the user scrolls, and comes to an end at the bottom of the page. This satisfies the mental model people use because it feels so similar and adheres to conventional standards of progression, while also being unique and innovate in its design.
In all, I believe FeedMusic is a great website and many can learn from its simple and unique design. I would like to know if having limited signifiers, constraints and other important pieces are not an issue due to how simple and minimalistic the design is, or if this would make things difficult for users?
-Krug. S. Don’t Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability. 2014
-Norman, D. The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books, 2013