AltSounds: Branding, Experience, Web & Mobile
First things first, open up altsds.co in a new browser window right now so you can experience as you read!
AltSounds is one of R¡OT’s longest running websites, being founded by Chris “MUG5” Maguire in April 2004. AltSounds has been through various iterations and guises in its lifetime (you can read more about the AltSounds history here). 2017 sees R¡OT giving AltSounds a whole new lick of New York City inspired paint.
Starting from the ground up, we took AltSounds back to its roots, changing up the logo identity and branding style guide. We gave AltSounds a sleek, contemporary, modern and minimal sheen – the image below shows the first finished image we did as part of the re-branding, that incorporated the new logo design and associated color scheme.
We changed the URL to be the shortest it can possibly be while still being natural for the visitor (altsds.co). We added a URL shortener feature that allows us to offer ultra minimal URL’s for all our videos. Custom, colorful and beautifully blurred backgrounds help every single page of AltSounds to feel unique from a design perspective. This is particularly fun when experienced in the DISCOVER section, or when experiencing AltSounds via the individual video listening / watching experience.
As can be seen from one of the many promo images we created as part of the new AltSounds branding above, the color palette is dark, with lots of blacks, dark grays and one main, gorgeous, almost neon accent color to allow the pieces we want to pop, when we want them too! We developed new experiences to allow the site to function smoothly on BOTH desktop and mobile – something AltSounds had been sorely slacking on prior, with our previous mobile experience being non existent. The DISCOVER section was birthed from the need to have a mobile experience for AltSounds, but has since become a useful tool for deeper discovery, and for delving into the vast AltSounds database further regardless of what device you’re on. The MacBook Pro mockup above demonstrates what the new discover section of AltSounds looks like on desktop. Click the image to experience it for yourself!
We introduced moods as a means of choosing what sort of music you want to experience at that moment in time. We realize that not everyone likes all styles of music so you can use the MOODS to narrow down the listening scope sometimes. The previous genre based channels were shown as the full screen computer based experience. As DISCOVER needed genres to function correctly we decided to focus on our main desktop experience being based around MOODS now instead of CHANNELS. A nice selection of custom MOODS allows listeners to pick and chose the many different ways they can interact with the AltSounds database.
We ensured that for the first time AltSounds is a completely secure browsing experience with every URL being served up https://.
During the development period of AltSounds V4 we began curating custom playlists that showcase the very best music available on AltSounds. Each playlist is based on the listening habits of a quarter of a year, with new playlists being released four times a year. AltSounds also now has the option to invite people to curate custom playlists and take this whole section further, something we will be developing further in the coming months. We spent many months crafting the selections for each of the AltSounds playlists and this shows in the quality of the musical output contained within each. We topped this all off further by offering a random shuffle across all playlists too!
There are a bunch of other cool features like channel pages, artist pages, director pages etc that allow you to search or see the most popular channels, bands and directors videos (just click the word links under the video on the full screen experience), keyboard navigation on the fullscreen experience to allow you to skip to the next video simply. There is also a re-designed thumbnail browser for the fullscreen experience that includes artist, song and director information etc. You can click these at any time to change the video playing and AltSounds will continue dishing you up new music once your selection is over.
Finally, from an on-going perspective we are working very hard on growing a loyal social following that consume music via AltSounds because of the quality they have come to expect from AltSounds.
If ever you ask yourself, “what should I listen to or watch?” then simply open AltSounds in a new browser window and let AltSounds decide for you.
If you use DISCOVER and ensure AltSounds is the active tab in whatever window it is in, we can now deliver you almost endless music as we move you on to another piece of music automatically when one has finished. Our fullscreen MOODS experiences are limited to 25 songs which equates to 2-3 hours of play time before you’ll get a repeat. That’s the sole purpose of AltSounds, to help people discover both great music and astonishing film making in the simplest, most interaction-less experience.
We’re really proud of our work here and hope you guys share our enthusiasm. AltSounds is as much a display of great film makers as it is the best music in the world, allowing us to stay true to our love of art across all mediums, while helping showcase only best art we discover as we explore.