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  • Any plans for a facelift/redesign?

    I just signed up for a 3month subscription to try out your service and see what you had to offer. I think you folks have a tremendous informational service here and obviously some very dedicated, friendly and knowledgable folks working for you. I especially appreciate how active the staff is on the forums. I'd like to point out though that I find your site design and architecture to be severely lacking.

    I wanted to give some feedback on what you could do to make the service better and maintain a more professional appearance.

    Criticism meant to be constructive :

    1. Spend some time on information architecture. Weight the importance of your sections and place the most important ones in the most valuable real estate. The top 5 tabs "Home, Books, Seminars, Store, Support" are the 5 least used things I use on your site. That real estate could be much better used to direct your users to the information they are trying to get to.

    3. Hire a professional web designer (someone with a design degree) or firm to do a real redesign to look and feel. Consider having professionals do template coding and integration into your CMS.

    4. Integrate a consistent menu across all sections, tools, and content, so that users always know where they are and how they can get to other areas. Currently it feels like you have been doing things piecemeal for a very long time.

    5. Get rid of the tiny blinking ads. Enforce some standards on your advertisers, and don't subject your paying customers to the same annoying ads. It makes the site look unprofessional, which I'm sure makes people pause before they hand over their credit card info.

    6. Bucket your information into appropriate sections. For instance, Books and Seminars shouldn't be their own sections, they should be apart of a "Store" or "Services" section. Rethink organizing your content by days of the week. Its not intuitive from the perspective of an end user searching for a specific topic today.

    7. Consider making your cross/sell and promotional offers less prominent. I'm an online subscriber, who is here for data, but those top 5 links make the site come across as a cheap salesman, who is not satisfied with only my subscription fee. You can sell your services and books, but be a bit more subtle with them. If I want them, I'll find them in a "Store" menu.

    I hope I haven't completely offended you, I realize its a big investment on your part, but your asking your viewers to make an investment in your site - it would be worth it in the long run.

    -Meebo

  • #2
    Man meebo, 2nd post and you are all over the techies here!
    They just did a facelift.
    You should have seen it last year they just had digital photos of handwritten info on big chief lined paper.

    Man Ron's handwriting sucks too!

    This website, may not be the slickest, but you will find the info, invaluable.

    The left side column is where all the meat is located on this site, I hadn't even noticed the tabs on the top (new this year) until you pointed them out.

    I for one do not want a multitude of ads blasted all over the home page. Just the ads for things that would be of great value for roto.
    Ads are only on the home page anyway.

    The days of the week content is spelled out clearly about info within.

    You have to give it a chance to figure out how to get around the site and find specific info, until it becomes second nature.

    You also are going to want to at least go for 6 months, because the in season info is extremely insightful for hidden opportunities.

    CBS Sportsline's website is slick and "professional," but their analysis is pathetic and so off the mark that I find throwing a dart to be more helpful with my decisions.

    I liken the HQ website and info to the message found in the Fountainhead.

    Ron Schandler (aka Howard Roark) does not compromise his creative, fanalytical vision by pandering to the prevailing fad of other roto website designs and simple content.

    HQ's analysis is principled and the performances of players are stripped to their core to find meaning behind the surface stats.

    I don't mind the spartan design, I am here for the meat, unseasoned and plentiful.

    I just wish they had chairs!

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    • #3
      Meebo, I know your comments are well-intentioned and I'm sure they will be taken that way by the HQ crew.

      However, the redesign was done last year after extensive consulting with the users to suit their needs. Your points are well made. The redesign was probably done more with current users in mind rather than attracting new ones, altho I'm sure Ron is interested in the latter as well.

      I also have to say I was drawn to this thread by its title. I thought it was a question being directed to Old Tom.

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      • #4
        It is kinda odd for someone's 2nd post to be telling us what we're doing wrong, though I always appreciate input on all aspects of the site. Clearly, meebo is a professional in the field, but one of the key things I always learned when I was a consultant is that you have to intimately know a client's business before you can even begin to consult. That said, here are a few quick points that meebo would not have known:

        1. We just completed a redesign 6 weeks ago.

        2. It was done after extensive research, surveys, focus groups, etc. For instance, the menu structure was designed specifically around topic areas and not days of the week based on this research. A daily menu is accessible in the Command Center for those who prefer that approach.

        3. Our cross-sells are not ancillary products but key components of the complete package. You will be hard-pressed these days to find an HQ website subscriber who does not also own at least one of our books. That positioning is deliberate.

        4. Baseball HQ has been in existence for 11 years and has carved its niche by avoiding most all cookie-cutter approaches to both content and design. But perhaps most important, our demographic is about 10 years OLDER than the typical web user, which means we have to incorporate larger fonts and other design elements that many other sites would avoid.

        I have been in this business for more than 20 years and most folks know that there is always a method to the madness.
        "Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." -- George Carlin

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        • #5
          Who is John Galt?
          "A republic if you can keep it."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RON@HQ View Post
            But perhaps most important, our demographic is about 10 years OLDER than the typical web user, which means we have to incorporate larger fonts and other design elements that many other sites would avoid.
            Ron you make me sad. Very sad.

            - Signed, "Old Markus"

            PS: If I'm Old Markus does that make Tom, "Older Old Tom"?

