Fox Soccer Channel this week launched a redesign of their FoxSoccer.com website. The website, which was a massive success during the 2006 World Cup and continues to be a valuable resource for soccer fans, has been redesigned to look less busy and as a result looks drastically different.
Here are my initial thoughts on the new site:
- My first impression is that the site design is vastly different and better than before. The previous design was so busy and contained so much information that it was often difficult to find what you were looking for. Plus, there were previously so many choices that I often felt paralyzed and overwhelmed.
- While the new design is easier on the eye, the whole feel of the website has changed from a soccer website to a blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just not sure if that was the intended move.
- The first thing that bothers me about the site is the “Score Strip” at the very bottom of the browser. The default is that it’s set for the NFL, which infuriates me. Why? I realize the Score Strip is available across all of the different Fox sport websites, but if I’m visiting FoxSoccer.com directly, it should display a generic soccer-related Score Strip first. I have zero interest in the NFL and I realize that I’m not the average person as many of you, the readers, follow that league too, but seeing a NFL Score Strip on soccer site leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I realize I can log in and probably set a particular one as my favorite. But after scrolling through the choices, I notice that the English Premier League is listed as “PL” which is a very intuitive acronym for soccer fans to realize which league it is. I could figure it out, but why not use the more common “EPL” or “BPL” so the user doesn’t have to think?
- I love the main images near the top right of the page that scroll through the main stories of the day. Perfect!
- Because the site launched this week, it’s quite possible that the team working on the project are still making incremental changes which is quite common after the launch of a website redesign, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt regarding the next issue. When you click the RSS icon in the “Headlines” section of the page, I expect to be able to subscribe to the RSS feed for the soccer headlines. Right now, it’s pulling up all sports (and you know how much I hate the NFL)
- Scanning the headlines of the stories near the foot of the FoxSoccer.com homepage, they’re written poorly and don’t give me any reasons why I should read the excerpt underneath them to find out more information. When I reviewed the site this morning, the headlines for the stories near the bottom of the page were: “Foreign Aid?”, “Death Awaits?”, “Fill ‘Em Up,” “Dream Away,” and “Side Kicks.” Those headlines don’t make me want to click through. Even though it breaks the design, the site needs to allow for two line headlines so the copywriters (and/or web producers) can have more flexibility to write something more descriptive.
- On the old Fox Soccer website, I could never find how to link to Bobby McMahon’s blog, which is one of the best parts about FoxSoccer.com. On the new site, I still can’t find it. As far as I can tell, it’s not one click away from the home page, which it should be. Looking at the navigation, it’s not intuitive which link I should click on to find Bobby’s blog. Since he covers the world of football, I hesitate to click on “England” or “Champions League” in the main navbar because I know he covers both. I clicked on “More” and found nothing. I searched for “Bobby McMahon” in the searchbar at the top but the first listing revealed generates a page not found error message.
- The Bobby McMahon blog is just one example of the biggest issue with the redesign thus far and that’s the navigation. It’s not easy to find what you’re looking for especially if you’re used to the old site. The main navbar looks like it would be a rollover, so it would drop down with more choices, but it isn’t. Because it doesn’t reveal more choices when you roll over the main navbar, the site appears to have very little content but most of us know that it has an enormous amount of articles and video content and more.
As I mentioned earlier, even though the site has been relaunched, it’s very probable that the Fox interactive team are continuing to make enhancements to the site and to get it ready for the big time when the World Cup begins next summer. My first impression is a positive one but the redesign still needs some considerable work to make it into a better user experience for soccer fans.