By Pratik Parikh
Goal.com is one of the largest football websites; I have been following it for the last 2 years. The site is famous for its articles, editorials and live match commentary. It supports 26 editions and 15 languages. It is also available in form of mobile apps for Android, iOS and Blackberry mobile devices. I am going to point out usability issues of the goal.com website. It offers same the experience on Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Chrome. The interface was updated recently and more features were added to it. This features deteriorated the usability of the interface. Let’s have a look at some of the usability issues which cannot be ignored.
1. Match Events frames not organized
The Home page features Main events which gives information about recent match results, live scores (if match is already going on) and next fixtures. The feature is excellent; no other football website does it so comprehensively. It gives information about seven matches in one frame. You have to scroll back and forth to know about matches, already played and forthcoming matches. The left and right button scrolls the frame back and forth. Now, it’s very logical that the back button shows past matches and the forward button shows future matches. But user has to guess, which deters usability. Proper naming of these buttons would make it simple for users. In addition to this, sometimes it only features match details of the next day and the previous day. To find information of matches that will be played the day after tomorrow, the user has to select League, then go to fixtures and select the date. This becomes a long process.
One solution to this problem is renaming the back and forward button, loading match details for +/- 2 days and finally a button to redirect to the ‘upcoming matches’ page.
Figure 1 : Main Events
2. Time-zone cannot be changed as per user needs
Goal.com has 26 editions as of today. When I came to Canada, I shifted goal.com edition to North America so I get all the match timings as per EST time zone. The problem is I don’t get any updates of Indian football, only few updates of English Football and all updates of American soccer. So I always have to shift editions to check match time and read news.
Figure 2 : Edition List
One potential solution is placing a small widget on home page to set time-zone. Hence a user in Canada or North America can follow English edition (because he follows English league), get match details as per his time-zone and avoid switching editions.
3. Same option with different name in different menus
The transfer page provides information on players transferring from one football club to another.Under the ‘News’ menu in the Indian edition (menu headings and menu item names are different in different edition) it gives ‘Transfer News’ as pointed out in the figure 3. On clicking ‘Transfer News’ we will be directed to ‘Transfer Zone’. The same page can also be reached by clicking the Transfers menu heading and selecting ‘Transfer Zone News’ as shown in figure 4. The same option is named as ‘Transfer News’ at one place and ‘Transfer Zone News’ at other place.
Figure 3 : Transfer News
Figure 4 : Transfer Zone News
If both options direct to same place, it should appear only once. Also, if there is a need to provide multiple entries, options should have same name all over the interface.
4. Improper categorization of information on the live score page
On the live-score page, the user will expect options such as live commentary, team line-ups and strategies. A tab with name Formations will confuse user the with football player formation. The formation tab here is totally different. It gives options like all tournaments, top tournaments, playing now, filter by tournament and filter by country. This is a goodexample of improper categorization.
Figure 5 : Formations
It shows team lineups for upcoming matches. The tab heading does not relate with options under it. Also the name can be misinterpreted with the football concept. One potential solution is to name it Team Lineup.
Conclusion: In order to support more features, interface designers compromise with usability. The added features do not make tasks easy; in fact it makes tasks more difficult and confusing. Less information if provided in a better way can better help users. Interface designers should always test usability for every new feature added to the system.