Sports are cool; Their media? Usually not.

so, the first thing i thought of when given the arduous task of website design analysis/critique was ESPN. Then I thought of Sports Illustrated; then I had an epiphany, and thought I’d do both. 

so, first things first. 

espn.com

si.com (also sportsillustrated.cnn.com….but i remembered it before they went all 1% one me and thought they were too cool for ). 

duh. 

Anywho. 

So, ESPN and SI are the two most prominent channels providing sports highlights and news up to the minute. ESPN has their own channel, and SI has their writers on just about any important news outlet on any given day of the week (off the top of my head…CNN, NBC, ESPN, Headline News (does that still exist?) HBO, CBS)

So, on to the websites. 

I went to SI first, out of habit (I like their college sports coverage better) and the first thing I would say, is that they certainly enjoy large features. 

From their logo, 

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To the dominating presence of their headline. 

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And this really annoying thing. 

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I tell ya, I really can’t think of anything more annoying than that. 

Beyond that, Here are the things that I like about Sports Illustrated 

Clearly Differentiated Boxes

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(kind of sounds like a terrible geometry/calc problem) 

clearly differentiated boxes. You’ll see why when we go to espn. Navigating the two sites are relatively the same; the boxes are what seperates the two sites in terms of navigation (in my opinion) as well as…

 

Pictures

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Yep. Pictures. 

So, it’s my opinion that SI has just way too many pictures on their site. Its too distracting, and adds to the clutter that both websites share. Oh and ads…can’t forget about ads, but eh, I’m not gonna fight the 1% on this. 

 

Meanwhile, over at the Worldwide Leader in Sports…

 

First thing I notice is, well, a little more color. Also it feels a wee bit less cluttered, which I would attribute to the wider margins. Also, the much smaller headline picture. My arduous, scientific approach to the size difference was taking a sports illustrated window and quickly moving it back and forth over the espn window (it’s roughly 20-25 percent smaller). 

ALSO THE StUPID AD. (but its smaller, +1 espn). 

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So, my biggest issue with ESPN is pretty much the same as SI: its cluttered. However, its cluttered in a different way. SI is cluttered because they have too many pictures all over the place, and it just doesn’t flow. ESPN on the other hand, also has pictures, but selectively. It just tries to jam in so much content on the homepage that its really in your best interest to go to the sport that interests you right away at the top screen navigation, and even then you’ll probably face the same problem. 

Remember “clearly differentiated boxes?” ESPN kind throws a bunch of links and text, with a few pictures, into one big box. 

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Nostalgically I actually remember having this problem when the internet first got big (and there was that thing called a cable modem). For example, at the top left, there’s two stories, two pictures. Its pretty clear in this, (or maybe I’m just used to it) but I used to click on the wrong link because i thought one picture went to the other or something. 

 

Prescription? To these mostly awful sites? Follow an insider/writer of your favorite sport on twitter. Much more efficient and useful. 

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