ESPN redesign?

Looks like ESPN has made a substantial change to their web site. (Seems pretty permanent, though they often run huge images for big events, and Sunday’s NFL conference championships qualify in that regard.)

The big change is the introduction of a huge horizontal visual (750 x 300, or 5:2 ratio) which dominates the top half of the screen. Numerous links, headlines, and media appear “below the fold,” with many of the page modules using Flash. It looks like they’re including some media that I’m not getting on Linux; yeah, MacOS shows some embedded movies. The RSS feed includes the headlines which appear on the middle right of the page, but not the main story or the features in the “Spotlight.” Interestingly, many of the RSS headlines differ slightly from the headlines which show on the page. Very odd; I wonder how the page is built, and why the “news” content is separated from features and other content—and why there’s no feed for the features, etc.

Top to bottom, the page is massive; it takes four full screenfuls to read on my 1152×864 screen. This is the biggest problem I have with the redesign; it’s very busy and very big. The page content is not so much designed as managed, with lots of borders and gridlines separating the viewport into separate areas.

Nerd-wise, they promise XHTML 1.0 Transitional but the page fails to validate, with some very simple mistakes, like a CONTENT attribute in a meta tag; that should be “content” (lowercase). The page is a whopping 140K, with a 23K style sheet and a bunch of external scripts. Well over a quarter-megabyte, and that’s without the media!

All in all, this isn’t as successful a change for ESPN as we’ve seen in the past. Hopefully they’ll tidy up over the next few weeks.

Update 1/21: the big visual is gone, and there are some tweaks. Now you can get RSS feeds for sections. But if anything, the absence of one major focal point makes the site less attractive.

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5 Responses to ESPN redesign?

  1. jeff says:

    The video is always annoying. There is too MUCH info/too many headlines. Without getting too A List Apart here, they need to tone it down.
    On another note, local store now stocking Victory Old Horizontal. Very nice barley wine for a six pack. Talked today with the guy who helps run the place. Lots of goodies expected soon including a Bell’s Rye Stout.

  2. cbd says:

    Another reason to use Linux: no stupid video ads when you browse.

    I don’ t have a problem with “too much information”—but they can’t decide if they are a newspaper, a web page, or what. It ends up looking like ass.

    I got barley wine yeast last week. I’ll make another one in a few weeks. Tonight I pulled samples from my pale and stout. Both were super, especially the pale; the hops really shine on that one.

  3. Kristen says:

    perhaps the sloppy redesign is due to Mike Davidson’s departure…

  4. cbd says:

    I would not be shocked to learn the new ESPN was designed by committee and/or without a real creative director presence. It’s even worse today; they’ve split the upper left visual into two, making a 1 x 4 grid with the two modules below—but the structure isn’t repeated. Yuck.

  5. Pingback: cbd » Blog Archive » Outside the grid

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