Fresh starts are always exciting, aren’t they? Well, I am really excited about this new fresh start for CerebralAudio!
There have been a number of features that I wanted to have in the old CerebralAudio that just weren’t possible because of the way the label was integrated into The CerebralRift. In fact, I would say that the old site showed very little planning on my behalf. I kept thinking “I wish I had thought about…”. Well, now I have had a chance to re-design the site in a new home, and it incorporates a lot of those thoughts. Let me take a quick walk through a few of the features of the new site.
Starting from the top of the Homepage, the first thing you will notice is (1) list of links to social media sites. This makes it easy to find CerebralAudio in many locations around the web.
Below this is the main menu. Notice several entries we did not have previously, including (2) Music and Artists. These two entries are really big features: Music takes you to a page where the music is placed in sections by style, so now you can find all the Ambient, Classical, Experimental releases by looking at a single page, instead of having to look at each release:
The Artist page takes you to an index of (you guessed it) artists. Select an artist, and you are taken to a page listing all the releases by that artist.
Below the main menu is the new (3) slide show featuring the wide versions of a number of release covers. A bit of visual candy for visitors unfamiliar with the site. 🙂
The majority of the page is divided into categories of releases: Freshest of the Freshest, Most Popular, We Recommend, Ambient/Anthologies/Classical/Electronic/Experimental/Minimal
The primary purpose of most of these sections is highlight four releases from the site. The Freshest highlights the eight newest releases over the site, while eacj style section (ie, Ambient/Classical/etc.) highlight the four newest releases in each style.
Music and Artist Pages
Above is a quick shot of what the new Music page looks like.
Above is a quick screenshot of the new Artists page.
Release Page Part One
Probably the biggest set of features is on the release pages. There are so many subtle changes it is going to take several screenshots to illustrate all the features of the pages.
The above image illustrates the major features of the release page. First we have a new image slide show (1) which displays front and back covers, and can be magnified, or pulled up full screen. Below that we have (2) the embedded player for the release. In this image we are embedding the HearThis.at player, but that is not the only player available. More images below. Next we have our pricing area (3). Notice that if there is a minimum price, the “From: X.XX” is displayed all the time. When you select a version of a release to add to your cart, you are shown the suggested price, minimum price, and given the option to Name Your Price. Finally, below the pricing area is the detailed information area (4). In this area the artist, release date, catalog number, CC License and additional information are all listed. Some of the items are linked to Artist and Contributor profiles (although we are still working on the profiles).
I suggested that number 2 above had some other players, let’s take a quick look.
We’ve added support for the Internet Archive player as some releases will not be distributed to other locations, like the Samples and STEMs releases.
Support for SoundCloud has been added to the site. As you will note, this isn’t the typical version of the SoundCloud player that you see embedded on other sites. We’ve taken some time to go through and strip away all the un-necessary clutter from the user interface to make it really sleek-looking. (Given that the artwork for the release is right above the player, who needs another set of images?)
Release Page Part Two
Continuing from where we left off in Release Page Part One we have the tabbed section with the Description of the release, and Reviews of the release, and another custom feature:
The Also On tab is a new implementation of a feature from the old website. I had gone through all the releases and built a table of 12-13 locations for each of the releases on the site. The old version was a hand-created line of links on the release page which was painful to manage. So, for the new website, I found a way to semi-automate the creation of the links on the tab. In fact, it was the wish to make this feature easier to support that lead to much of the custom features found throughout the new site.
A quick aside: notice the You may also like… above. Normally this is just a “Related Items” section — however in some instances there will be the You may also like… section, which is hand-picked releases that may be of interest — typically in by the same artist, or related by style.
What’s In Your Cart?
On the old website it was painful to see what was in your cart. Now when you add an item to your cart you get a clear message stating it has been added. Before you had to either scroll to the top or bottom of the page, or go to the cart page itself. Now the contents of your cart is on the right hand site of the page. The cart is clearly available on most of the pages throughout the site (except on pages like Homepage, News, Profiles and a handful of others).
Saving The Best for Last
One of the worst things about the old website was the lack of direct navigation, ie, the ability to see all the releases from an artist that interests you, or to see other releases in a related style. That has been addressed on the new website with the Shop sidebar. Now you can jump directly to a page that lists all the Ambient releases, or releases by Scott Lawlor, etc. This feature, along with the Music and Artist pages make it extremely easy to navigate the site, and get to anything that you want to look at with as few clicks as possible.
I hope you have enjoyed this overview of the New CerebralRift website. This guide is not all-inclusive. There are quite a few more features that aren’t covered in this guide, and quite a few features that were carried over mostly un-changed from the old site (like the Newsletter sign up form). There are also things that are still in the process of being worked on at this point, a quick list:
- Profiles. Those are probably the most time-consuming item, and are going to benefit from some major customization.
- The News section. You are reading this article in the news section, but it’s pretty stock at this point. It will get an overhaul to make it fit better with the rest of the site.
- Press room. Another section that will be completely custom.
- Google and Facebook integration.
- More payment options.
- And some more new features that I want to leave as a surprise.
We’ll announce new features as they are completed on the CerebralAudio Twitter feed and Facebook pages. Also, we’ll be starting to post new releases fairly soon…start looking for announcements on them. This year is promising to be bigger than the first two years put together.