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Website Review: Portsmouth Football Club

portsmouth web site Website Review: Portsmouth Football Club

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.

A nice feature of the site is the history section, which dives into classic matches, Pompey greats and a series of “Did You Know?” questions about Portsmouth’s past.

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.

To see how far Pompey has come, view older versions of Portsmouth’s website from 2007, 2001, 2000 and 1998.

What are your thoughts about the Portsmouth website, and what club website should we review next? Share your comments below.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

5 Responses to Website Review: Portsmouth Football Club

  1. Alan says:

    The best football website that I have ever seen. For you that do not know, if you do not have flash installed, the same site is shown in html, which is almost identical to it’s flash site.

  2. The fundamental question here is: what is the purpose of the website for a Premier League team?

    The answer probably runs three pages long, so I won’t go into detail here. The fundamentals would be:

    (1) Sell merchendice
    (2) Sell tickets
    (3) Deepen the relationship with the fan so they are more likely to do more of (1) and (2).

    Even though we’re in the close season for activities on the pitch, it’s prime-time for selling new shirts and season tickets. I don’t see any obvious way to accomplish that from the home page.

    As far as building a relationship goes, it’s pretty much non-existent. If I got to the “online shop”, I can enter an email address to “BE THE FIRST TO HEAR ABOUT SPECIAL OFFERS & GIVEAWAYS” (which is well hidden at the bottom, by the way).

    But if I go to the news section, there’s no call-out to enter an email address. I’m clearly interested in news, and you have the inside scoop on the news. If you offered to send me an email when you sign someone, I’d probably say yet. And that’s your invitation to pitch me a t-shirt as well.

    This is not just Pompey: My own club, Boro, don’t know I exist and don’t know how to get in touch with me, even though I was a season ticket holder within the last 10 years. There are easily a dozen footy websites – including this one – who have up-to-date contact info and use it constructively to give me something I want.

  3. Hi, I’m excited to see your review of the websites. I’ll start Monday as the Webmaster/Director of Online Marketing for Chicago women’s professional soccer (We’re starting a Women’s League to begin play in 2009 in America). That said, this web review couldn’t come at a better time! Our homepage is currently http://www.chicagoredstars.com and the league can be found at http://www.womensprosoccer.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts :-) And I’m looking forward to learning from your readers. Thanks! Cheers, Amanda

  4. Lonnie says:

    The site is nice and this is a solid review. The accessible site scales upward decently and loads quite quickly. I found the ‘enhanced’ site a little sluggish at times.

    The PFC TV section seems to be designed moreso with PC users in mind as it does not operate correctly on my MacBook. Could be my setup but
    I tried a few different things and no success to even see the demo video. I’ve found this to be the case with most club’s online TV presence as well as the UEFA video subscription. They rely on Windows Media Player as they want to use its DRM capabilities.

    I will say that the design company did a nice job on Pompey’s stationary/business cards as well.

  5. Pingback: OmniFootball » Portsmouth Home And Away Football Jerseys 09/10 Season Revealed - Football Blog

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