Essendon Redux

Tuesday October 23, 2012 by Simeon Griggs

Inspired by Andy Rutledge (and taking up the challenged posed by the last sentence) I set about completing a hypothetical redesign of my favourite team, the Essendon Football Club.

Their website poses many of the same problems Andy describes with the Texans website. Over use of saturated colours, crammed content in three columns and large, uninteresting advertising distracting from content.

It’s easy to be flippant in a redesign process like this, removing content for the sake of a clean design. My design aims to hit somewhere in the middle. Reality would dictate that the Telstra branded header and footer would have to return. As would much larger advertisements and other granular details.

What I’ve removed from the previous design

Less useless information – There are nuggets of content littered throughout the three columns of the current website. Many so tucked away that they’re not worth having at all.

No slideshows – The main news slideshow uses Flash and has to go. Studies show that users ignore slideshow content as it behaves much like banner advertising.

Nasty Flash video carousel box – It’s 2012.

Huge, cluttered navigation – The current site has three tiers of navigation, all from the home page. Also gone are branded sections, replaced with semantic titles, ‘Bombershop’ is now ‘Shop’ and ‘Bomber.tv’ is now ‘Video’.

What is the focus of the new design

Content! – Treating the slideshows as one item each, there are just four pieces of relevant content on the 2439 pixel deep home page. (One news item, one video, next match info and one player profile). Everything else is an advertisement, menu item or social media link.

Emphasis on unique content – What content can the Essendon website provide that I won’t get on Social Media/TV/Radio/Papers? Club specific news and video. This has been pushed to the top. The most regularly updating information has been pushed to the top, static and weekly information like match results is pushed below.

Inline content and advertising – “Putting content side-by-side is an exercise in distraction.” If you want the user to focus put one content block in their view at a time. The user vertically scrolls from section to section, even past advertising, to find what they want. No more hide and seek.

Huge graphics – Once content is compressed into tiny columns, you get tiny images. Essendon and the AFL generate and have access to libraries of amazing video and photos — so why are they never the focus?

Lighter colours – I know Essendon is red and black, I’m a fan. I know the team colours. I also want to keep my eyeballs in working order to a ripe age. White is very stark and you shouldn’t use black.

So, let’s see it!

View the redesign full-size

Hey! This will never work because of…

There’s plenty of reasons why the design presented here is never going to fly in the real world (Telstra being #1). However the idea here is to wipe out every bit of crust and creep from the current site and start again with an emphasis on content and user experience. A process the current site is in desperate need of.

…and to have a bit of fun.