Follow me on social media

Facebook is my main news hub where I share upcoming releases, gigs, photos, videos, and blogs. Typically, I post 3–5 times a week.

Telegram and Twitter duplicate what I post on Facebook, with occasional extra content.

On Vkontakte, I write in the Russian language for my fans out of from Russia and CIS.

I also upload vlogs and gigs videos on YouTube and share travel photos, selfies, and studio routine on Instagram.

7 posts tagged

Design

Web design, product design, graphic design, user interfaces, and everything related.

An easy fix that would make iTunes better

I’m using iTunes for about six years now. It keeps my DJ music collection nice and organized and works as a central hub for all the music and podcasts.

Organizing music library

But it has one major flaw.

In electronic music, very often there are more than one producer stands behind the song, it’s called collaboration. The problem is there is no way to show this properly in iTunes. As the result, the “Artists” view looks like this: 

What does “feat.”, “vs.” and “pres.” means

“Artists” view in iTunes is messed up

Look at the middle column. There are “Ace Ventura & Darma”, “Ace Ventura & Freedom Fighters”, “Ace Ventura & Lifeforms” etc, all as a separate entity in the library. This mean if I would want to listen to the entire collection of tracks I have from Ace Ventura, I can’t just do this from the “Artists” view because half of his tracks are collaborations with other artists. And it pisses me off.

This happens because iTunes has only one “Artist” field with a single string of text:

Currently, “Artist” field is a plain text which doesn’t work for multiple artists

And here is a simple way to fix this: just turn artist names into “tags”. Like this:

Suggestion: make artist names as tags. Excuse my designer’s skills, I know it could be better. This is just a demonstration of the idea.

This way we could add multiple artists and finally browse songs properly in the “Artists” view.

I hope Apple will implement this someday, luckily significant changes in the UI are not required.

2016   Design   iTunes

Website 4.5

A huge update for mobile users

cover transparent white

I’ve been in the music business for 5 years and know for certain that I will continue pursuing the passion for music production for the rest of my life. For me, this is a journey, not a destination.

People keep asking why I care about my website so much and spend hours tweaking and improving it. Well, it’s quite simple: I want to have a perfect place to log all of my career accomplishments while giving the visitors and the fans the best user experience. And the same as with my music, I’m doing my best in this field.

Website 4.5
Website 4.0
Website 3.0
Website 2.0

Today, I’m excited to introduce the new 4.5 version of the website with huge improvements for mobile users. It’s not just desktop and mobile templates, it so much bigger than that. The whole website adapts and changes its layout to help you focus on the content, whether you’re using a large desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or a smartphone. It almost as if the website is alive and it’s absolutely fantastic.

I would also like to highlight some important changes in the «Advice» section. Every week I answer the questions you send me on various topics, from music production to music industry insights — basically, that’s how the «Advice» works. I sincerely want you to find these blogs useful for years to come. The problem was, each time new posts came out, the older ones would go down, blocking new users from discovering useful articles.

From now on “Advice” section has spotlights — fixed places for the most important articles, grouped by topics: music production, DJ’ing, marketing, music industry, and the special «Getting started spotlight» for newcomers. But no worries, all other posts are still there and available as usual.

It should help you find relevant articles much easier, whether you are a first-time visitor or a follower. I think it’s a nice little feature. Do you?

There are more cool little updates across the whole website, but I’ll leave them for you to discover.

Welcome here: daniellesden.com

2016   Design   My websites and blog

Getting real

“Getting Real” by 37signals is an amazing book that I’ve just read, and I very recommend it whether you are an entrepreneur, web developer, or music producer like myself.

“While this book’s emphasis is on building a web app, a lot of these ideas are applicable to non-software activities too. The suggestions about small teams, rapid prototyping, expecting iterations, and many others presented here can serve as a guide whether you’re starting a business, writing a book, designing a web site, recording an album, or doing a variety of other endeavors. Once you start Getting Real in one area of your life, you’ll see how these concepts can apply to a wide range of activities.”

“Getting Real” is available on Amazon as well as a free web version.

