Ok, I admit it, I am a huge fan of the NBA. I know post Jordan ratings are down and only true basketball fans can like this game today and the March Madness is more exciting than the NBA playoffs. I know. I know.
We are not here to discuss this though! We are here to discuss the riduculus design of the front page of NBA.com. Now there are many things that I like about the site and I think that they have improved over the years but here are the two reasons I think that the page sucks!
The main content tabs – the 500 x 300 rectangle are completely dysfunctional. Part of the reason they are dysfunctional does have to do with the Ad but they are also dysfunctional all on their own. The tabs are on their own timer which is displayed in the lower right hand corner of the content tab area. When you arrive at the site the content tab timer starts ticking and the ad collapses automatically you have missed the window of opportunity to read the important content for the first tab (which I would assume holds the most important content) and it has already switched over to the second tab. Now to go back to the first tab you actually have to make 2 clicks (In whichever order you choose – I switch it up some nights to break the monotony). The first click is on the "Pause" button in the content tab window. This will stop the automatic rotation of the content tabs. You must then click back to the content tab 1 to see the main content. Now even without the problems related to the expanding/collapsing ad, these content tabs are no good. I read pretty quick but I am no speed reader and even if I could see the content in the first tab when I first arrived at the site, I would never be able to read it fast enough and it would switch to the second tab before I could finish. That is down right cruel!
So here are the improvements that I would make:
1. If I click on the "Expand/Collapse" button for the Ad collapse it and don't open it again. I shouldn't have to do this but I will give them the right to show me the ad if I can close it at will
2. Take a note from ESPN (which has implemented a very similar tabbing style content area) – Display the main content above the content tabs in a non-expiring style and then below the main content do your tab content thing _BUT_ when I click on a tab – stop the damn automatic tab switching timer! Or at least place the "Pause" button on – or near – the tabs.
Ahh… the price we pay for the love of the game.
[ UPDATE: 2006.06.03] – it appears that the NBA has seen the light. The horendous drop down add no longer appears at the top of the page. Now if they would only fix the stupid rotating graphic…