In 2005 Myspace was by far the biggest social media player on the web and Facebook was only a year old. How times have changed. There’s no question that the new Myspace is undeniably beautiful, but where is all the hype?
The new Myspace is surprising. Not just for it’s ground-breaking and beautiful redesign, nor it’s clever use of connections and content management but also for the lack of hype surrounding it’s release. Granted, it is currently in the Beta stage, but I’ve seen enough to be impressed already, and I have to say I’m already hooked. A while ago they released this promotional video to announce their coming design and it is genuinely impressive.
I can understand the hesitation concerning ANOTHER redesign of Myspace, but we must not forget that Myspace built it’s success on the back of music. Although it seems a world away when Facebook was starting out, for all it’s success, it still has no feet firmly in the world of music – the likes of which Myspace has a giant 53 Million tracks to this day. What has changed since then is the introduction of Spotify, a partly paid-for downloadable app that streams a large library of music.
The question is, what sets apart a website from a downloadable paid-for service like Spotify? The life-giving hand of design genius, that’s what. If the new service is at all poorly designed then it risks becoming a bother and thus losing out to the competition.
Audibly the new service is seamless, working across tabbed browsers and refreshes. The footer music bar retains play position and creates playlists easily, with “add to queue” functions available across the site. The first thing that is really noticeable is the brave layout. With a focus on the bottom of the browser for music and links, most content is then viewed horizontally which I have yet to see accomplished nearly as well as they do here.
Cleverly, connections between people and artists work two way. Symbolised by overlapping circles, a one way connection keeps you updated about a person/band and if they connect back to you then you can send personal messages. The personal messaging and sharing functions are then so easy to use that someone like me – with an aversion to sharing online – is not so put off by the idea. I might go as far as to say I might actually enjoy it when it’s this good looking.
Full of tempered, subtle design touches like parallax and sliding animations – this really is the best of the best when it comes to designing for the web. There’s a delicate balance here between uniformity and a welcoming attitude to customisation and sharing content. Even where content is lacking, the site still manages to avoid looking ugly or empty which is no mean feat. This remember, is where Myspace lost it’s edge to Facebook originally – with custom design gone wild: gifs and background-tracks running rampant with your browser. This is quite the opposite, the new Myspace is smart with a capital S and after exploring the new layout, I am convinced that Myspace is on the way to retaining a place for music streaming that does not involve Spotify.