Harrison Parrott vs. Sam Hill Entertainment
For User-Centered Design Class, I compared Harrison Parrott vs. Sam Hill Entertainment.
I Looked at Harrison Parrott vs. Sam Hill Entertainment
For two sites with the same ostensible purpose – assisting users with hiring musicians – Harrison Parrott and Sam Hill could scarcely be more different.
From the beginning, the Harrison Parrott site is all about the hiring of classical performers.
The slide show changes, but the images are all clearly associated with classical performing arts, such as chamber music or opera. There is a lot of white space and the headings are simple and clear.
Scrolling down, the next part of the front page revealed the Featured News portion of the website. The slideshow at the very top is apparently the really important news, whereas the middle portion has smaller images and isn’t a moving slideshow. Featured News seems slightly older, but everything has a date range within the month of May, 2015. This gave the site an up to date look and feel.
Their About Section
Scrolling down, the next part of the front page revealed the About section. This part also contained social sharing buttons for LinkedIn and Twitter, and a Twitter stream.
Harrison Parrott has done its homework, particularly given the demographics for LinkedIn (urban, over age 30, many with college educations, and 44% with an income of over $77,000 per annum) and for classical music aficionados (median age of concert goers is 49). As well as they can, Harrison Parrott is matching a typical classical art aficionado buyer persona with the closest social media platforms that they can find.
I clicked on the Artists tab, and was presented with large clickable images of artists with brief verbiage about what each of them does.
The tiles are clickable and everybody’s got their own page.
A quick perusal on my phone (I have a Nokia so the screen is a little smaller than an iPhone) revealed that the site is pretty easy to navigate.
Although the hamburger icon is unexpectedly in the upper left corner of the small phone screen. This detracted from usability but only momentarily.
In all, it’s a well-designed site where the user can readily locate nearly anything. As Jakob Nielsen notes in The Need for Web Design Standards,
“Standards ensure that users
- … don’t miss important features because they overlook a non-standard design element”
While the logo isn’t in the upper left corner (it’s centered at the top), it’s still easy to spot. Doing double duty, the logo serves as a link to return to the home page. To minimize confusion, there is also a small house icon in the upper left corner, another way to return home from anywhere on the site.
Sam Hill Entertainment
Sam Hill is a site for booking bands for weddings, parties and the like. Head to the home page, and you get this:
I’m not really sure what the images on each side are for, as there are no links behind them. This is it for the front page. Everything is above the fold because there is no fold.
The site isn’t optimized for mobile. The side images look even more out of place, and there is a ton of unused white space at the bottom of my screen. Print is tiny; I had to zoom in if I wanted to click anything. If the twin images were gone, there might have been larger print.
Selecting the Browse By Musical Style tab, I found grouped choices. E. g. Motown, Soul, Oldies, Beach, and Variety are all together.
Analysis and Research
I chose the musical style at the bottom of the tab: Decade, Tribute, Novelty Acts.
I chose Massachusetts from a menu of states, and got to this screen:
The colors are still washed out. And the print is still too small on my phone, but at least those two images are gone.
I clicked the page for The Real Geniuses and finally found a page that looked good on my phone. I scrolled down and found this:
The FAQ has its own page and its own link (upper right corner of every page), but it’s also on all of the band pages. The placement of the FAQ link does follow the Web Style Guide, but the placement of another copy of the FAQ on every single band page does not.
Furthermore, from a developmental standpoint, placing the FAQ on every page creates a nightmare if the document ever changes. I viewed the page source, and the FAQ doesn’t have a link from somewhere. Instead, the verbiage is in the page itself.
This includes a statement that the offices are in Charlottesville, Virginia. If the offices ever move to, say, Pittsburgh, the webmaster will need to change code on over ten pages, and that’s just for bands that serve Massachusetts.
Between the two sites, Harrison Parrott is better. It’s easy to follow and find what you need. Sam Hill could learn a few things from them.