As a reminder of how far web design has come in the last 10 years, a comparison of the 2012 London Olympics website and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics site shows a great number of improvements over the mistakes and deficiencies of the old official Olympics site. Considering how web technologies and strategies have improved over the years, this comes as no surprise.
As far as usability goes, the 2012 London Olympics website closely matches the homepage usability guidelines set forth by Danish usability consultant Jakob Nielsen—it’s significant, as Nielsen rated the 2002 Winter Olympics site very poorly.
Some of the 2012 site’s usability improvements over the 2002 site include better accessibility and an easy-read area with content written at basic 7th grade reading level, helping the site cater to the usually ignored segment of low-literacy web users.It’s not perfect though, since the material is offered in PDF format, an obstacle for sharing online information.
Flaws and Problems
The 2012 Olympics website’s design is by no means squeaky clean. For instance, the site’s developers have designed the homepage logo’s colour to change every time you log-on to the site. It’s a cool feature, but as far as user experience (UX) goes, it has the potential of confusing users, who may be wondering if they’re still in the same site or page. The ability to recognise an environment visually is an interface guideline that goes beyond web design, and in today’s media rich web environments, perceived stability is even more important.
Other problems involve the presence of the Olympics on the web. For example, a search done on Google for Olympics yielded no links to the official London Olympics site on the first search engine results page (SERP). With the official site of the London Olympics competing for traffic with other entities such as the International Olympic Committee and sites for competing countries (most notably Team USA), its scattered Internet presence isn’t helping itself stand out. Fortunately, with the Olympics in full swing, this no longer seems to be a problem.
In conclusion, even organisations as huge as the Olympics can still fall short in web design basics and that there is always room for improvement in many websites. If you feel the same way about your web property and you need help assessing it, give Enform a call anytime.