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Why I Hate MLB.com’s Navigation

on | 8 Comments

Being a big baseball fan, I find myself perusing MLB.com pretty much daily. And if you read my site regularly, then you already know that.

Here’s something I hate about the way their navigational structure is architected.

I often go to the home page to scan for the most popular news items, or newsworthy stuff that catches my eye. If I don’t find anything to click on, then I might choose the “Standings” link, shown below near the “Stats” link (more on this in a moment):

Standings and Stats on MLB.com's main nav

The standings link, naturally, will let me view current standings for all teams. The other option I might choose on the home page is one of the individual team links, found as part of a drop-down on the right side of the main nav, shown here:

The Team Drop-down

Sometimes, however, I visit the individual team page first, and then I decide I want to view the current standings. So now I see this:

Team page nav

Although the “Stats” link (which I often visit to view individual team stats) is pretty much where it was on the home page, the “Standings” link is nowhere to be found.

The truth is, there are a whole slew of inconsistency issues with the way the navigation bar on the team pages is structured in comparison to the main MLB.com nav bar. But in my case, since the “Stats” and “Standings” links are the ones I visit most often, they serve as sort of guideposts so I can visually track down other things.

So where is the “Standings” link? Well, if I rollover the “Stats” link (which has no visual indication that rolling over it will do wonderful things; but that’s another story), a mega drop-down menu appears, and there is our lost “Standings” link:

Found the standings link

Instead of a primary navigation link, the “Standings” option is now relegated to a barely-visible small-text link that is evidently “related” to the “Stats” section. I can’t think of any reason for the “Standings” link to be considered primary on the home page, but barely tertiary on the individual team page.

The Lesson? Be Consistent.

The MLB.com site has so many problems. Besides the in-your-face advertising (which I can understand) and the clutter (which I can’t understand), the navigation between main site and team sites has so many inconsistencies and issues. This is just one small area that bugs me, because it involves sections of the site that I visit most often.

I understand that the individual team pages might fall under the category of microsites but I think the similarities in design between home page and team pages is too similar for these inconsistencies to exist.

Navigation should be clear and consistent across all sub-sections, and users shouldn’t have to wonder why primary-level links are moving to different areas the deeper you go into the site or web app.

8 Responses

  1. Mike:

    In complete agreement with you. Personally, I’m just not a fan of their site in general. Their home page and most team pages are 10 pounds of stuff in a 3 pound bag.

  2. Thankyou for the case study,

  3. [anonymous]:

    [comment by IP address 88.153.83.69 removed]

    • Joel:

      Oh Wow to the above poster. YOU SUCK, SIR!!! You are so brave that you didn’t even have the courage to post your name. If you have nothing to contribute, why post at all. You are wasting our time!

      I agree with the author. I’m a huge baseball fan and I use the site everyday. One day I was having problems finding a link to WATCH MLBTV archives. They have done a better job with their website this year thou. It used to suck even more.

  4. I hate the size of the site even though you can change it after thirty minutes of searching. The “low-bandwidth” link is up by the freaking languages which just puzzles me. I glanced at that a couple of times which was the worst part. Does the language you choose help the site load faster? If so I’ll start reading it in Chinese.

    Everything is just confusing and it can take ages to find the most simple article. Sometimes I just Google “ESPN” or some other website to find what I wanted to read.

    The biggest problem with the site is the incorrect standings and stats. The Minnesota Twins are 125-0 not 55-70. Then I come to find out Joe Mauer’s average is incorrect to. It never dips below 1. Just saying on a side point.

    On a serious note, as long as I can find my game day link on the site I’m happy since I’ve accepted the fact that the rest of the site is useless and too time consuming.

  5. Jim Miller:

    Lots of interesting points made here. Drop me an email if you like. As i’m developing a UK based MLB shopping site for footwear and clothing. Which will include some team data for this and a social element. Maybe I can put forward a word to sort the main site issues you’ve made. But you might want to give me a fans idea of what you’d add in the site. And use your visitors to help.

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