I set out to find inspiration for the Premiere Video website I was telling you guys about last week (the local video store on Mockingbird). There were two types of inspiration I was looking- first and foremost I wanted to find sites that had great content ideas- because that is what really keeps someone coming back to a website. Secondly, I looked for inspiration for the design of site- which although secondary in terms of relevance to the user it is obviously still important.

The biggest inspiration I found for the content of the Premiere site was Etsy.com. Etsy is a site devoted to handmade products. If you have never seen this site, I would suggest checking it out because it is pretty inventive in the way it allows users to search for products. You can search for products by color, where the product was made, through the type of product, items that will soon be expired (products can only be up for two months), and many other ways, including handpicked featured products with similar themes that refresh two or three times an hour. With the vast selection of products on Etsy, it is nice to have many different creative ways to discover new things.

I would like to have this type of capability on the Premiere site. Being inside the Premiere Video shop is often a mindblowing experience because there are so many great film titles in stock, so many genres, that is really hard to pick just one movie. I actually talked to the owner of Premiere the other day and asked how many titles they have in stock. He said, “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing because we have an outdated system for keeping inventory that only allows us to keep track of 32,000 titles… and we passed that a long time ago.” This one video shop has literally thousands of videos to choose from, which may seem daunting to the user to choose just one. It would be awesome to give users a way to discover new movies in creative and inventive ways like Etsy has done.

The second source of inspiration for content I found was IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database). If you have ever done a search online for a movie you have probably found yourself at IMDB at some point. It must be a serious undertaking to have an ongoing database of most of the movies ever made. In thinking about the Premiere site, the idea of creating a database of movies in stock would also be a serious undertaking. IMDB provides users with information about the movies they’re searching for in a very clear manner. They also provide special features like stills from the movie, the actors and director associated with the film, plot synopsis, and reviews. It would be a bit ambitious to try to create a similar database for the Premiere site, but maybe I could create something on a smaller scale for the site that would provide users with lots of useful information about the movie titles in stock.

I also wanted to see what other video rental sites were doing in terms of content. Netflix.com has done a really good job with decluttering their site to make it simple for users to find movies. The process is streamlined for becoming a member of Netflix and then renting a movie, eliminating any obstacles for users trying to rent a movie. On a smaller scale, I found a video rental website for a small shop in Seattle that also helps users quickly find movies in stock. The store is called Rain City Video, and although the site may not be flashy, it seems very useful for local users. Users can look for movies in stock by typing in a movie title, a star in the movie, or by different genres and movie formats. I also liked that the store provides movie reviews and links to film sites that might interest their customers.

Now, for design inspiration, I found a couple of sites that have the sort of look that I am going for. The first site is The New York Moon. I really like the hand drawn illustrations, the muted color schemes, and the 1940’s era inspired typeface and design. I think something like this could work really well for Premiere. Similarly, I really like the design of a restaurant in England named Jamie’s Italian. Again, the look and feel is kind of retro inspired, and I like the texturized background and bold typeface. I like that the logo appears hand drawn and that the overall effect is polished and clean.