For my website analysis, I chose to critique the website of my favorite band, the Dave Matthews Band. Unfortunately, while my love for the band extends back well over ten years, it only took me five to ten minutes of navigating through the site to be thoroughly disappointed with the design and setup. I was surprised at how poorly constructed the site is for such a popular recording artist, and that I had not previously noticed these shortcomings in my many previous visits to the site. The site is not a total disaster however, and I will discuss some of the strengths of the design as well as the purposes of the site and how they are executed, before analyzing the reasons why I feel it could be set up much more efficiently.
The Dave Matthews Band website is designed primarily to promote the band, its music, its future concerts, and related merchandise, such as CDs and clothing. The site certainly accomplishes this goal in a myriad of ways, with multiple links and advertisements on the home page that connects the user to a variety of options, such as purchasing CDs, viewing tour photos, and following band members on social networks such as Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. The second function of the site is to provide information to the visitors. Once again, this is also accomplished successfully, as the site provides links to all sorts of information from the history of the band, to future tour dates and information on how to purchase tickets, and including every CD the band has released with a list of its respective tracks.
The links to access the promotional and informative parts are both located along the top of the home page, as well as in a colorful wall of squares that dominate the front page of the site. Any user that visits the site, from the most diehard fan to the casual listener can learn just about every pertinent detail about the band they might want to know, and the site masterfully promotes the band and their music at every turn with bright and colorful links and advertisements enticing the user to purchase merchandise.
The successful execution of the primary objectives of the website are not the only positive features. The band’s music is primarily bright and vibrant, and the visual design of the site reflects the aura of the music well through bright eye-catching colors. The links along the top of the home page are highlighted in a bright red, and the wall of colorful advertisements and photos are set off nicely against the dimly lit background of the page, which depicts a beautiful night sky at dusk over an expansive green field. This is the background for every page on the site, and it works very well in the sense that it is both very aesthetically pleasing without overtaking, or distracting from the primary content.
If the visitor chooses to navigate through the website using the links along the top of the page, the site can be very user friendly. In particular, the “News”, “History”, and “Band” pages utilize a light block with straightforward black type that makes it easy to read these informational sections of the website without being distracted by fancy fonts, or loud backgrounds. Conversely, the more interactive sections of the site, such as “Sights” and “Sounds”, use a different, creative approach to flipping through photographs and albums. In particular, the “Sights” page is creatively designed so that the user is flipping through photos and videos hanging from a clothesline. The “Sounds” page is also well designed; the user can scroll through every album the band has produced, and as each album is highlighted, a drop down menu appears with the list of tracks and information on that album.
The other subpages are also mostly designed well. The “Bamaworks” page follows the other informational pages design in listing the different charitable organizations that the fund supports. Meanwhile, the “Tour” page follows the creative design of the other interactive pages, with maps containing markers for all the cities on the tours above a listing of the tour dates, venues, and ticket sale dates. However, the “Road”, “DMB Live”, and “Warehouse” pages all open up in separate browser windows, which are different from the rest of the site, and the Store link is not even functional from the home page, but only in these other windows. These problems are just a few of the design flaws in the site.
Along with the nuisance of having to close extra windows when using certain links, the site is very inefficient in that it offers multiple avenues to access identical information. While the home page’s bright color design is eye catching, most of the wall of advertising is unnecessary and distracting. When the user first accesses the home page, the wall of squares dominates the field of vision and distracts the visitor from the primary, and much more user friendly, links at the top of the page. The beautiful background design is totally obscured by what seems like clutter unless you maximize the page. It also mostly contains information that could be stored in other sections of the site in order to streamline it and make it less repetitive. The various links to all the social networking sites can also be found on the Links page, and the news and tour dates also have their own dedicated homes in other locations on the site. The news can be found yet again on the Warehouse page.
However it is one of the successfully executed aims of the site that is also its biggest distraction. The barrage of advertising, not only on the home page, but also on various subpages, is overwhelming to say the least. The website certainly accomplishes promotion but the site’s design suffers from the excessive way in which that goal is achieved. Particularly for a band with this degree of popularity, their mostly well-designed site should not sacrifice aesthetics and functionality for heavy-handed promotion.
In conclusion, I found the Dave Matthews Band website, while creatively designed, to be superfluous and inefficient in many ways. However, with the simple elimination of the clutter of ads, and the streamlining of other information to make it less repetitive, this site has the potential to be easily improved and much more user friendly.
(n.d.). (PROD) Retrieved from DAVE MATTHEWS BAND I HOME: http://www.davematthewsband.com