            PPS: Meebo, keep the feedback coming. Ron/HQ is outstanding at listening to his customers.
            "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Translation: Try to learn something new every day.
            Leagues: Auction - 15tm Mixed 6x6 ...... Snake - 15tm Mixed 5x5 live, 2x15tm Mixed 5x5 email, 15tm Mixed 5x5 email custom.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RON@HQ View Post
              4. Baseball HQ has been in existence for 11 years and has carved its niche by avoiding most all cookie-cutter approaches to both content and design. But perhaps most important, our demographic is about 10 years OLDER than the typical web user, which means we have to incorporate larger fonts and other design elements that many other sites would avoid.
              Interesting. I don't recall if those demographics were ever published on the site? Would be worth a quick read to understand the BHQ subscriber profile.

              As for larger fonts, I recently got a new wireless mouse/keyboard combo. The mouse has more buttons and features than I use, including one that does a 'zoom' on any current screen. Nine clicks, to the point where "BaseballHQ" in the thread list fills the screen. Sort of nice, in a 10-yrs older than your average web reader kind of way...
              "A republic if you can keep it."

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              • #8
                Yeah, the average age of our subscriber base is right around the beginnings of the bi-focal period. I don't worry about our customers aging out of existence because that average has remained fairly steady for 10 years.

                However, as I turn 50 later this year, it's still tough to look at that number in my rear view mirror.
                "Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." -- George Carlin

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                • #9
                  I'm 60, feel 30, have been with Ron almost from the beginning, love his insights and BBHQ's site, and I'm not going anywhere else. (I just wish the Position Scarcity part of the Custom draft engine was working. It keeps saying Coming, and my draft is March 10).

                  BBHQ is really the only site anyone needs. Anyone who disagrees probably doesn't know everything it offers.
                  The Capitola Brave

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                  • #10
                    I just I noticed I'm classified as a Junior Member. Must be because I don't post here very often. But make no mistake about it, I'm not a Junior member of BBHQ. I doubt there are more than a few subscribers who have been consistently as pleased with the site for as long as I have.
                    The Capitola Brave

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                    • #11
                      "Junior Member" just is the default title for someone with < 100 posts on these forums. You can change it if you like by clicking on "User CP" near the top left of this screen, click on "Edit Profile," and then type in a Custom User Title, then clicking on "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page.
                      "It was grand, to be in control. I felt like I was the baddest lion in the valley." -- J.R. Richard

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RON@HQ View Post
                        Yeah, the average age of our subscriber base is right around the beginnings of the bi-focal period. I don't worry about our customers aging out of existence because that average has remained fairly steady for 10 years.

                        However, as I turn 50 later this year, it's still tough to look at that number in my rear view mirror.
                        There's always Julio Franco to give us inspiration.

                        You know, given that fantasy baseball now has a number of players who have been doing it for 20 years, and assuming HQ keeps rolling along, the inevitable result is that First Pitch Arizona will someday be filled with senior citizens. We can get a discount at the ballparks!

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                        • #13
                          Ah well, i tried not to step on too many toes. Yes I do work in the industry, but no not as a consultant. As I was navigating the forums (a part of the site which I think is handled well) there were quite a few people who were just as lost as I was with the navigation design, so I figured I'd say something constructive. My experience as such is only relevant in that I can hopefully articulate what I think is wrong. Personally when I drop a minimum of $40 on a subscription, I expect a certain level of quality, which I don't particularly feel the site provides at the presentation level.

                          You are absolutely correct though, its MORE important to have the quality content, facts, commentary, statistics etc. I'm suggesting that you've nailed that aspect of your offering and perhaps you could spend more time concentrating on the presentation layer of that content. A comparison to sportsline or espn is a poor one, they're aimed at the lowest common denominator, clearly this site is aimed at a more self-reliant/statistically savvy/older audience.

                          I am also a subscriber to footballguys.com, a site with a similar M.O., and even similar style and look and feel. But they're navigation system in comparison is (and in my opinion) more intuitive, well organized, and consistant. Also their tools are well architected. (not perfect by any stretch, but a fair comparison, and no I'm not affiiliated with them in any way)

                          Its sounds like you actually just went through a redesign, so this is likely a very poor time to make such observations, whether or not they are true. I've expressed my opinion that you still have some work to do, and I'll leave it at that. Thanks for the responses - Meebo

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TOM@HQ View Post
                            You know, given that fantasy baseball now has a number of players who have been doing it for 20 years, and assuming HQ keeps rolling along, the inevitable result is that First Pitch Arizona will someday be filled with senior citizens. We can get a discount at the ballparks!
                            LOL! I can picture it now... FPA in the winter, FPF Chicago in the spring... Yes!
                            "A republic if you can keep it."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't mean to be combative, but I spend $99 per year for the site, and it is the best money I spend on fantasy sports. I do think that after you spend much more time with the site and get used to its look and feel, you will be fine with it. Looks are deceiving, my friend. It's what's inside that counts. And BBHQ has no peers there. There are many pretty faces out there, with shallow insides. BBHQ is a thinking man's baseball site. No fluff. Just hard hitting and provocative baseball information. And much more than information. It's educational, and that is one of it's primary goals...to teach us how to evaluate players. How many of us look at stats the same way we did before BBHQ? I no longer care as much about traditional stat lines as I once did. I'm more concerned with BPIs now. I may sound like an ad man for the site, but I'm just a baseball lover who owes a debt of gratitude to Ron shandler and his staff for making me a much better informed fan, a more successful fantasy player, and actually enhancing my life-long love for the game. I agree with your right to offer constructive criticism as you see fit, but I'm not complaining...not one bit.
                              Last edited by wahlerpc; 03-01-2007, 05:43 PM.
                              The Capitola Brave

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