The Only Thing Wrong with the New Myspace is Calling it Myspace
If you told me seven years ago that I would be using my Facebook account to sign into Myspace, I would have punched you in the face. Lo and behold, I got my invite e-mail a couple days ago and immediately followed the link to my new Myspace "profile" and signed in by linking to Facebook. I say "profile" with my proverbial finger quotes because it's not a profile like you would expect to see in a social networking site (thus far, who knows what the future holds), rather more of a personalized account. Calling it the NEW Myspace doesn't preclude potential users from thinking of the old Myspace and wanting to compare it to Facebook. Surprisingly, it seems to be more of a Spotify and Pandora killer. While it does have the framework to link to friends, it is largely a music and art discovery ecosystem (the music side is much more prevalent). So, what's in a name? A lot in this case. Hell, they could have called it anything but Myspace. Whatever, putting that aside and taking a fresh look at it, I have to say that I'm quite impressed. For purposes of this post, I'll work from top to bottom, point out what I like about the UI/UX, and try to keep it short so you can judge for yourself. At the end, I'll give you brief Overall Review Summary (feel free to jump to it, I got a little verbose on this one), but first, here are some screenshots (all appropriate credit to Myspace) that show what I'm speaking to.
The side menu changes content to pertain to the section of the site you are visiting. Discussed below are the options that you will see at your landing page (and can always return to by pressing the "myspace" link in the bottom left of the screen).
While the landing page (Stream) is pretty plain and simple, I have a feeling it will become more relevant as people join the site and interactions start occurring. I'm assuming sort of like a "timeline" with what people are listening to/viewing. For now, it serves its purpose by not distracting you and leading you to view the other features or take a tour. I'll discuss this more later, but until the stream does start to populate, I would have been happy if they just put a fat "Discover" button in the center.
I was really excited to see this; it actually surprised the hell out of me. As you discover material you like and "connect" with, your itunes-like playlists (this is not meant to have a negative or positive connotation) will begin to populate into a chronological history that you can revisit and play. I haven't explored this too far yet, but it seems like they could add some additional ways to display the content instead of just a chronological history. The Library is tabbed into five different categories: Songs, Albums, Videos (awesome!), Mixes, and Photos.
So right now, it's just encouraging me to use the Discover tool to find people to connect with, which is great for general open-format discovery, but I'm wondering if there will also be a portal to connect with your friends (once they also receive their invites). Again, I'll get to the beautiful "Discover" tool in a bit.
Simple, straight-forward, intuitive, and responsive. Everything here that you would expect to find and nothing hidden. As a true test, I tried to figure out how to delete my account and I found the option exactly where I thought it would be with a large blue button. If you have a truly good service, you don't have to trick people into maintaining their profiles so you can pad your vanity user statistics.
BOTTOM CONTROL BAR
Getting to the good stuff!
The always necessary, omni-present home button. This will always take you back to your stream much as the "facebook" button takes you back to your feed. Note that this was a reference for a familiar feature offered in Facebook and not a direct comparison between the two.
Profile and Notifications Center
Click on your name and you are transported to your own beautiful profile (once you load it with a high-res photo for your background). The site is gorgeous...period. Any designer/photographer will greatly appreciate the fact that Myspace has indicated a MINIMUM image size to be uploaded for your background image. This keeps your profile, and more importantly their site, up to a certain graphical standard. The site scrolls sideways instead of up and down which feels very nice (despite not being intuitive for a scroll-wheel on a mouse), especially on a tablet. Scrolling to the right allows you to access your graphic-heavy pinterest-looking "timeline." However, you'll first notice that the background image and timeline are separate elements and scroll simultaneously at different speeds. This is awesome! As far as the timeline goes, you can do the basics that you you would hope to without completely stealing the functionality of Facebook or Pinterest.
Now that I get all the way down here, I suppose I should have started with this. It's my favorite. Then again, maybe it's like a newscast where I save the best story for the last ... or perhaps I want your curiosity to lead you to see for yourself. This is quite possibly one of the best looking and feeling discovery tools I've used. Furthermore, the way it is integrated into the overall experience is fantastic. You find something you want to hear or see, you can immediately begin to do so, then decide if you want to "connect" with it. As you connect with more things, the intelligence built into the system begins to tell you if you have an affinity for other material on the site.
Multimedia Control Bar
All the intuitive controls you need to manipulate your audible/visual experience. When you hover, your current playlist pops-up and you can jump ahead to other songs, or select ones previously played.
OVERALL REVIEW SUMMARY
Big, beautiful images with clean lines and minimal text, a fun and intuitive interface and an incredible discovery system. Additionally, any new conventions introduced were picked-up quickly. Logging-in for a second time and it began to play what I was last listening to; love it. I can totally see it coexisting with Facebook, but some users may choose to switch over completely, and people anti-Facebook may find Myspace very enjoyable. I see it as a solid step forward while drawing some of the best features from Pinterest, Spotify, Pandora, 500px, and yes, Facebook. The best part? I haven't mentioned it thus far (I know, you're not supposed to introduce new content in a conclusion), but the experience on the tablet and desktop are equally pleasant and FAST. Two thumbs up ... and quite literally, the OAR album I was listening to just ended, so it's time to go discover some more music.
Let me know what you think. Agree/disagree?
Note: Don't try to us IE to visit new.myspace.com
or you'll get the following message.
+1 Myspace for my own personal reasons.