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Old 12-19-2007, 03:27 PM   #1
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pro-football-reference.com redesign

UPDATE: The owner of PFR weighed in below with more info on the new layout. Turns out I may have been a bit reactionary. It's not "awful" (sorry about that), but it does need some tweaking till it's as usable as the old version.

Anyone seen the new site? It's awful. It takes forever to load, and it's too cluttered now.

Pro-Football-Reference.com - Professional Football Statistics and History

I like the new player pages better than the old ones, but it's a pain in the ass to navigate to them.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:32 PM   #2
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

The old style was no frills, but it was easy to navigate. Sometimes less is more.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:45 PM   #3
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

As a web designer, this makes me cry.

Nifty data model and nice content, but the most godawful interface I've seen in years.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Yeah I'm noticing some really slow loading times. Hopefully just some bugs they will work through.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:57 PM   #5
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Quote:
Originally Posted by mheisig View Post
As a web designer, this makes me cry.

Nifty data model and nice content, but the most godawful interface I've seen in years.
Thanks for the feedback.

What issues do you have with the site design specifically? The front page is still going through some design interations, and is probably two or three iterations from a final design. Our challenge is to bring forward the dozens of additions we've made to the site.

Just curious, What comments and changes would you make to these pages?
Sorry, the spam catcher won't let me post links.
The team index, the Redskin index and 1991 team pages, the Art Monk page.

We try to incorporate whatever feedback we can use.

I know that a lot of people liked the simpler preformatted text layout, which is the way I've designed for years. There were a couple of reasons for changing to tables. You can sort the tables very easily. Click any table header and the table sorts. It is more usable for mobile devices and for sight-impaired users as well.

I just don't see that big of a difference between the stats pages on ESPN and PFR.
Is it the green color?

Also, I apologize for the slow load times. Our ad company needs to pick up the pace. We'll get on them about that.

sean
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:00 PM   #6
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

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Originally Posted by onlydarksets View Post
I like the new player pages better than the old ones, but it's a pain in the ass to navigate to them.
onlydarksets,

What info are you looking for that you are having difficulty finding? What makes them hard to navigate? There is A LOT more data on the pages now, would you like to see some of it removed?
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

First, there is too much info on the main page. The old layout was basically one-click to get to the information you needed. Now you need to find it on the left, then at least 1-2 more clicks to get to it.

Second, it looks like you can't look at year-over-year anymore. The old site let you see, for example, the TD leaders for all years on a single page. Is that still there?

Finally, the search function now looks at the ENTIRE name (including middle). I'd prefer the default search not be that detailed, and then have an advanced search if it doesn't turn up.

Aside from navigation, the pages take FOREVER to load.

On the plus, once you actually find the detail page you need, it seems like there is more data. I like the hover-highlight, too. It's a bit cluttered, though - it would help to have vertical delineations between the types of stats. For example, CP's rushing/receiving stats and then also within the defensive stats:
Clinton Portis Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:16 PM   #8
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

OK - I just noticed you can click to dynamically sort on the headers. VERY nice!
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:19 PM   #9
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Is there a feature that lets you compare players by looking at their stats side by side?

Otherwise, really great work with this site overall. The information is invaluable.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlydarksets View Post
First, there is too much info on the main page. The old layout was basically one-click to get to the information you needed. Now you need to find it on the left, then at least 1-2 more clicks to get to it.

Second, it looks like you can't look at year-over-year anymore. The old site let you see, for example, the TD leaders for all years on a single page. Is that still there?

Finally, the search function now looks at the ENTIRE name (including middle). I'd prefer the default search not be that detailed, and then have an advanced search if it doesn't turn up.

Aside from navigation, the pages take FOREVER to load.

On the plus, once you actually find the detail page you need, it seems like there is more data. I like the hover-highlight, too. It's a bit cluttered, though - it would help to have vertical delineations between the types of stats. For example, CP's rushing/receiving stats and then also within the defensive stats:
The year-over-year leaders have not yet been added to the new site, but I'll bump them up the list.

Almost all of the links that were on the old front page are still on the new front page, just in a different area. For example to get to the Redskins index you go to the standings and click the F.E. in the column next to Redskins.

Positional player indices weren't carried forward (because I didn't realize they were popular), and will be added back.

I apologize for the slowness. It is unacceptable and we'll either get it fixed or remove the ads until our ad company fixes it.

Search had to be beefed up because we now have 40,000 players (up from about 10,000 previously) in the db. Middle names probably don't need to be in there. I'll look at that.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:34 PM   #11
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

My original post was reactionary - you've put a lot of effort into creating the preeminent NFL stats site out there, and the effort is appreciated (I've updated the OP). Still, I think the dual-column format of the main page is confusing, especially since it's really a dual-row/dual-column format (row 1 has the header; row 2 has the historical in column 1 and the current in column 2). It's also confusing that the header layout is different on the home page than on every other page.

I'd prefer to have 3 rows. I just think it would make more sense.
  • Row 1: header
  • Row 2: current standings
  • Row 3: historical links
No worries on the speed - it takes time, and I think most people understand that. That said, I think you have the right idea to yank the ads until the speed issue gets resolved. It's better than losing the clicks for a couple of months because people go elsewhere.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:47 PM   #12
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Quote:
Originally Posted by sforman71 View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

What issues do you have with the site design specifically? The front page is still going through some design interations, and is probably two or three iterations from a final design. Our challenge is to bring forward the dozens of additions we've made to the site.

Just curious, What comments and changes would you make to these pages?
Sorry, the spam catcher won't let me post links.
The team index, the Redskin index and 1991 team pages, the Art Monk page.

