Ever wonder what your favourite Beatles song would sound like if it was dubbed over the beat of the rap song you sing along loudest to? If so, you’re not alone. Music mashups have long been a part of Web culture, and there’s a good chance that a YouTube video already exists to satiate your curiosity. The mashup concept goes far beyond turning two seemingly disparate songs into one creation, however. In fact, it’s almost as old as creativity itself.
Artists have always used the work of other artists as inspiration, combining their own creative talents with bits and pieces inspired by work they admire. It’s part of art history, and part of Internet history, too. Now the same concept is being applied to website design and apps, with great success. Some website mashups combine services from other sites in one place, while others simply integrate appealing design elements from other sites in subtle ways. Let’s take a deeper look at the website mashup concept, and how you can put it to work for your Calgary business.
What is a Website Mashup?
Many of today’s most popular mashups deliver value by combining multiple services into one package. Let’s say your site is set up in the city-guide format. The first ingredient is often a locator service, like Google Maps. The mashup comes when you add instant access to reviews from Yelp or somewhere similar. If you want to keep mashing, you might add a service for buying tickets to events, or finding showtimes in the area.
- It’s important to note that making a mashup doesn’t mean stealing data from Google, Yelp, or whatever other sites you incorporate. Your readers still see the source of the information, and the services you integrate still get the exposure benefits.
- Mashups are often reliant on open-source code, which means that the code is publicly available for anyone to use. Your only payment will typically be an acknowledgment of the source.
- The type of mashup you create is limited only by your creativity. Provide customers with direct channels to engage through social media, or add photo sharing services to show off your products. The choice is yours.
- Social networks are prime examples of the mashup concept. Think Facebook and Instagram, or Twitter and Vine. There’s a good reason that Facebook so frequently buys out and integrates other popular social sites.
Applying the Mashup Concept to Your Website
Maybe the mashup idea has piqued your interest, but you’re not quite ready to add other services to your site. That’s okay. There are plenty of ways to take inspiration from your favourite websites, and apply the best design elements to your own site. If you want to attract quality visitors, you need to offer a quality website.
- Navigation and the user interface are vital to the user experience. You can find examples of good (and bad) navigation all over the Web. Take the time to research sites that you find particularly easy to use, and apply the concepts you learn to your site’s navigation.
- Page layout is another great area to pull inspiration from other sites. How you arrange your content plays an important role in whether it gets clicked. If you can find a site that hasn’t been updated in some years, you can see just how much page layouts of changed for the better over time.
- You can also take inspiration from the content that other sites share. Plagiarism never pays, but you can learn plenty about post formatting and topic choice by analyzing other sites in your sphere of influence. If you decide to mashup another site’s content more directly, just make sure you provide a link and attribution.
In the end, there’s really no limit to where you can take the mashup concept. Integrate services from other sites directly, or simply look for inspiration for design elements from sites that appeal to your tastes. Our five-step process for improving your online presence relies on lessons learned from all of the best sites. Every great website owes partial credit to all of the other great websites that came before it. Mashup design elements from the best of the best, and you’ll add your site to that chain of success.