Hands on with the new Myspace – What’s new, what’s old, how does it compare to Facebook?
I have been pretty pumped about Myspace’s re-hash since I saw the video that came out a few months ago. I immediately signed up, hoping to be one of the first to use it. Well, last night my invite for the new Myspace arrived! Here are my initial thoughts and reactions.
The new layout is about as clean as it gets. What I immediately noticed was that they have reduced all the typical distractions of a website like headers, footers, sidebars so that you can focus on the task at hand. This make the signup process seem less daunting and actually a little fun!
It seems odd, or actually maybe not in the modern web, but you are also able to sign-in with Twitter, Facebook or even your old Myspace ID. I opted to start fresh and just make an account the old-school way.
I’m running the new Myspace on the latest version of Chrome on OSX Lion and this thing runs smooth like butter. The first thing I noticed was how smooth and clean all the transitions are. The whole thing also feels really unique and fresh which gave it huge points for me.
This is the first page you see when you login to the new Myspace. There is a persistent navigation bar floating to the top left which stays with you pretty much through your entire visit. They also hook you up with a few tips in nice big bold letters so you’re not stuck wondering where to go from here.
Too the right side you’ll see the stream. At first I thought this was just going to be a rehash of the Pinterest board or Facebook timeline but I was dead wrong. First off, instead of the typical web paradigm of scrolling from top to bottom, Myspace opted to go in the opposite direction (literally) with horizontal scrolling. I love this idea because it really takes advantage of your screen real-estate. Since nearly all desktop monitors and laptop screens are using a landscape orientation, it only makes sense that we would use the largest dimension of the monitor when scrolling.
I understand that some of these techniques might not be completely original. Wearehunted has taken advantage of the horizontal layout for a while, Pinterest is the service that made pinboards cool, Windows popularized the clean solid colored tile look and apps like path paved the way for timelines and cover photos. However, I think the cleverness lies in Myspace’s tasteful implementation. Myspace managed to make their new interface feel fresh and clean and not just a rehash of already-done techniques.
The new profile is super slick and certainly feels like the natural evolution of the popular cover photo concept. It allows you to feature a huge image front and center along with a profile photo. There’s even some fancy easing as you scroll which gives the interface even more of a unique feel.
The profile also flows directly into your timeline to the right. When you start scrolling the whole thing slides to the left and reveals a wall featuring all your latest updates.
Overall I love the approach. It gives you the feeling of a customized presence on the site without heading down the rabbit-hole of complete profile customization (something Myspace is all too familiar with).
Where’s the header?
It also seems that Myspace has opted to steer clear of the typical top header paradigm and go instead with a persistent footer (likely another cue from wearehunted). The footer gives you access to your profile, notifications and messages. There is also a Discovery button which takes you to a custom tailored stream of content highlighting things like movies, music, art, pretty much whatever you tell myspace that you are into.
Emphasis on music
Myspace has always been a place to post and discover music but had lost it’s appeal over the years. This new version is a clear attempt at revamping their image into more than just a place for your friend’s crappy band to promote their self-recorded debut album.
Along with the discovery tab you can also rock out to Myspace radio. Found a great new jam? Pin it to your latest status update or even set it as your profile song!
There is also a persistent player docked at the bottom of the new Myspace which lets the music follow you around no matter where you are. Any time you click “play” it will add this song to that bottom bar.
Long live top friends!
And much to my surprise Myspace still let’s users showcase their top friends.
My favorite thing about the new Myspace is the way you search. No matter what page you are on all you have to do is start typing. The page is immediately transformed to this handy search interface!
Hitting escape, clicking the x in the top right or clicking away from the search results takes you right back to whatever you are doing.
This is one of the many techniques which helps to keep the new Myspace’s interface squeaky clean, although there is still a tiny little search button docked near the player at the bottom, just incase you prefer a more old-school approach.
My 2nd favorite thing is the way connections are visualized on the new Myspace. Two open circles means you are not connected, a single filled in circle means only one person is connected to the other and both circles filled in means you are both connected.
This may seem like a small detail but it’s little things like these that make the new Myspace feel fresh and fun!
Overall I am extremely impressed with the new Myspace so far. Unfortunately, since last night I haven’t been able to connect with anyone else who was sent an invite so my current use has been a bit limited. I’ll share my updated thoughts and feelings as the service starts to pick up and I have the opportunity to really start using it as a social network.
And as far as Facebook is concerned, all I can say is that in a era where internet speeds are no longer a bottleneck and Internet Explorer has become a half-way competent browser, Facebook is going to be forced to start pushing the bar with their user experience or, in a surprising yet poetic twist of fate, they may just become the barren wasteland that Myspace once was. And after 30 minutes of playing around with the new Myspace, Facebook felt to me like an old clunky website from 1998
Thanks a lot for reading! What do you think about the new Myspace? Do you agree with my POV are do you think I’m just flat out wrong? Let me know in the commented section below!