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Blue Jackets Links revamped, restyled, and now ribbed for her pleasure (oh, baby).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006
So yesterday night I touched on the one thing that really stood out to me when I first saw the new layout up and active. First off, I was surprised just at the fact they unveiled it before opening night, since I believe that was supposed to be the plan. Then again, I may be wrong and could've just heard that through the grapevine.

But either way, let's talk a little more about the site itself. Let's try to draw some positives, some negatives, and some downright awful impressions from this new Frankenstein creation that the designers who hired cooked up.

First of all, it's pretty obvious that there's now actual content on the site itself. Originally, any sort of content of merit or value was tucked away somewhere in the background pages, only available if you knew where to look. Now there's more stuff on the front page than most people would even know what to do with. There's definitely a lot of good to be had about having everything you would need on the front page for the most part, and I am normally a fan of a little clutter so long as it is done in a way that is informative or helps with content. There's just something about this clutter that rubs me the wrong way.

Part of it is the idea of placing tiny logos of each team across the top bar. It seems rather unnecessary and just adds to the cruft that makes up the top of the website. In fact, the very top section really rubs me the wrong way more than anything.

"The Frozen Moment" is a great touch ... if it was the actual top of the website. But instead of that being the case, instead when you first check in, you're hit with a giant "join our newsletter!" banner, and then a modestly sized "shop at!" box alongside it. I don't know about any of you, but I am not a fan of it. In particular, the peddling of their site being strewn all over the website. At the top, at the bottom, on the sides, in the middle ... depending on how lucky (or unlucky) you are, you'll regularly have between 5-7 different boxes, banners, and links insisting you buy their stuff, or go to their auction site.

I have no problem with them trying to get people to buy their stuff. Merchandise revenue is one of the most important aspects of a professional sports league, and many other organizations. It's mainly the fact that it feels like they're using all of this space to make you buy crap, when instead many of those places could be put to better use with something more league or news-related, or even something else.

I'm also not sure why the league needs to rely on Google Ads to help with revenue for the site. It seems rather low quality, when you think about it. None of the other professional sports websites have to have these eye sores of advertisements, and are able to get by just fine without them, instead relying on more subtle advertising, like having Sirius sponsoring their polls, or's "Bracket Challenge" being sponsored by Chevy. Then again the NHL has had issues with keeping stable advertisers, huh?

There's good things, to be sure. The side menu on the left is simple and easy to navigate, and it is no longer flash-based meaning that you can now open different sections of the site in new tabs or windows without much -- if any -- difficulty. The menu bar along the top is also a nice touch, and it's nice that they finally added a video box on the right. But in all honesty the video box isn't so much a video box as much as it is a box which, when you click a video link, opens up the good old original video window that browsers all know and love from when they checked game video recaps in the scores section.

In the end, you just get this feeling that the new site -- while an obvious improvement over the previous one -- falls short in many ways. Sadly, I can't say that I like it, and I doubt I ever will. There's just too many things off about it, both technically and aethstetically.
  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger Skraut said…

    Frankenstein is the right word. They seemed to just grab ideas from everywhere they could and cram them all together without any sort of thought given to how it's supposed to function.

    And the site still lacks anything remotely exciting.

  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger MetroGnome said…

    I agree the new site is garbage. It's an eyesore and they still have less stats than, say cbs.sportsline. Boo!!

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Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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