2008 Olympics Website Reviewed

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 7, 2008

The 2008 Olympics website will be one of the most visible websites in the world for the next two months. You would expect their website to also be an Olympic example of what a website should look like, feel like, sound like and smell like. This purpose of this post is to examine the qualities of the 2008 Olympics website in hopes that the rest of us can model after what their developers have done well and run as fast as we can in the other direction from repeating the mistakes they’ve made.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, I’ll give it a vote of 5.  Why such a harsh grade?  Well, let me cover some good things first.  There are several things I think they’ve done a good job with for the site:

1. The immediate question is answered as to exactly “when” the Olympics will be held.  I’ve had 4 people ask me that over the past week, so the date is not something people know.

2. I like their use of the Upper Right Quadrant (URQ) where they provide links to alternate languages of the site, their tagline stands out “One World One Dream” and gives me a little entertaining countdown which is at today “31 days to go.”  In the URQ also answers another question for me as I’ve always wondered what the temperature in Beijing China is.  And then there’s a search box for me to type just in case the navigation doesn’t give me what I’m looking for.

3. I sort of bypassed the Flash rotation (which I’ll come back to in a moment) and went to the left navigation which is simple and categorized, pretty easy to follow.

4. The overall look of the site is welcoming and entertaining.  I like the use of green and blue which sends a warm, let’s-unite-the-world kind of message.

Here are several areas where I believe the site could “still” be improved:

1. I’ve looked at this site on various screen resolutions and I just feel that the Ticketing Info section on the mid-right column should be more pronounced and part of the URQ.  Buy Tickets Now would be much more appropriate.

2. Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee yet, but the scrolling images in the middle of the page under the Olympic Q&A completely missed me.  Only after I spent 15 minutes on the site looking at other things did I discover you could mouseover them to discover they were links to event descriptions.

3. If people are not coming to the site to find the general date, or to buy tickets, they’re wanting to know what the schedule of events is.  This is another item that should be right in the forefront of the site.  This can be found under “Sports & Venues” on the left nav…but it doesn’t say “Events Schedule” until you get into that section.

4. Okay, so, the Flash part. Um, guys, you have video lower right on the site.  Why not just use the video clips so that people see them right away when they land on the home page?

5. The Olympic Q&A section is worthless.  They should remove it entirely or build it into a real Q&A that has potentially hundreds of questions answered.  If I was even thinking about attending the olympics, I would have tons of questions.

6. The banner photo of the China girl scared me!  It looks like something out of an old wax museum movie.  There are far more beautiful photos of China girls you could find for that banner.  Don’t scare me like that!

7. Finally, there’s not enough emphasis on getting me to “register.”  You’ll see the register/login next to the search text box.  But, there’s no reason mentioned for me to register.  To even get me to click on that register link, they need to tell me why I should.  Othewise, I’m kinda lost.

So, there’s my justification for giving a 5 for a review of the 2008 Olympics website to be held in Beijing China on August 8-24, 2008.  Many important pieces have been added to give the site its entertainment value and ease of navigation and welcoming warmth.  But, several things as mentioned could be added to get more results.  We’re still in July at the time of this post.  Hopefully they will make some changes by the time I start looking for event schedules.

How would YOU review the Olympics website?  Give it your rating 1-10.  Just fill in a comment below and make sure to put a link to your website or blog.

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Mike Binder:

Lets I would give it a 4 out of 10. There is to many thing that are distracting me and as a designer I cant stand that. They need to be way more direct on the important information and less on the no important information. Every time I see a site like this I think of the book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. I think that more designers and DEVELOPERS should read this book. It will change the way you plane out your sites before you even reach for your mouse, or styles.

July 7th, 2008 | 10:51 am

Great comment Mike. Maybe I was being too generous with a “5″. And, a great book suggestion too. Thanks!

July 7th, 2008 | 11:22 am

I can find tickets, hotels, flights, videos, and online games that are 2008 Beijing Olympics related which would require less thinking than the Official site. My sites are designed to have focus points, and bring the user information as quickly as possible. I think a revision on their site would help out % rates drastically.

August 7th, 2008 | 12:36 pm
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