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Fox Soccer Channel Launches Redesigned FoxSoccer.com: Website Review

Fox Soccer Channel logoFox 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.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. cassian d'Ornellas

    July 12, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    My comments concern Bobby Mc Mahon’s analysis of games and players, his predictions, his judgements and, worse of all, his pretensions.
    First, let me begin with his predictions. His predictions are, more often than not, very wrong. For example in the 2010 Champions League semi-final, he predicted that the Barcelona left back would be taken apart by the Manchester United right winger. As it turned out this same Barcelona player played a very significant role in Manchester’s defeat in this game and he played very well, indeed, without being taken apart as Bobby McMahon had arrogantly predicted. He also judged and predicted that Spain’s left back Captavilla was their weak link and Arien Robin would take him to the cleaners. As it turned out the Netherlands had a very difficult time containing Captavilla in his well -timed overlapping runs down the left wing in the final game of FIFA 2010 and he proved to be a very skillful player to boot. Meanwhile Robin was well-contained by the Spanish defense for the most part. For some inexplicable reason, Bobby McMahon seems to have something against Spanish left backs. He also predicted that Germany would beat Spain in their semi-final game. Again his prediction proved incorrect when Spain dominated the game, completely, through the ball controlling techniques, the skills, and undoubted talents of its players. The irony of Mc Mahon’s pretentiousness is that he sets himself up with such immodesty as if he is some great seer and judge, pretending to be more knowledgeable about matters soccer than anyone else, when, in fact, his judgements are, at best, second rate.
    The following are two examples of what I mean.
    When Diego Furlan was playing for Manchester United he said that Furlan was one of the worst players United had ever acquired. Yet Furlan was selected to be the best player of the world cup tournament in 2010. Then there is the case of Andre Quiniesta the undoubtedly highly skillful and very talented Spanish midfielder whom he said had a poor game in the final of FIFA 2010 and who was so bad the Spanish coach should have substituted him. That is to say, had Bobby been the Spanish coach, he would have taken Quiniesta off the field and Spain would have lost the game because it was the” badly- playing” Quiniesta who scored the only goal of the game and which caused Spain to win the World Cup. The Dutch players knew how dangerous Quiniesta was to their winning the game and that is why they had set out to cripple him from the very beginning. Finally when one of their players brutally fouled him for the umpteenth time he was dismissed from the game which led to the goal being scored by no one else but Quiniesta himself.
    When is Fox Sports going to replace Bobby Mc Mahon with someone who is less arrogant, far less sure of himself, less prejudicial, and far more careful, and modest in his pronouncements, predictions, and judgements?

  2. Commentator

    December 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    i have already given up on the new site… thought it was just me.. but thanx i found this post about the site and how other users ppl hated the new site. i miss the old site.. the colors, the video highlights, the live game for the week, the scores, and above all,the comments from other users..(my favorite part).. the new site is just utterly useless.. dont even know where to start describing the reasons… just plain horrible design and all… very cheap looking.. and why in the world do we have NFL scores on the page..?

    please if anyone found another site devoted to soccer, please inform. at the moment, i would rather use espn360, espnsoccernet… shame on fox soccer…

  3. Mission Man

    December 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    The FSC website was too busy, as noted, but the new one is atrocious. I’ll give it until the new year, hopefully that will be enough time for Fox to get it straightened out.

  4. Dodge

    December 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks Gaffer. Happy Holidays to you and yours and thanks for all your good work on here.

  5. Dodge

    December 19, 2009 at 11:27 am

    The Fox site has always been mediocre at best. The “reporting” is awful; mostly inaccurate stories poached from British tabloids. But the one redeeming thing about the old site was the ability to post comments at the end of stories. However, that feature seems to have disappeared in the re-launch which is hugely disappointing to me. I can post comments with other Liverpool fans on endless LFC sites but there is something unique about the way that the Fox site used to be where supporters of other clubs could respond to your posts and you to theirs. I really hope they bring it back. Any inside news about this Gaffer?

    • The Gaffer

      December 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

      Dodge, no inside news yet, but I do know that some of the criticisms raised in the review have been fixed on the site such as the Sports Score at the bottom which now displays the Premier League as the default instead of the NFL. So, the executives at Fox are reading the post and will undoubtedly take the comments suggestion into consideration.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  6. Bernard

    December 19, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Please bring back the old format.
    If you don’t, I will never bother to watch foxsoccer.com.
    I use to enjoy so much the old style. It is so boring now.
    Very disappointed…

  7. arsenalyevo

    December 19, 2009 at 12:55 am

    This new FSC website is horrible! to be honest it sucks! Everyone has already listed great reasons above why it does to add..Where is the Fa Cup tv schedule? I wanna know what games are gunna be on in a few weeks ..the tv schedule thing now is horribe and nothing is broken into sections..horribe job on the site..horrible

  8. Jack

    December 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    The new website is in really bad shape right now. It needs considerable improvment and I am surprised it would be released at all in the condition it is in. Gone is a tremendous amount of important information that made the site good. the club pages, team standings and outlines. Each league had links to specific stories which is not there anymore. The user comments section is not there. This looks like a dramatic redesign that takes away alot of the news stories the site has. For me there is not a problem with the large amount of information and soccer news stories the site offered and I never felt overwhelmed or confused by it in any way.

