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):
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:
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:
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:
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.