Pretty Lights? Let’s talk about pretty sites!

Greetings free-media lovers! 

So, I’ve been thinking about the structure of my web site, and I’m obsessed with the concept of a full website on one web page, like Interview Magazine’s page, but I found a site that accomplishes this in an extrememly interactive way:

Pretty Lights is an electronic hip hop artist/code artist that basically uses his web site as a platform to “sell” his music.  I say sell in quotations because like Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Pretty Lights offers his music for free (donations accepted), claiming all interested net-users as his audience.  He is a great example of how the media industry can function in the digital world with free distribution, but also gain financial success through festivals and fan bases built from the simple formula for real capitalism:  a good product and a way to get that product into the public eye.  Pretty Lights’ catch is his web site, which the viewer can explore in a nondistracting way.

My favorite part about the site is the way the links are set up in relation to the layers of art in the background that move according to where you hover your mouse.  The layers add depth to the site, and the tree and lamp posts, jutting out from the center, provide a vertical eyeline that balances the page, dividing it into two.  The links then shoot horizontally across the site.  When the viewer clicks the link, not only does the button shift color according to the tri-color scheme, but it drops down to show the page underneath.  This site is an interactive piece of art.  The surfer never has to leave the page if he or she doesnt’t want to, and all the site’s important information is easy to navigate, seamlessly floating down in front of your very eyes. 

Now when I looked at this page, I assumed the code would be a billion pages long of complex elements that I didn’t understand, but the souce code is short, and utilizes ShockwaveFlash to create an interactive experience.  I’m fascinated by this type of layout and find animation on web pages (if it’s done right), a great way to bring the viewer into the site.  Even the right eyeline can jar a web page surfer out of the monotonous experience of clicking through one-dimensional web sites.  It also helps that said web site offers tons of music with album art that you can flip through like iTunes… except that it’s all free.


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