The layout sucks. The positioning of the elements seems accidental. Your logo is pixelated, it looks like something from the CGA days.
The search results box is way too small. That should be the main area. You're probably thinking that the map is cool, but as someone who has written GMaps mashups, I can tell you it's not that cool. You could even get away with not showing it at all, and only popping it up onClick. Yeah, it seems cool to show Budapest when I type "Budapest", but frankly, I know where I live. Also, at this point you're not putting down markers anyway!
So, I'd rethink the layout a little.
I had the map smaller originally, but the bigger map just seems more engaging. I do put markers on the map after you click on a result. I thought it would be useless to have a bunch of markers on the map first, as you aren't going to decide on a show based on the location, but it's good to see the location after.
Thanks for the input.
I changed the layout yesterday to a smaller map. it definately cleans things up, that's for sure.
I have no idea why my logo is pixelated, but thanks for pointing that out. Web-searches aren't getting me anywhere in resolving that yet. In photoshop I'm doing the 'save for web' at 72 dpi, so I thought that was supposed to take care of that. Any ideas?
1) Get rid of the brown and orange combo - too 70's, and the orange doesn't work well with the orange lines of the map;
2) Move the map to the middle and have your results in a column on the right;
3) On the left, have a column for inputting the location data, have a clickable calendar to select a date, and have a slider bar so you can increase or decrease the "within" search area (or perhaps something like a target board where the middle is the location you put in and you click on an outer ring to widen your "within" area);
My personnel design philosophy is: reduce the number of clicks - that is, always try to reduce the number of clicks a user has to do to get the information they want. E.g. for the "within" drop down menu: one click to get to to drop down and another to select the option; a slider is one click to zoom in or out. Having a calendar already on screen removes the need to try and use the pop-up one, which again reduces the number clicks from a hover and click to just one. However, where you have lots of options, such as the genres, I think you still need a drop down menu because there are two many options to list....unless you put them all in some sort of bar. Don't know. Try it.
Anyway, I hope that made sense and helps. Good luck.
Cut the adwords and the digg/share widgets. They're not going to get you money or traffic, respectively, and they look trashy.
The list of upcoming shows looks terrible: the left edge doesn't line up with the left edge of the div above it, and the inset scroll doesn't match the rest of the look/feel, and I'm seeing a pixel's worth of one element and it looks like a glitch. This needs a lot of work.
Use a normal dropdown for the 'playing' menu: inconsistent UI elements are bad, and that one would be bad even if it weren't inconsistent.
Populate the map with markers immediately rather than waiting till someone clicks on an artist.
The music player isn't working for me: standard ff3/windows.
Your fonts feel inconsistent: pick a bold typeface for titles/buttons/logo, and a plain typeface for standard text.
Most of what I'm saying is really basic stuff, so honestly, I suspect you're doing something basic wrong. If you've heard it a bunch of times before, you're either being lazy or stubborn. If not, you're not asking for enough feedback from friends, family, at tech meetups, etc.
With all due respect, are you serious? Most AdWords users I've heard from have had fairly positive feedback on the system.
And beyond that, it's likely that pedalpete has spent several months and/or thousands of dollars from his own pocket building a useful web aggregator that provides free, easy to use, searchable data to the teeming masses. And you're telling him to get rid of his site's single, small source of income, because you think it looks trashy? I'm all for minimalism in UI design, but get real.
It might be a better strategy to keep the most clean, minimalistic approach during the infant stages then introduce adwords once there's a steady stream of traffic.
...and clicking the topmost photo on the map.
I've made a few of the more minor changes you recommended (including the scrolling), and just uploaded it to the server, but I think the fonts/images, etc is going to take me some time. Probably won't get that sorted today.
But you've really opened my eyes, shawndrost, I can't thank you enough.
I'll be making lots of changes over the next few days I'm sure.
Also, I agree with the others who have suggested placing shows on the map immediately after a search.
I'm not a huge fan of the look, and i've been tweaking and tweaking it. Even hired a designer, but we conflicted on a bunch of elements and this is what I ended up with.
It's a shame the player isn't working. I haven't heard that yet, and that is the best part - listen so you can discover the artists.
I specifically didn't want to populate the map with markers as it would just be full of markers, and you won't really decide to go to a show based on where it is, rather than who is playing, so I think the site would get just too busy with that.
