The Dallas Mavericks have a problem. I'm not talking about Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I'm not talking about the playoffs or our hopes in the off season to make good use of our cap space. I'm talking about the team's website. I made an offhand comment about it on Twitter last year, but it should be repeated. The Dallas Mavericks website is ugly, ugly, ugly. I took a screen capture of it last night. Look at that mess. At first glance, does it even look like a basketball website? Even worse, when you first visit Mavs.com, you get a pop-up window for MavsGear. Close the window and there's a "Playoff Central" website before you arrive at the actual website. If it were possible, "Playoff Central" is even uglier than the main site. I have no clue what to click or how to escape (hint: look up top). No focal point with a random mess of text, images, videos, ads, and half-attempts at social networking-- the user experience is almost abusive.
I realize the NBA wants uniformity among franchise sites, but not every website is as garish as the Mavs. The Knicks and Nets have good sites--cleaner layout, less obtrusive advertising, and better flow. Let those team sites serve as a model.
I love my Dallas Mavericks, and they deserve better. Whoever is in charge of the website needs an intervention. The front office wants to squeeze as much ad money as possible from the team's website, but at what cost?
Beyond the obnoxious ad placement, let's talk about the banner. The title banner for any website is sacred. Clean it up. Move or remove the account manager login. Move the Twitter follow button (all the social networking can be conveniently grouped in one section above or below the banner or farther down). Move or remove the season tickets ad. I know you want to sell season tickets, but it's okay to have some space on that title banner. It will make the content you want to highlight easier to highlight. A lot of these buttons, banners, and links are redundant.
Ultimately, bad design results from an inability to make a decision, to focus and determine priorities. The problem can be best summarized with this well-known YouTube video: Microsoft re-designs the iPod packaging.