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ESPN Website Redesign – Love & Hate

I think ESPN.com just became a blog. From a web designer standpoint, I love it and hate it at the same time. Here’s 5 reasons why:

But first, I know what you all are thinking. Wow, Yaakov, great job on the redesign. ESPN is an awesome client! But, alas, no, Myraj Media did not redesign the ESPN website, though that would’ve been really cool. Their last redesign was in 2009, so maybe Myraj will get a shot in 6 years from now. Here’s ESPN’s comments on their redesign: ESPN Website Redesign Explained

1. Love the Look: Right away, you get to see everything that is relevant to you. Breaking news & Top Headlines front and center, where it belongs. But you also get Favorites on the left sidebar, and Now on the right sidebar. Favorites include your selected favorite teams scores and Fantasy teams, once you are logged in. Now on the right, is a constantly updating twitter feed from notable ESPN writes and news people with up-to-the minute info on what is going on in wide world of sports. So, this gives you both form and functionality.
Verdict: Love

2. Full Page Scroll: This could really go either way. Some people don’t like to scroll endlessly. They like to see everything they need to know right in front of them, above the fold even. Those people also tend to still be working off of a DEC Mainframe, circa early 1980’s. The latest trends are full-page scrolling sites, which makes the scroll wheel on your mouse useful, and give your everything without having to tap or click to see more until you are ready to decide on what you want to read or view. If you are used to browsing any site on a mobile device, then you are used to scrolling or swiping up with your finger. ESPN took this functionality and gave it to the user on both platforms.  Personally, I like the full page scroll.
Verdict: Love

3. Busy: Sometimes, having everything in front of you is just too much. While the information is useful, looking around to find what I’m after can be difficult. Eyes darting back and forth, never really sure if what you just saw was real or a figment of your imagination. I think in this case, it is just too busy.  I know there is a lot going on in sports, but with web design I always fall back on the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.  I can also do without the ads on the wide screen sidebars.
Verdict: Hate

4. If It Aint Broke: While 2009 was a long time ago, especially in web design standards, there was a lot to like about the old site.  After using something for a long time, you know where everything is, or where it should be and your muscle memory takes you to where you’re used to things being. Now I have to learn where everything is again, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Websites need to stay current and relevant. In this business, people turn to popular brands to see where they are from a marketing standpoint, if they are staying with the times, both for reference and inspiration in other designs. I hope people and businesses who have websites want to change their site designs like they change their socks, well, maybe not that often (hopefully), but every few years, and contact Myraj to make those redesigns for them. #shamelessplug
Verdict: Love

5. Really Is A Sports Blog: This really just became a sports blog, with news, highlights and videos in an everlasting scroll. I thought even sports blogs were going away from this design. Now we get a picture or video link next to some teaser text about the article.  At a point, with the older design, you’d reach the end of the site. It seems as though this goes on forever. What if I need the contact information in the footer? I don’t think my scroll wheel can go that many times around.
Verdict: Hate

When all is said and done, the Love wins 3-2. There is still a lot to explore, and these are just my initial findings and impressions, subject to change the more I use it. From a sports fan’s perspective, there are a lot of great things with the new design, like having Grantland and FiveThirtyEight front and center. The scores are still on top, and look better now with the marquee slider. But this isn’t a sports post, it is a design post, and I really like the new design. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.  Who know what I’ll uncover the more I use the site over these next 6 years until #ESPNRedesign2021.

I just hope this isn’t a bad April Fools Joke like com.google

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