11 January 2005

A web usability rant

You know who has a surprisingly bad front page on their web site? The NFL.

By my count the front page has three hundred trillion links on it. Some of the links aren't even accessible to me because I don't have a paid subscription; these are conveniently marked with the green-F, white-P icon (this stands for "fmembers-only pcontent".) There are 8 separate boxes for: the top story, "Headlines", "NFL Network", "Today in the NFL", "My Team News and Sites", "Analysis and Opinion", "Video", and "NFL on Sportsline.com".

Suppose you want to see the league standings. Viewing standings is easy from nfl.com. All you have to do is click on "Standings". If you can find it.

How do people actually use this site? When I go to nfl.com on a weekday (when there isn't a game), I'm interested in one of three possible things:

  • last week's games
  • next week's games (what's going to be on TV)
  • league standings
When I go to the site on a game day, I'm interested in one thing only: which games are on TV in my town.

Not only should this stuff be easy to find, it really ought to be just about the only thing on the page. All the NFL news-style content should be clumped in the center, blog-style. Each story should have a headline, photo, teaser, and "read more" link. The newest news should be listed first. That way, it's easy to find new content.

The frustrating thing about all this is that the content on nfl.com is quite good. It has rich statistics on every team and every player in the league, and is updated regularly with fresh news and commentary. But too many people will never know, because the front page is so alienating.

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