Over the next several weeks, EPL Talk will be reviewing all of the websites for the 20 Premier League clubs. The first club website to be reviewed is Portsmouth and for good reason. It’s one of the best ones in the Premiership.
If you’ve ever met a Portsmouth fan, you’ll know that they’re very passionate about their club even moreso than supporters of the Big Four who are sometimes spoiled by their team’s success. With its redesigned website, Portsmouth FC has done a wonderful job of capturing that spirit and communicating it to the site visitor.
The first impression of Portsmouth’s web site is a pleasant one. It’s obvious that a lot of time and consideration has been spent on the beautiful layout and aesthetically pleasing design. The photography used is exceptional. The different shades of blue used on the pages is sleek, while the fonts and graphics used are congruent with the overall look and feel. Surfing through the pages on Pompey’s website is a warm, exciting and comfortable experience, and I’m not even a Portsmouth fan.
One of the most impressive design aspects of the site is that the homepage isn’t a jumbled mess like most other Premier League club websites. Sure, there are the annoying animated banner advertisements, but the rest of the page and navigation are designed in such a way where they don’t feel overwhelming.
Another appealing aspect of the homepage is the pictures of the main news stories that rotate from one to the other. Despite the way they add interactivity and a focal point to the page, the photographs sometimes take a while to load which can be annoying.
Next is the Stadium section of the website. You’d think it’d be focused on Fratton Park with a 360 virtual tour or the history of the ground. But, disappointingly, there’s not one word about their current home. Instead there are several news stories about Portsmouth’s plans for their new ground.
A unique feature of the site that isn’t available yet, but which will be enjoyed by fans if the price is right, is the availability of a digital version of the Pompey match programme for international subscribers only. The design of the programme that’s featured in the photograph on that page is very appealing due to it being designed in landscape instead of portrait format.
One of the things that’s a pleasant surprise about this website is that it’s not designed in Flash for Flash’s sake. In contrast, the Chelsea website is a handful to get used to mainly due to poor navigation and usability, but the Portsmouth website is extremely intuitive and only uses Flash where necessary, where it adds functionality or a sleekness that is needed. An example of this sleekness is the page featuring first team squad players. It’s beautifully designed and easy to use.
But Flash and the Portsmouth website aren’t perfect. While the readability of the black text on white background throughout the site is very attractive and inviting, the type size may appear too small for older readers or those who are visually impaired. With a traditional website designed in HTML, you can increase the typesize of the page in your browser. But with a site that’s programmed in Flash, the typesize is a one size fits all. A solution for this would be a ‘magnify text’ feature that would be controlled in Flash but would give site visitors the option of increasing or decreasing the size of the text.
The final criticism is that the site features no RSS feeds for visitors to subscribe to, which is a travesty. Maybe they can address that issue on their FAQ section that is coming soon.
The website is designed by a UK agency named Un.titled who also designed the club’s stationary. Based on the look and feel of the Portsmouth website, it must have cost a considerable amount of money to design but the quality is worth it. For a small club such as Portsmouth, they’ve shown that they can build a website that competes with the larger clubs in England and one that even outshines some of the Big Four.
For me, this is a site that I could see myself returning to very often as well as subscribing to, which is so rare for me when visiting websites of professional football clubs.
What are your thoughts about the Portsmouth website, and what club website should we review next? Share your comments below.