The Absolute Peach is an Internet Comedy Podcast based in England. The show has a website that acts as a portal for different episodes of the show among other things.
I’m going to review this in my ordinary fashion, with my initial experience fully written followed by my suggestions for improvement at the end of the post.
The Front Page
Almost immediately, I know that I’m browsing the website for an “Internet Radio Show” thanks to a very prominent banner at the top left of the page. The style of everything compliments the idea that this is an entertaining comedy podcast: there is a laughing peach wearing headphones, the “Original. Funny. Free.” text, even the color scheme fits the mood.
The first thing I take notice to aside from the banner is a button on the right of the site that says “Listen Now“. It’s strong in contrast, and sticks out slightly from the rest of the site. Being an Internet Talk show, I imagine this is probably the most important call to action on the page. If so, it probably deserves more attention than it already has.
For some reason, I’m just not drawn to click this button. If I came to the site knowing that I was looking to listen to the podcast, this works perfectly—otherwise I see no real benefit for listening to their show quite yet.
The navigation is directly below the banner and “Listen Now” button, but I skip over it and move straight to the heading for the latest… post? Or is this the latest Episode? It’s clearly an episode, but I find it strange how it’s formatted as if this is a blog. Ideally, I imagine the front page of an Internet Radio Show to have a big “Listen Now” button (check), a brief description that explains the reason I should be listening, and a way to listen to the latest episode. However, the site seems to be a radio show in a blog’s outfit.
I’m not trying to make a case against using a blogging platform to host an Internet Radio Show, I just think it’s important to format and arrange the content in a way viewers will find most useful. Perhaps I’m wrong and the current layout converts quite well, but I imagine that a simple change to the display of the most recent show would get A Lot more people to give it a quick listen: A Play Button.
Where to Discuss, And Why Blog?
When I click the title of the episode right now, I’m directed to a blog post page with no unique content aside from an area for comments. This is strange, because there is a link to discuss in the post that leads me to The Absolute Peach Forums. This brings two questions to mind:
- Where should I be talking about the episodes? On the Forums, or in the post?
- If the discussion is in the forums (which is where it seems to be), do the individual posts serve any purpose whatsoever?
Right now the individual posts just don’t add any value to the content. There is no new information that I didn’t see on the front page. Once again, it feels like the radio show is trying to be a blog.
The Search Bar
The search bar is placed nicely, and works pretty well, but the standard value for it (“series 4“) is a bit confusing. I think it would make more sense to have it read “Search”, or simply leave it empty.
It’s not confusing to me, but it’s a waste of time when I have to highlight the current text to search for something myself. There is always the chance that it could confuse users though: Maybe you’re only able to search for different series?
Subscribe to The Absolute Peach
The Absolute Peach does a great job with their subscription options. They are clear, have easily recognizable visual cues, and they all work just how I’d expect them too. They have 3 methods users can subscribe by including iTunes, RSS, and Email, which are probably the three most common ways to receive latest episodes of podcasts.
While certainly not a necessity, I can’t see the harm in adding a small link below the subscription options that explains the benefits of subscribing to a podcast. This really applies to any kind of subscription on websites that may have a large group of non-tech-savvy users: Not everyone is familiar with podcasts, or feeds for that matter. Having a simple page that explains why it’s good to subscribe might help viewers who are frightened to try something new.
I see TAPAS several times on the page, but I never actually click it. It’s not that I don’t know what it is (Which is true, I don’t) but I’m not interested in trying to figure it out.
This sort of goes back to the idea of keeping conventions in a way. If someone were to see “Bonus Content & Merchandise,” they would immediately know what it meant, and understand the benefit of visiting that page. If a user sees something they’re not familiar with, they probably won’t use it.
The Absolute Peach seems to work very well for repeat viewers, but could certainly use a few changes to hook in new listeners. Someone familiar with the site will have no problem connecting with the most recent content, but a new viewer may not feel inclined to listen whatsoever… something essential for building a larger audience. These are just a few suggestions that may improve the sites overall user experience:
- Make the “Listen Now” button just a bit bigger, and communicate a clear benefit to listening to the show so that more people will listen. There are lots of podcasts, and people don’t have lots of time. What makes The Absolute Peach worth their time?
- Make the structure of content feel like a Radio Show instead of a blog. Just because a site is powered by a blogging platform doesn’t mean the site has to feel like a blog.
- The Search Bar is just a bit confusing with the default value. It may be wise to change the default text to “Search” or simply remove it altogether.
- Having a play button near the different episodes under “Recent Shows” would probably make it much easier for a user to quickly listen to a certain episode.
- There are a lot of options in the navigation menu. It’s not difficult, but are they really all worthy of primary navigation placement? Could “TAPAS”, “MySpace”, “Wiki”, and perhaps even “Subscribe” be somewhere else to give the other links a bit more prominence?