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The Problem

Over the past few months, Morning Records has gone through a complete corporate makeover in the hopes of increasing sales in the midst of an industrywide slump. The makeover has included everything from changing the corporate logo to signing a completely different genre of artists to creating all new print material. As you can probably guess, part of this makeover also included a complete overhaul of the Morning Records Web site. In the past, revamping the Web site was more a matter of rebranding and design changes than a change in the back-end technology. This time nothing was left untouched, from server platforms to development tools to the end-user experience—everything was affected.

As Web director at Morning Records, I managed the transformation of the Morning Records Web site. The goal of the new site was threefold: (1) supplement the Morning Records brand; (2) create a stable, scalable architecture on the back end; and (3) enhance and provide a unique user experience. Of these three goals, the most important was the third one. Our previous site mainly consisted of boring, passive content with a sparing use of JavaScript for interactivity throughout fairly standard HTML pages. It hadn't evolved much from the first site, which was used primarily as a brochure for Morning Records. The old site provided a good way to get information about the company and a few bands but wasn't seen as a marketing tool and a way to get and retain customers. Although, there were pictures of bands on the old site and a few music samples the site didn't provide a complete integrated experience for the user. In addition, modifications to the site were a tedious process since all of the pages were static.


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