Through our reading this past semester, I started really digging into what makes a website successful from a user standpoint and how it relates to what I do. There is a ranking that comes out every year highlighting the top College Athletics site designs.
“The rapid rise in mobile and social media radically altered the game for college athletics websites. Today, responsive sites deliver a consistent user experience regardless of device. Sites integrate social media alongside traditional long-form content.
We analyzed the design of 129 official websites from across the FBS. These 12 stood out.
After this past semester, I have started noticing a clear correlation to the sites that are ranked and how big of a part user design plays that I had never noticed before. All the sites on this list have a fantastic conceptual model. They are visually appealing while still having clear call to actions. The mapping makes sense and is thought out. All the signifiers are easy to read and spot. On top of that, they capitalize on the priorities of their stakeholders. They do not make the user think too much about the task at hand, allowing them to navigate the website easily and achieve their goals.”
It is interesting to see how I was completely missing the key to a successful website. I would just visit other college teams sites and think to myself “wow these are great” but had no idea WHAT made them great. It is more than just a flashy home page or a big sharp image on the front end. They are carefully thought out and constructed by the designer. They combine all the needs of the stakeholders to execute a well thought out website.
In addition to that, the mobile version of each site is equally friendly. Users don’t miss a beat when they switch to the website on their phone. This is hugely important because now the amount of college athletic fans that retrieve information from their mobile device is astounding. Mobile is extremely important if not MORE important than the desktop version to the sites success.
None of these websites over complicate it for the user. Norman’s principles are all carefully engrained into each design.