Keo.co.za is the most visited South African rugby mad blog with a cosmopolitan readership spanning the globe. Winner of the 2008 SA Sports Blog of the Year award, Keo.co.za grows from strength to strength… with one exception, it’s new design.
Recently Keo.co.za was re-designed, and it obviously cost a fair penny, simply because this is the second re-design in the space of a couple months, completed by two web companies.
The first re-design was completed by Ince. The revamped site went live on a sub-domain and feedback was requested. Ince’s re-design, managed by Adii (a now former employee of Ince), made much better use of the web browser window, with an ajax slideshow in the header space displaying some of the main stories that week, along with some nifty sidebar modules. Many comments were posted, some positive, some negative. I liked the wire frame of the new design, but the styling needed just a little more attention.
Highbury Safika Media, the owner of the site, obviously decided the design was not suited for the site and must have pulled the plug on Ince. Then all went quiet, and a few weeks later a new design went live, created by ISO. There was no hype around the new design, I’m not sure even it got mentioned in a post. It could have, but it must have quickly got burried in a heap of Super 14 rugby news.
I’m not a fan of the new design. Why? Because it lacks usability.
It has no search facility, meaning there is no ways of finding specific posts unless you sift through the archives. However, there is no dedicated archives page, just a drop down menu in the sidebar with all the posts presented by month. I don’t know many people who navigate through archived posts month by month.
Once on a single post page, I can leave a comment, but then I have no reason to click through to another post, except by clicking on the home button and finding other summarised articles there. I’m a lazy web surfer, i’m not going to actively go look for more posts to read, I must be presented with a list of other interesting posts to read in the sidebar or below he post.
The styling of the body content could do with some work. The large chunks of post content could be seperated with nicely styled blockquotes, and sub-headers, easily achievable with a bit of css code.
I want to know what the most popular posts have been in the past few months, and which articles have been commented on the most. Engage me in the conversations happening on the site. Don’t litter valuable sidebar area with advertisements alone, encourage click throughs deeper into the site.
Valuable header space is wasted with a big yellow strip across the page. Header links take you to pages with no content, and the “Register” page takes me to the default wordpress registration page. It doesn’t give me information on what I shall gain should i register with Keo.co.za.
The footer space is nicely designed with great sketches of the writers of Keo.co.za, but they serve no purpose. Why not use some simple wordpress code and link each writer’s sketch to posts by that author specifically?
I know this post will probably come across a bit negative, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the site, and I write this because I want it to succeed. This post is meant to be taken constructively. I realise a huge percentage of the site visitors are rugby mad basic web users who would completely overlook any of the functionality I would like implemented, but I am confident Keo.co.za would see a huge increase in click throughs and a longer time spent on the site by the average user should they implement some simple new functionality, easily achievable in wordpress.