Monday, April 2, 2007

ESPN’s 36 Notions of Interaction has been constantly evolving their homepage for the last few years. Some of the widgets on their homepage use dynamic, cutting edge technologies. Cool stuff. I wonder how their design/development teams are set up and what lifecycle they use to deliver new homepage components. They seem to deliver new things at a rapid pace.

One of the aftereffects of this may be the large number of link/button designs on the page. I counted 36 different styles, 32 from ESPN and 4 by Advertisers. I didn't bother to address any of the mouseover states which are very different as well. The image at the left is a screen grab with the buttons circled.

I then cut them out and assembled the following montage which gives you a better idea of the range of designs. I tried to sort them by similarity:

I’m wondering if this hurts its usability. There certainly is a lot going on all over this page. It would be interesting to test what gets clicked on against a design that had only 5 styles of interaction. Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice comes to mind. He has an example of when giving people many more choices to sample, they make the decision to buy at a much lower percentage than if you give them fewer. I wish I had the time to mock up a stripped down design in Photoshop.

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