onlinepianist.com is a website that teaches people how to play piano online. The site would be a great resource if you like to know how to play your favourite song. By watching the animated piano, for sale I felt that I was sitting infront of a virtual tutor.
Upon visiting the homepage, I was greeted by animated “Happy Birthday” graphic below the top menu. Mmmmm, was that the website logo or just a graphic? If that is the company logo, than it should be on every page and be in a consistent position. The main content area showcased the top song tutorials and some ads. Each song had a thumbnail beside it but some of the thumbnails appeared to be squashed. I like to see more spacing in the content area. The footer had some links as well but was not as obvious. Perhaps using a different background colour and font could make the footer stand out better.
fig 1. Flash animated piano
The website had very little text. In fact, the highlight of the site was the flash animated piano. It would be great if the author could make finding the music easier. I like the idea of a centralised search system where user can search for the song artists, piano sheets, difficulty, rating and tutorials in one search box.
I thought the song categories under the song tutorials section was well thought of. The author splited the categories into kids, rock, pop, jazz…etc. The categories should be more obvious and on every page. It was hard finding the music I liked from the home page.
I found the Piano Chord Chart interesting. I could learn how to play D7 for example by selecting D7 from the drop down list. For piano newbies, it might be a good idea for the animation to be slower. Better still, give user the ability to chose the animation speed – maybe a slider bar above the keyboard. I know nothing about piano, so I like to know what a major and dim are. Any extra textual information about piano chords would be cool. By the way, this piano chords page did not have a footer.
fig 2. A typo in the faq section
The FAQ page again had a different layout from the rest. I strongly suggest having a fix layout for all the pages.
The usability of the website was affected by the layout consistency. I found every page slightly different from each other. Perhaps the author should consider using a proper CMS to manage the content. Still, Online Piano provides a service that is unique to itself and I am sure many people would find the site a valuable resource to learn piano online. If the author could work on the the aesthetics more, the site could attract more traffic.