MyPipes.org, a website selling organ mp3s, did not impress me the first time I visited. Now that the site actually has content, my impressions haven't really changed.
The site looks cluttered, the graphics have an 80's sheen, and all the text is too small.
The photos are all poorly chosen. From the banner image at the top to the oddly cropped images of CD photography (one presumes?), everything looks sort of thrown together.
Part of the blame here must lie in the site's concept: getting away from the CD. Zarex is somehow under the misapprehension that to confuse the mp3 files available on the site with the CDs from which they come would be detrimental to sales. This is absurd. I would never have listened to these excerpts anywhere else, and was frustrated that links to the CDs from which they come are not provided.
The buttons for manipulating each product are needlessly cumbersome and redundant. "Download to cart" one button says. "Listen 30"" says another. And these appear for every file (and they don't even work well -- see below). As a site offering mp3s for sale, users are going to expect to be able to listen to exerpts of files before purchasing. This doesn't need to be explained with so much text. A few universal symbols would suffice.
I must have clicked on "Listen to 30"" about six times before I realized that my browser was blocking a popup. How annoying. And when I did hear it, I was sure it didn't play the whole way through, but then I realized that someone did a remarkably poor job of fading out the excerpt the way online music perveyors have known to do for years.
And I must have clicked on "Download to cart" about six times before I realized that on the opposite side of the screen, in a red box viewable only by scrolling down, was an indication that had "1 item" in my cart. How anti-user.
The phraseology "Download to cart" presents its own set of problems. What am I doing when I click this button? Am I actually downloading the file? Or am I just tagging that file to be downloaded later, say when I hand over my credit card information?
Occasionally, by clicking on the title bar, I was able to get the site to tell me "There are currently no tracks available. Please try again at a later date."
I would love to try again, especially if Zarex would just put these up on iTunes. They would spend a lot less on MyPipes.org, and I'll wager that a lot more of their organ music would be purchased too.
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