New WRC website, the things I like, hate and absolutely cannot stand about it
The new official website of the World Rally Championship. I like it and I think it’s miles better compared to the old one. New site is better looking, modern and fresh, also it’s in line with some of the trends in the web design and interface industry these days. The fact that it’s regularly maintained, or more regularly than before, also deserves praise – or not, because it’s only natural that website dealing with major sporting series is expected to be full of news and other up to date information. Overall, good job on the redesign and rebuild, but it’s not 10/10. Websites rarely are.
There are some things that irritate the hell out of me, and I’m not the only one complaining about certain elements. Sometimes designers and builders expect visitors to follow the predetermined set of rules and logic if they want to use some parts of the site. The problem is, what works for designer and UI developer may not work for end user. For example, the dreaded split times, the bread and butter of modern day WRC excitement and the one thing modern WRC crews cannot live without (it seems). If so much depends on splits, then they should be fully functional, meaning you should be able to sort the standings by drivers, at least. Another example – there should be a one click instant access option for reaching the live results & coverage section of the site during the event. I know (!) there are slides in the homepage rotator and those slides contain a tiny “banner” leading you to the live site, but really? The “banner” leading to live section should be available on every page, maybe make it active only during weekend and have it lead to live event section with all the results, splits, radio links, etc. Speaking of radio – don’t you think it should be possible to put a button somewhere on the site, I dunno, maybe on top with all the social icons, and have this button lead you directly to radio page? What’s the reasoning against that? No matter how advanced and up to date new site may be, WRC Live radio still beats the crap out of it during WRC weekends with the very latest information delivered right from the stages – surely that makes radio extremely important and as such it justifies having a button or a tiny banner, icon even, available globally on every page of this new WRC site?
In general, important things should be easily accessible. For me, one of the important things is the access to the results, stage times, splits, etc. of the latest event, even though that event took place two or three weeks ago. If you follow the logic, or at least my logic, you would click on Results, but instead of being redirected to, well, some kind of a results page, you’re presented with the championship standings page. In order to reach results of the Rallye Monte Carlo, for example, you must click on Calendar, and then on Monte Carlo before you can see the results. Sure, calendar with links to actual events is much better than the passive list of events with no interactivity, but I believe latest WRC event should also be accessible through global or at least direct link on the homepage. Take a look at how Formula1.com does that.
There are other bits and pieces of the new site that still need some more work and polishing, but in general I do like the direction. What I DON’T LIKE are the ads. ADS! Seriously, this blog thing can have ads. Some WRC related media website can and will have ads, because they do not generate income from WRC’s official partners and sponsors, but why oh why do we have ads on the WRC.com is beyond me. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m seeing everything here – from charity for abandoned children to products from Amazon being advertised on WRC.com. Yeah, at least it’s not Google Adsense, right? Wrong. Ads have no place on WRC.com, no excuse to have them, none. If they generate enough income, then great, it means site is popular and WRC Promoter should use that to sign another sponsor or two. If there is no profit to be had from ads – why are they here then? Are they some kind of compensation for some services provided by one of the sponsors or IT partners? Well who cares – this is World Championship series and if Formula 1, WTCC or European Rally Championship can do without ads then sure enough WRC can as well! You know how advertising networks are known to tailor ads to your needs? Well why am I seeing this particular ad, featuring a little girl and asking me to help a noble charity cause? Am I a child molestor? Is WRC a sponsor of this charity? Or is it purely random?
Oh, and one other thing. In 2014 why are media required to send email in order to get access to information about the accreditation procedures and regulations? Is this piece of info secret? I’m sure it’s somewhere out there, on FIA.com perhaps, but why not put it on WRC.com as well?
Official website of the World Rally Championship – www.wrc.com