I have called this website ‘Zion Dub’ as a tribute to William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel ‘Neuromancer’, which predicted the internet years before its conception and coined the term ‘cyberspace’. I believe it’s only fitting to title the website off a reference to this book considering the ‘Digital Literacies’ class that spawned this site is concerned with modern day society’s integration with, and assimilation of technology, a theme that is prominent in the novel. A more important reason for choosing the title is that even though ‘Neuromancer’ is set way into the future, certain inhabitants of that culture still listen to ‘dub’ – a genre of music that grew out of reggae in the 1960s. This captures the idea that good music, no matter how old, will always be listened to and appreciated by a slice of the population. It is there that the inspiration for this website lies. Its aim is to expose more people to the goldmine of music that was created in the decade of 1968-1978. The music reviewed will consist mainly of the genres blues, blues-rock, jazz, progressive rock, jazz-fusion, and reggae/dub, and will contain a combination of well-known artists and bands, such as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, and also more obscure bands such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Soft Machine.
Below is my original list of fifteen development criteria for making this website. I believe I have satisfied all of them.
- Organise content using meta tags and use this to make searching for site content easier, and also to aid with search engine optimisation.
- Use a layout that displays thumbnails of each article as it is visually pleasing and allows one to see a lot more articles with a quick glance – cuts back on scrolling. Thumbnails provide visual cues that make it easier to identify which article you’d like to see.
- Choose a bright colour to contrast with the main content, just like WordPress has done with the blue contrasting with white. This will help make the site more visually appealing by eliminating unnecessary white space.
- Include a drop down menu that lets you easily navigate through all the site’s content, as well as an about page to let visitors understand what the site is about.
- Add a search bar to make it easier to find specific content.
- Use a picture for the home page to add visual aesthetic and also to aid in branding/site identity; visitors will come to recognise and associate the image with the site. In an effort to make the new site different from my current one I will choose a smaller image and not display it as a banner.
- For the site content focus purely on album reviews, this is to make the site consistent with a theme and therefore appeal to a specific audience. Having a site with too big a range of content makes it cluttered and more difficult to know what the site is really about.
- Use a black text on gray background as this is easier on the eyes.
- Include excerpts of whole articles, with a ‘more’ tag at the bottom so you can choose to read the whole article on a separate page by clicking it. Doing this allows you to display more articles on the home page and makes the layout look a lot more tight and organised.
- Incorporate a star rating system out of 5 stars to show others at a quick glance how good or bad the album is.
- For each review use a picture of the album cover as its thumbnail, this adds to the visual aesthetic as it balances out the text with a nice image to text ratio.
- Focus reviews on late 60s and 70s rock, but also branch out to similar genres such as progressive rock, blues, jazz and jazz fusion. Write in depth reviews that include descriptions of each track on the album.
- Have each album review feature on its own separate page, viewable by either clicking on the thumbnail for the album artwork, or the ‘more’ tag after the review excerpt on the home page.
- Include reviews of rock concerts and documentaries as this adds another element to the music review concept.
- Make the home page image rectangular and put it in the top left hand corner, which satisfies the criteria for not having the image as a banner like on pimpfreud.com, my book review website. This is because I want to make this new site visually distinct from my current one.
- Use YouTube videos in album reviews to showcase either the entire album, individual songs, or live performances, so the site visitor can hear the music for themselves whilst reading the review. Doing so also helps eliminate the problem of having a text heavy website. By including both images and videos amongst the text, visitors are more likely to be engaged for longer and less likely to leave the site before finishing the review.
Michael Cunningham 9552758
“And he woke again, thinking he dreamed, to a wide white smile framed with old incisors, Aerol strapping him into a g-web in Babylon Rocker.
And then the long pulse of Zion dub.”
~ Neuromancer by William Gibson