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5 things the Montreal Canadiens site does well and not so well

December 19, 2011

As you would expect from a high profile site, the Montreal Candiens site is very well done from a usability perspective. They have a ton of information to get across to thousands of people who are visiting the site for very different reasons.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, I've decided to be like Santa and rate the site's naughty and nice points.

Naughty

1.No attempt to make a language choice for me
To paraphrase one of the main point in “Why software sucks”, you should never make 100% of the people work if you get get it right most of the time. They could have detected the browser language and redirected automatically.

2.Language choice is in bad location
There is a convention that it should be in the upper right corner, but they have it at the bottom. No wonder they didn't risk automatic redirection: you must also leave an easy way to correct the course.

3.Used marketing lingo specific to their site in the main menu
What's “HabsTV” anyway? The sub-menu items don't help much either “the hot seat”, “quick hits” - it's not as clear as it could be.

4.Lack of negative space
The site is jam packed, pixel-to-pixel. I need air! It looks a bit cluttered and makes things hard to find.

5.Heavily dependant on Flash
Flash is dying. Adobe will no longer support the mobile version, and Apple iPhones and iPads never supported it. They need to use standards compliant HTML5.

Nice!

1.Mobile version
They have a created a distinct website suited to mobile users. Although it is a bit limited (no videos?) due to naughty number 5!

2.Active in Social Media
They have big prominent buttons at the top of the site, but also Twitter contests, etc within their news articles. A quick visit to the Facebook fan page and Twitter feed shows a lot of activity.

3.Mirrored everything in both languages
Vive le Québec! They really serve both markets equally well.

4.Side bars make good use of “wasted” space on wide screens
Screens keep getting bigger, but sites keep their width at about 1000 pixels. Those side bars look great and are attention grabbing on my 17inch laptop. And they're interactive as well (you can click to the advertisement).

5.No spoilers, just teasers
I'm sure for most people, two of the top reasons for going to the site are 1) finding out when the next game is, and 2) finding out if they won the last game. The next game information is left open and in prime position by default, but to see the last game you have to click.

 

http://canadiens.nhl.com/