We try to incorporate whatever feedback we can use.

I know that a lot of people liked the simpler preformatted text layout, which is the way I've designed for years. There were a couple of reasons for changing to tables. You can sort the tables very easily. Click any table header and the table sorts. It is more usable for mobile devices and for sight-impaired users as well.

I just don't see that big of a difference between the stats pages on ESPN and PFR.
Is it the green color?

Also, I apologize for the slow load times. Our ad company needs to pick up the pace. We'll get on them about that.

sean
Sean,

Let me just start off by saying it's pretty damn cool that you would actually come here and solicit feedback. That gives you high marks in my book, not that you'd really care.

I don't usually consult for free, but I think it's cool that you'd come here and actively solicit feedback, so I'll throw in my two cents. I'll highlight some of the larger issues and try not to nitpick too much. As something of a side note, I do user interface design for a large media company, so I may be a bit more picky than most given that I do this kind of crap 60+ hours a week.

1. Navigation
The primary navigation gets completely lost in the shuffle for several reasons: the black background of "Football History" and "2007 NFL Standings" dominates from a color and size perspective and the eye is drawn there first, there is little to no whitespace or negative space separating the elements, and the navigation is not consistent, i.e. it's in one position on the splash page and in another on interior pages. All of this combines to make the main navigation hard to find, difficult to use, and lacking in continuity. If your navigation has the slightest issue you risk losing your users, lose your users and they're going to go somewhere else.

2. Advertising
The leaderboard ad spot (the 728x90 at the top) really lacks continuity with the rest of the site and is sort of "floating" by itself. It also does not visually align with any other element on the page and breaks the user's natural eye flow.

3. Visual Precedence
There is really no apparent hierarchy or precedence with respect anything on the page. What should I do first? Click on Players? Sporting News? Football Memorabilia? Should I search because the search button is one of the larger, more colorful elements? If so what am I searching for? Names? Games? Years? All of the above? Essentially there is no implicit direction as to what the user should, would, or could do on the site, as well as there being no explicit direction like "Hey click here to do such-and-such." The user is, by and large, left to figure out what to do by trial and error.

4. Overall Look and Feel
To be quite honest, my first thought when the site loaded was that something went wrong and a stylesheet got dropped. It just looked to me like something was broken. After refreshing a few times and looking at the code it became obvious that wasn't the case. Please don't take any offense to this as it's purely constructive professional criticism, but visually the site says to me "I haven't been updated since 1997." The colors are pretty bland and flat, the overall layout and architecture is pretty jumbled and the typography is pretty much nonexistent.

5. Whitespace / Negative Space
Whitespace is just the space that's between everything - it's not necessarily white, so some just call it "negative space." Everything feels very crammed together - there's very little padding at the outer edges, between text and borders, elements and other elements and around the navigation. It makes it difficult for the eye to separate what's important from what's not and it's tiring.

6. Deprecated / Outdated Code
I just gave it a cursory look, but it appears that you're using tables for presenting data that's not tabular in nature which is a real "no-no" nowadays. You're also using inline CSS which is nice in the moment but a real headache later on when you change things. Also, the semantics are ok in some areas and really lacking in others. Lastly, while it's not really right or wrong, the code changes between uppercase and lowercase with very little consistency. To be quite honest I haven't seen all uppercase HTML in years.

Out of curiosity, what is the backened database built on and what language(s) are you using to present the data?

Sean, I hope none of this comes across as overly negative or harsh. To be quite honest if I didn't care and didn't think you have a pretty cool idea going, I wouldn't have just spent the last 20 minutes typing all of this up.

Like I said earlier, the concept is awesome and the data seems almost unparalleled. The options are really limitless as to what you could do with it. It could really use, in my opinion, a serious ground-up reworking of the visual design and information architecture. The sky's the limit, in my humble opinion.

One last thing: a study by UCLA several years ago found that over 80% of internet users will make a judgment about a companies reputation, reliability and capability based solely on the look and feel of their website, and will do so in a matter of seconds. Basically you can have the coolest features, the best data and niftiest business in the world, but if you can present it well pretty much no one will care to even look. On the flip side, present something that people love to look at and can use easily and at the same time have awesome features and data and you'll have so much traffic that advertisers will stab each other in the back just to get featured on your site.

Like it or not we live in a visual world and people judge what they see.

Hence the reason guys like me have jobs
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:06 PM   #13
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

on this page:
Clinton Portis Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

clinton portis's Y/G are messed up (says 277.3 Ypg in washington and 193ypg in denver, which are at least double the yearly ypg, which, of course, makes absolutely no sense). Same issue with receiving yards. career seems right, but the team breakouts are way off.

not sure if that page is wrong or it applies to other pages, but it seems kinda weird.

btw, i do love your site's info... finding stats on the old guys is soo hard elsewhere.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:54 PM   #14
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

It's almost right - it's just not dividing by the number of years.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:09 PM   #15
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Re: pro-football-reference.com redesign

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlydarksets View Post
UPDATE: The owner of PFR weighed in below with more info on the new layout. Turns out I may have been a bit reactionary. It's not "awful" (sorry about that), but it does need some tweaking till it's as usable as the old version.

Anyone seen the new site? It's awful. It takes forever to load, and it's too cluttered now.

Pro-Football-Reference.com - Professional Football Statistics and History

I like the new player pages better than the old ones, but it's a pain in the ass to navigate to them.
Not sure about the rest of you, but my load times are extremely fast. I do have a fast computer, but I have not had any troubles...I don't mind to new look either.
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