It’s as-it-says-on-the-tin simple: this week, we want you to DiScuss us. We want your opinions on areas of the site that could be modified, or tweaked, or completely overhauled. We want to know what draws you to the site – perhaps a couple of times a week, maybe once a month, possibly every single day – and what keeps you here. We want information, spoon fed on silver cutlery. We need it in order to develop, to progress, to evolve. As that’s precisely what you see whenever you log onto DiS: evolution in effect. The last six years have seen dozens of changes, the comings and goings of features and facilities; we’re far from the perfect beast just yet.
DrownedinSound.com only really exists because of its readers – we’re only here, at our desks from sun up to sun down, because of you. Yes, that sounds fairly ‘heard it all before’, but really: DiS is as much yours as it is ours. The site’s interactivity is perfect evidence of this. We do value your thoughts and opinions. So give them to us.
Reviews are a vital component of the site’s make-up, but could their presentation be improved? Are you drawn to the lead review in each section – live, singles and albums – only, or do the lists beneath each lead review image also attract your cursor? Do you think that redesigning the front page to accommodate lead-in paragraphs for each album, or each review that we choose to feature, would make you more likely to read the whole piece? Would the front page look better with fewer reviews on it? Would you click through another page, or two, to read reviews of what’s out this week?
Speaking about the front page in slightly broader terms, do you feel it’s a little too busy? Would you like to see it simplified, perhaps prioritising images over text? Would a contents table, where the daily lead feature currently resides, be beneficial? Are there certain features that you’d like to see highlighted a little better, such as interviews? Is our current approach, of using differently styled images in the lead feature box for each new article, an appreciated one, or should the front page always look near enough the same?
News is another key part of DiS. Do you think we cover enough stories, and that there’s enough diversity across the acts we report on? Do you appreciate articles highlighting smaller bands’ tours, or would you rather read our take on the latest Pete Doherty or Michael Jackson nonsense? Is there a balance of the amusing but trivial and the serious and genuinely interesting? Do the stories need to be listed as you see them on the front page now, or would you click through to another page to see the latest headlines?
So far as interactivity goes – the features available to users – what could be improved upon? Are there any additional options for messaging that you’d like to see implemented? Are the gig listings – and release listings – easy to follow, and are we noting enough upcoming events and records? Are you aware of the gig calendar facility, and have you been using it?
Are user reviews a good or bad idea? Have you written any? Do you find this feature a way of gaining a valuable second opinion on a record or gig, or is it too easy for a particular band’s fans to take advantage of the facility, thus generating a series of 10/10 ratings for their mates?
Really, guys and girls, feedback. That’s what we want. Below, a slew of comments criticising the site and kissing it tenderly, slicing off its many ears and tickling its underarms, please. That’d be super-swell fantastic. The writer of the best comment we read below, we’ll send them some stuff. I have lots of stuff on my desk – records, post-it notes with scribbles on them, poorly-drawn pictures of pints of ale, a mug with cold tea in it, badges, stickers, more records. Yeah, stuff.