Experiences built on hubs are those that make the content the hero, choose several salient attributes of that content and build simple experiences around it all. Two great examples are Disney.com and sesamestreet.org.
This post is inspired by our recent experience with sesamestreet.com’s latest Beta site. I did not give it a heuristic analysis or anything official. I simply went there looking for a video of Elmo to entertain the little one for a moment.
I was pleased with the focus employed by the new beta design. The things we initially looked for were all there at the center of the experience. A character, and a particular song. The type of content (video) is allowed to shine as the hero of the experience. The search for content that we wished to watch was made simple by not having to sift through search results as the primary way of finding content.
Surprise content interest:
I was surprised by how compelling the banner ad at the bottom of the sesame street site was to our 16 month old daughter. Even though the video was moving and singing, she was compelled to point to the Snuffalupagus (sp) within the banner.
Interesting Experience Observation:
While this was surprising from a content standpoint, it was also clear that a mouse is a totally foreign concept to someone who has never used a computer of today. Her instinct was to point directly to the content she wanted. of course, who would think to move a mouse and click a random button. why not point.
I can’t help but think the site was in some ways inspired by the very focused redesign of Disney.com. They did a great job of recognizing that their amazing characters should be one of the hubs for the experience. This is another site that allows the content to be the hero of the page. The Flash-only implementation leaves much to be desired, but the hubs of the experience are clear and smart. I am glad the sesame site did not lock all of the content into Flash.