I’d like to put some of my favorite quotes here in this post.

  • A great way to build software is to start out by solving your own problems. You’ll be the target audience and you’ll know what’s important and what’s not. That gives you a great head start on delivering a breakout product. The key here is understanding that you’re not alone. If you’re having this problem, it’s likely hundreds of thousands of others are in the same boat. There’s your market. Wasn’t that easy? When you solve your own problem, you create a tool that you’re passionate about. And passion is key. Passion means you’ll truly use it and care about it. And that’s the best way to get others to feel passionate about it too.
  • If your app doesn’t excite you, something’s wrong. If you’re only working on it in order to cash out, it will show. Likewise, if you feel passionately about your app, it will come through in the final product. People can read between the lines.
  • Here’s an easy way to launch on time and on budget: keep them fixed. Never throw more time or money at a problem, just scale back the scope. There’s a myth that goes like this: we can launch on time, on budget, and on scope. It almost never happens and when it does quality often suffers. If you can’t fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don’t expand the time and budget. Instead, pull back the scope. There’s always time to add stuff later — later is eternal, now is fleeting.
  • The more massive an object, the more energy is required to change its direction. It’s as true in the business world as it is in the physical world. When it comes to web technology, change must be easy and cheap. If you can’t change on the fly, you’ll lose ground to someone who can. That’s why you need to shoot for less mass.
  • For the first version of your app, start with only three people. That’s the magic number that will give you enough manpower yet allow you to stay streamlined and agile. Start with a developer, a designer, and a sweeper (someone who can roam between both worlds).
  • Differentiate yourself from bigger companies by being personal and friendly. A lot of small companies make the mistake of trying to act big. It’s as if they perceive their size as a weakness that needs to be covered up. Too bad. Being small can actually be a huge advantage, especially when it comes to communication. Small companies enjoy fewer formalities, less bureaucracy, and more freedom. Smaller companies are closer to the customer by default. That means they can communicate in a more direct and personal way with customers. If you’re small, you can use familiar language instead of jargon. Your site and your product can have a human voice instead of sounding like a corporate drone. Being small means you can talk with your customers, not down to them.
  • Don’t waste time on problems you don’t have yet. Do you really need to worry about scaling to 100,000 users today if it will take you two years to get there? Do you really have to hire eight programmers if you only need three today? People often spend too much time up front trying to solve problems they don’t even have yet. Don’t. Otherwise you may waste energy, time, and money fixating on something that never even happens.
  • If you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone. The customer is not always right. The truth is you have to sort out who’s right and who’s wrong for your app. The good news is that the internet makes finding the right people easier than ever. Know who your app is really intended for and focus on pleasing them.
  • Take whatever you think your product should be and cut it in half. Pare features down until you’re left with only the most essential ones. Then do it again. Start off with a lean, smart app and let it gain traction. Then you can start to add to the solid foundation you’ve built.

“37signals” is the company that has developed Basecamp and few more web-services.

