For the past week, I've been obsessed with watching the Olympics, and like so many people across the world, I am most keen on women's gymnastics and the U.S. men's swim team. I want to see Michael Phelps get his 8 gold medals in Beijing and I wanted to see Nastia Liukin win the all-around. Michael's got 7 and Nastia surprised everyone, including herself, with her win in the all-around.
I was so excited to see that NBC had created so much incredible content and integrated so much functionality into their Olympics website. Sadly, the organization is so frustrating that after a few visits of endless clicking, I've all but given up on trying to figure out the televised schedule. And that's the trouble with an abundance of great content - all of a sudden the management and organization of it becomes just as critical as the information itself.
I was surprised that NBC didn't think through the site design more thoroughly. NBC had so much time to plan out how they would cover these games that the expectations of fans skyrocketed, mine included. I wanted it to be a piece of cake to navigate the website and find exactly the content I was looking for with barely any effort on my part. If anything, I've had to spend much more time sorting through the site and rarely find what I am looking for. I guess the network doesn't hold simplicity in very high regard.
I take my hat off to the content creators of that Olympics website and to the many reporters who are contributing to the coverage; what the network really needed was a simplicity expert who actually understands how to use new media. With a once-in-a-lifetime event like these Beijing Games, it's a shame that the executives didn't see that for themselves. It's not abut throwing as much information in there as possible - this isn't a flea market or a treasure hunt - and they certainly had enough money to do it right. Here's hoping that they'll learn from this error in time to make adjustments for their 2010 and 2012 coverage.