The Fellowship of Form and Function
Tony Anderson describes himself as a sonic architect. Through digital recording and modification, he layers sounds from voice, instrument, and innumerable other sources to construct an experience. His music is more than just audio stimulation, though.
He starts with his own experience, an impression, an emotion. He gives it sound. He adds more sound, further revealing the complexities of the experience. Until he has created not just a song, but a sensation of sound and color and size and texture and temperature.
You may have heard his music in the background of commercials, movies and other video. Companies like Adidas, National Geographic, Facebook and Ford have used his hauntingly hopeful music to stir their audiences.
This is how Tony affords to create for a living. He sells licensing for his music and is commissioned to compose full scores for movies. His art is a product and that product must be sold. So in addition to being an artist, Tony also has to be a businessman.
Tony has to work for his art. And most of that work isn't in the music studio...which is a problem, since the studio is where he wants to be. Just as he finds talented musicians and vocalists to provide the exact sound he needs, so he seeks out experts in other fields to help build his business. That's why he called Midwestern Interactive.
Work smarter, not harder.
Tony wanted to develop a website that would reduce his time spent in business, so he could spend more time in the studio and with clients and artists. He wanted the site to showcase his music, his portfolio and the clients he has worked with. He also wanted potential clients to be able to request licenses through the site itself. Most importantly, he wanted the design to reflect the innovation in his sonic architecture.
When Tony explained what he wanted, a project with high artistic expectations as well as development innovation, we enthusiastically accepted the challenge.
Function Before Form
Midwestern Interactive constructed a responsive site that expedited the business relationship. More than just a pretty place to visit, we made Tony's site a virtual assistant in his business. It represents him and his work, engages viable clientele, collects and organizes pertinent information, and initiates a line of communication.
Streamlined processes and responsive navigation are key to keeping a user satisfied and engaged with the site. The longer they stay and the less they have to figure out, the more likely the client will pursue his work.
When the client enters the site, they know exactly where they are, where they need to go and how to get there. All artistic content is on one continuously scrolling page. A concise, static menu bar allows users to quickly navigate to the section on the page they need at any given moment.
We also allowed the site to speak for Tony and keep the client from finding more information elsewhere. Tony's site reliably supports embedded video of the work he has done with commercials, documentaries, and other videos. The site also spotlights his music available for licensing with a platform that would house SoundCloud's music player. Entire albums are accessible in a streamlined and attractive presentation.
Now that we had the client interacting with the site, they need engage with Tony himself. Midwestern Interactive created a form so client could contact Tony quickly, providing thorough information. This information is stored efficiently for easy reference as Tony and his client go through the licensing process.
Form Because of Function
A template is almost never satisfactory for a websites purpose, and even less so with an artist who wanted his site to reflect his dynamic and innovative music. Midwestern Interactive developed a site that, like Tony's music, developed form out of function.
Using parallax concepts, images in the foreground and background move at different rates and directions, giving the site an element of motion and momentum as well as emulating the layers in his music.
The use of color and image further represents his work as modern and artistic. The site features a black and white scape anchored with muted red. Sleek font and careful use of white space create a clean and modern look.
Photographs feature Tony at work with his equipment, connecting the human creation through technological instruments. Videos are on a two-column grid, giving adequate access to the eye without taking up a lot of space. The SoundCloud players have small details, so they take up a much larger amount of space as one block.
The Home page provides visual and audio impact to convince the user of Tony's quality. The details--pricing, contact form, and blog--are located on separate pages.
Growth and Change
Since Tony's site launched, we continue to test and evaluate it. Were our ideas effective or did they just look cool? Do they help clients become immersed in the business? Or do they create confusion, frustration, static?
It isn't always about what's cool, it's about what works and what works for you.
In time, we realized that though parallax is super cool, it interfered with navigation on the mobile site. Surprisingly, once it was gone, we realized it didn't have the same impact on the smaller screen of mobile devices as it does on desktop versions.
Recently, Tony upgraded to managing his clients through an agent, so his site no longer needed the client intake feature. Instead of simply taking off the licensing request form, we redesigned his site to accommodate the growth in his business.
Technology continues to change the sonic world, creating new sounds, new ways of producing, and new ways of listening. The needs of Tony and his clients change, also. Instead of creating a killer website and leaving it at that, we continue to improve it.
The Creator Behind the Creation
A lot of times we get so caught up in a moment, we neglect to realize the importance of all the little parts that make the moment. In a great commercial, you don't always acknowledge the low music that's building the emotion inside. On an amazing website, sometimes you forget a structure holds up the great color scheme and cool photos.
And if everyone does their job right, you shouldn't notice all the details. When it's done wrong, you notice.
If visitors to your website have even a moment of frustration or confusion or awkwardness, it can mean they leave and never come back. We don't want that from our potential clients, and we don't want it for yours.
When you hire Midwestern Interactive, you are hiring a high-powered web development company to come along side your business and help it grow.