But I'll definately be working on everything else you mentioned. Kinda makes me wish I could take down this post for now and repost later. ;)
Actually, once you get going and have time to start adding features, I'd recommend trying to run some analysis on venues within the search range, and have places that typically fit the search pattern show up on the initial search. Searching for particular shows is certainly useful, but there would also be a lot of times when I'd like to just check out what type of music a place regularly plays. At any rate, it's just something to think about when you get a chance.
I agree the UI needs some work to make it look more calm generally. I guess colours are a matter of taste but the alignment of UI widgets is terrible right now (Firefox on Mac).
What I'd like to see changed is the genre list. It's much too detailed. Particularly because I can make only one choice at a time. Most people will want all rock and pop or all latin music, etc. It doesn't make sense to have more than, say, 5 genres. If you don't want to cut them down that much you should allow users to make multiple selections at a time.
The date filter should read "today", "tomorrow", "select from calendar".
I know that's going to be controversial, but I really like layouts that use the entire screen real estate and don't make me scroll. Can you put the ads vertically along the right or left border?
When I search for shows at a different location, the previously selected show (the one at the top) isn't removed as it should be.
As I said, I really like that service and I wish you a lot of success with it!
I agree that the layout could use a lot of work. It's rather difficult to use on my X60 (1024x768 resolution).
Also, the filtering is very nice, but there's still a bit of information overload for me since there are over a hundred shows playing near where I live, in the genres I'm interested in, on a random saturday.
An extra feature that may be help alleviate that problem could be integration with some other site/service/application that already knows my musical tastes. For example, I've already spent a fair amount of time telling iTunes, Last.fm, pandora, and facebook what I like. It would be great if you could leverage that to provide me with a better filter.
APART from that, it worked great. Normally hard to find services that can actually find stuff in my smallish town but it did a good job.
Also I would definitely add a date range to the calendar and not just a single date (or all dates) .. that'd be neat :)
Would be cool if the map geo-located my ip and displayed my local results on first visit. -edit- Ahh it looks like you're already doing that but didn't work for me (showed london).
Overall nice idea and it works quite well.
I don't think users should have to scroll to see content, particularly when there is a sub-scroll and a map. I think it would suck if you scolled down, selected an address, had to scroll back up to get to see the location, or the player(I originally had my player inline like you have on mixturtle, but wasn't a huge fan of it that way, preferring the consistent location for the control).
Having said all that, your site looks way better than mine, so I definately take your critique seriously. I've already started piecing together a new layout, but with the additional features I have coming, it is only getting heavier. :(
My original had the map seperate form the controls, and I may return to that.
Thanks - hope all is going well with mixturtle.
Anyway I think if you really wona keep everything before the fold, I'd suggest giving the bands-box more weight than the map. If you swapped it round that would work quite well. So the map would be 30% of space and bands get 70% rest. But if you're thinking of adding lots of markers to the map, I'd suggest 50/50 split.
Check out http://kuler.adobe.com/ for color scheming.
The map could be sized differently depending on resolution, so you don't have to scroll.
The genre list needs an overhaul. If you search for Ambient, it returns bands that claim to be Metal / Ambient, which is not the same! I like to find things by genre.
Is this primarily a nicer interface to myspace music?
At the moment this is an actual working interface for MySpace music. But I'll be adding more features in the near future which extend beyond that.
I hope this one is better recieved :)
Still has some tweaking to be done, but a few simple changes give it a whole new look.
Hope you like this one better.
One problem - the map is showing Newcastle somewhere in America! Oops! If I type in "Newcastle, Uk", the map jumps to the right place but the music results change and Kylie is no longer there...
When artists supply good data (which seems to be the majority), things work well.
Google maps seems to default to the US when searching for locations, so I'm guessing that entering UK into a geo-search isn't a rarity for you.. is that right.
I'll see if I can get some sort of filter that tries to pick the name with the greatest population or something. That makes much more sense.
Have a good time at the show.
If it didn't find you on the first visit, i set a cookie for future visits so you don't have to type the address again.
Forget graphical issues; do a real usability study. Then start funneling ad traffic to the site and start A/B testing more usable interfaces (aka don't take my word for it, use data!)
"2234 live shows on all dates within 25 miles of Sydney"
Maybe the units could be set based on ip range?
I was just looking for something like this the other day, citysearch is so cumbersome.
Playing songs isnt working for me though. When I click through to the myspace page I can listen fine, but on your site it just stays at 0% ( vista, firefox 3.0.1, flash 9 )
I've noticed a few odd results creep in myself. I'll work on that.