Listen up! The new Pandora Radio, and what you can learn from their website design.

(January 3, 2012) – If you’re a music lover, then you are probably familiar with Pandora Radio.

Pandora is a free website that allows users to customize radio stations based on their favorite artist, genre, or song. Users can further hone the music selection by giving tracks a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” allowing them to listen to their favorite tracks and find new artists with a similar style. Pandora has a music selection for almost any taste, from electronica to easy listening, and has seen a lot of success over the past few years.

Several months ago, Pandora announced that they would be updating their website, making both aesthetic and program changes to enhance their listeners experience. The site went through some major changes, and overall, the response to these changes has been very positive. Blogs and websites ranging from music enthusiasts to tech fans have been abuzz with the new site design.

While there are a lot of great advantages to the site’s new layout, most of the bloggers agree that several factors make the new Pandora great. These include the streamline appearance and bigger buttons that make it easier to use, the use of HTML5, and the new social media aspects of the website that make it more user-friendly for the 21st century Twitter and Facebook crowd.

People are also excited about the removal of Pandora’s listening cap, which used to cut off the music at 40 hours unless users upgraded to a paid version of the site.  The new Pandora will stop your music with advertisements, but it now allows users an unlimited amount of time to listen to their favorite music.

I have been a Pandora user for a few years now, and I must say that their new website design is a welcome change. It’s streamlined, sophisticated, and simplified, making it a thoroughly enjoyable site to use. This got me thinking about how your business can use the same methods that Pandora did to update your website.

As we’ve said before, people make judgements on your site within a mere 50 milliseconds upon viewing it, and so the design elements must be able to draw potential customers in, and keep current clients engaged. If your website is out of date, hard to use, or just unappealing visually, it can seriously hurt your potential business and online appearance.

So what can your company learn from the new updates that Pandora has made?

Here are the biggest changes the site made that can be applied to your website:

Streamline: Your homepage should give potential customers a strong idea of who you are and what you do. But this is just an overview; wordy specifics and details of what you do should be saved for landing pages on your site.  Keep your homepage simple, elegant, and easy to follow so that clients have an impression of the company as a whole rather than individual elements.

Be Social: The new Pandora allows you to connect to your friends and your social networks. Having an online presence that crosses from your website to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites is beneficial. People may not check your website regularly, but they may be on Twitter or Facebook more often, and so reaching out on a variety of sites increases your company’s visibility.

HTML5: Even if you’re not tech-savvy and HTML is lost on you, all you need to take away from this is that keeping your website up-to-date, both with the information from your company and with the latest technology, is very important. Making sure you have the latest technology will keep your website running smoothly and efficiently. The faster the site loads, the better it looks, and the better you look.

Make it Easy: People want to explore a website that is easy to use. Keeping things streamlined will help, but remember that organization and placement of important links or videos can also ease a customer’s use of your site.