I recently commented on Reemer’s site that I thought that ESPN.com was the anti-Google. I would like to take a moment to explain that comment. Google’s homepage has twelve links. ESPN.com has over two hundred. ESPN has content everywhere. Flyouts, personalization bar, tabbed boxes, adds, top and left navigation ESPN.com has it all. I love it when ESPN.com has a big story like the Giambi on steroids or the BoSox winning the series because the bigger pictures makes the home page so much simpler. I very rarely scroll “below the fold” because it’s so cluttered and I can never find what I want. Now I know that Google and ESPN are in different spaces but I think that ESPN can benefit from merging the two design ideologies.
I haven’t even gotten into ESPN’s search engine. Now I don’t mind ads but why make them look like a part of the search results? For example, I searched for “bowl picks” to see who is picking Miami in the Sugar. The first three results were “Buy a bowl from Tupperware”, “Bowl – Free Shipping on $99+” and “Bowls on eBay”. Huh? I just want to know who picked the Canes? Scroll down a little farther and the ESPN links are there. But do I find my link? Noooo. I had to go under the College Football section and hunt for the picks. I found four links to the bowl schedule but no picks. Now I know it was here last week because I read last weeks bowl picks. Grrrrr. If I can’t find it how can my father? Maybe I should call my eight year-old neighbor to help me out. I use ESPN.com because it’s the best sports news site on the net. But if another site has the amount of content and is easier to use I’ll have no problems using that site.
I also wanted to disclose that I’m a former Disney employee. I interned at Walt Disney World for two summers working on two major system development projects. I currently do not own any Disney stock nor will I until Evil Eisner departs for good. My wife and I visit WDW at least twice a year and we adore the resort. So what does that mean? I think that Disney has lost the vision that Walt created. Disney is now more interested in exploiting their products for an extra buck than improving the experience for their customers. I don’t know if this is the case with ESPN.com but it fits with the trend. On our last visit to WDW Lucy and I commented on how dirty the parks were looking. This was verified by a good friend of mine who still keeps in contact with some WDW employees that told him “all that matters now is the bottom line”. It’s sad to see the company that Walt built shun innovation and quality but I guess that’s America today. All that matters is money.
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