  9. TheLaffer

    December 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I think the design for this site is fantastic. There’s a reason we keep coming back to this site and why it has taken off since its launch.

    The new FSC site however is a disaster. Where is the tv schedule? Sure, it’s nice to reduce some clutter but I feel like they gutted the whole site. It feels as if it’s lacking content. The trick is to maintain content without being a design nightmare. The failed with this one.

  10. man99utd

    December 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I have my problems with ESPN, but FSC’s new website is a joke. I don’t care about the NFL or any other American sport, that’s why I’m looking at a “football” site. Additionally, this kind of mickey mouse operation doesn’t bode well for the HD launch. FSC has had a wonderful reputation in the football world, but this has set it back a wee bit.

  11. JC

    December 17, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I’m not a fan of the new design. Unless I’m missing something, I have to click, scroll and click just to get to the Premier League standings (click England, scroll to the bottom, click Premier League).

    Oh, and the standings are in Spanish, at the moment. Calendario y Resultados for example.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/premierleague

  12. Jeremy St.Louis

    December 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Gaffer et. al.

    Bobby no longer has a blog on Fox Soccer’s website.

    Due to time restraints, Bobby has opted to NOT do a blog anymore – that is one reason why you cannot find/link to it.

    Cheers!

    JSL

    • The Gaffer

      December 17, 2009 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Jeremy, good to hear from you and thanks for pointing out the status of Bobby’s blog. Unfortunately, it’s still really difficult for visitors to figure out how to access the FSC blogs from the FoxSoccer.com homepage. For example, how can I directly access Jamie Trecker’s blog from the FoxSoccer.com homepage?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  13. scott

    December 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I understand having a few minor issues when starting up anything…but the new site has soooo many issues it’s really a joke.

    Seriously…the IT guys at a major sports network can’t get their stuff together? They need to be fired.

    • ovalball

      December 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      To be fair…it’s generally not the IT guys’ fault. They tell the brass it’s not ready to go. The brass insists it has to go up. The IT guys demure. The brass says, “Shut up. We know what we’re doing. Make it live.”

      Sound familiar to anyone???

      • The Gaffer

        December 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm

        Been there, done that and learned my lesson the hard way! 😉

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • ovalball

          December 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm

          lol. Just relating my son’s experience(s).

      • Scott

        December 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm

        That’s probably true enough…bad decision though.

  14. JPC

    December 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I have to agree that the new website is not working correctly. I cannot get any soccer scores to show on the score list. It just goes blank when I choose soccer. I can see CBK, NFL, NBA but not soccer. I also have the same issue Edison does where when I log in and then go to the Soccer page, my login is replaced with “user”. Trying to signout gives me a
    “page not found”. I cannot get to any of the comments made on articles either. All in all, I will not be using FSC’s web page or foxsports.com if these problems persist much longer.

  15. Ric

    December 17, 2009 at 11:33 am

    To me, the biggest issues are the TV schedules not being available and the lack of video highlights that were on the old site. I think that’s their bread and butter — they succeed by having us watch. Hope they get things fixed.

  16. Edison A. Leon

    December 17, 2009 at 10:10 am

    This an example or re-launching a we site going wrong, all the links to features are broken it’s being over 24 hrs and still the same, I sign in from FSC and I’m sent to the NFL site after I click sbimit, them when I go back to FSC I don’t see my credentias (sign in is not working for FSC since I don’t my self signed after sining in.) I though FSC was a blog, I don’t see the comments or where to write any. What happened? Yes, I hate NFL set as default score feeds I’m in a soccer web site. I have to find this blog to post my frustration (though I start like it here, see FSC your fault! if you ever read this anyway)

  17. kenny

    December 17, 2009 at 9:49 am

    This might be the ugliest blog on planet earth. Not sure how you think you can be a judge of someone else’s site.

    • The Gaffer

      December 17, 2009 at 9:54 am

      Thanks Kenny for your kind words! Just kidding. But seriously, what site designs would you consider as an example of great and functional designs?

      For the record, I’ve been a judge for the WebAwards since 2000, and I’m the recipient of 18 WebAwards from the Web Marketing Association, so I know a little bit about what I’m doing. Plus, I’ve been working in the Internet marketing business since 1997.

      The thing about design is that it’s completely subjective. What you may like I may hate, and what I may like you may dislike.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  18. Art

    December 17, 2009 at 9:46 am

    All the numbered tabs on the right of main photo have “NFL” as their heading, too!

    • Berkeley-B

      December 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm

      I noticed that, too. What’s the deal?

  19. Peter

    December 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I think that Bobby’s blog is over – that’s what he said on his last post in November.

    • The Gaffer

      December 17, 2009 at 9:10 am

      Thanks Peter. I didn’t realize that. But, still, there’s so much good content on Bobby’s blog that it’ll be relevant for months and years to come. But right now, it’s hard to figure out how to get to it from the homepage. The only way I can find it is to Google it, which shows it’s at http://community.foxsports.com/BobbyMcMahon/blog/

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  20. Zach

    December 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Where are the video highlights on the new site? I like the “look” of the new site, but don’t feel that it’s very functional yet. As you mentioned, there are many items that are difficult, if not impossible, to find!

  21. Brad Davis Seal

    December 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

    The TV schedule is broken on the new website

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