  • Copywriting is interface design. Great interfaces are written. If you think every pixel, every icon, every typeface matters, then you also need to believe every letter matters. When you’re writing your interface, always put yourself in the shoes of the person who’s reading your interface. Do you label a button Submit or Save or Update or New or Create? That’s copywriting. Do you write three sentences or five? Do you explain with general examples or with details? Do you label content New or Updated or Recently Updated or Modified? Is it There are new messages: 5 or There are 5 new messages or is it 5 or five or messages or posts? All of this matters.
  • As soon as you can, use real and relevant words. If your site or application requires data input, enter the real deal. And actually type in the text — don’t just paste it in from another source. If it’s a name, type a real name. If it’s a city, type a real city. If it’s a password, and it’s repeated twice, type it twice. Do as your customers do and you’ll understand them better. When you understand them better, and feel what they feel, you’ll build a better interface.
  • If an app launches in a forest and there’s no one there to use it, does it make a noise? The point here is that if you launch your app without any pre-hype, people aren’t going to know about it. To build up buzz and anticipation, go with a Hollywood-style launch: 1) Teaser, 2) Preview, and 3) Launch.
  • Blogging can be more effective than advertising. Advertising is expensive. And evaluating the effectiveness of various types of advertising can wind up being even more expensive than the advertising itself. When you don’t have the time or money to go the traditional advertising route, consider the promote-via-blog route instead. Start off by creating a blog that not only touts your product but offers helpful advice, tips, tricks, links, etc.
  • Get advance buzz and signups going ASAP. Get some sort of site up and start collecting emails as soon as possible. Pick your domain name and put up a logo and maybe a sentence or two that describes, or at least hints at, what your app will do. Then let people give you their email address. Now you’re on your way to having a foundation of folks ready and waiting to be notified of your launch.
  • Share your knowledge with the world. And when the subject you’re teaching is your app, it serves a dual purpose: you can give something back to the community that supports you and score some nice promotional exposure at the same time. As a promotional technique, education is a soft way to get your name — and your product’s name — in front of more people. And instead of a hard sell “buy this product” approach, you’re getting attention by providing a valuable service. That creates positive buzz that traditional marketing tactics can’t match. Teaching is all about good karma. You’re paying it forward. You’re helping others. You get some healthy promotion. And you can even bask in a bit of nobility.

Why you should run a blog

  • Hire good writers. If you are trying to decide between a few people to fill a position, always hire the better writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a designer, programmer, marketer, salesperson, or whatever, the writing skills will pay off. Effective, concise writing and editing leads to effective, concise code, design, emails, instant messages, and more. That’s because being a good writer is about more than words. Good writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. They think clearly. And those are the qualities you need.
2015   Books   Design   Management   Marketing

Website 3.0

Introducing a major website update

cover transparent white

It is here, as being promised.

It may look pretty the same as before, but there are some nice solutions in design and functionality has been added. Let’s take a look deeper.

Releases

On a release page, all new “Press”, “Feedback” and “Related” tabs has been added:

Now you can see at a glance all connected press reviews, artists’ feedbacks and more releases from this category. Really handy, I love it.

Call-to-action buttons:

Bright and big buttons let you download releases easily.

Photo albums

All-new photo albums with a nice image gallery and shortcuts navigation by pressing ← → keys. Works well on mobile devices too.

There are not much photos at the moment, but will be added over time.

Press

Press section got an updated look and from now have a subcategories for your convenience: “Reviews”, “Interviews” and “Articles”.

Podcast, mixes

Some other pages got an updates too:

Misc

— New elegant menu on top .
— Bigger font size.
— New look of social buttons (thanks to Ilya Birman).
— New “404” page.

Under the hood

— All-new new engine built from scratch to make website works better and faster.

Welcome: www.daniellesden.com

2015   Design   My websites and blog

Paparazzi

Just found a nice tiny app which can makes screenshots of entire web pages. Calls Paparazzi.

Type URL, choose minimum dimensions if you like and hit Return key — that’s it. So simple, so useful.

2014   Design

Major website updates

It took a bit more than I thought, but It finally happened — a few nice updates on the website.

Quick overview:

1) Although my musical career has started just a few years ago, I already have a full-length album, 4 singles/EPs, 5 remixes and numerous compilations. And there will be more and more! To sort all my discography, from now “Releases” section have a nice filter for subsections: you can view either all releases at once, either albums, singles/EPs, remixes & collaborations and compilations:

2) A thin balance of usability, functional and clear design is what I like in the web. Inner pages of each release has been modified to new, fresh and stunning view:

Same layout will be made for “Mixes” section soon.

3) Introducing all-new “Gigs” section. Although I don’t have an upcoming gigs at this moment, there are definitely will be soon! From now it’s a new home for all of my past and future gigs lists:

And of course there are hundreds of small changes under the hood.

In case of bugs, or if you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to write in comments below.

2014   Design   My websites and blog

Space Form

Yes. My long-awaited new single is finally released. Get a copy as your pre-Christmas present.

Also notice how awesome cover art is. If you are looking for high-quality design, I really recommend this designer.

2013   Design