Friday, 17 October 2014

VolvoOceanRace website stumbles behind Microsoft.

Over the last week, I am looking at the VolvoOceanRace website, for relevant information for my sailing hobby, including the Virtual sailing game(VORG). 

First thing that reflects is the New Design of the VolvoOceanRace website. 

The New VolvoOceanRace Website

What do You think of this New VolvoOceanRace website? 

I think it is terrible bad, irritating and with a lack of information for sailors. 

The most irritating to me is the large flipping tiles, that contain no clue what it the story behind it, until you move your mouse over it. I wonder how people with a touch screen have to use this, move your finger all over the screen to search for something that could be of interest? It reflects clearly a blind following of Microsoft O.S. with their failed Windows 8 version. Well in case VolvoOceanRace organization is not aware, Microsoft have thrown the towel in the ring and abandoned their W.8 tile design. In the announced new version Windows 10, the better Start menu re-appears such that a computer becomes again a productivity tool. The tile-pictures are very little informative as to what sits behind those tiles. 
My first thought was: a “keyword” written on the tiles would be a great improvement already. Can that be done? 

VolvoOceanRace Website: Articles

YES, as when you have found the folder with Articles, suddenly you see that the tiles have names and a short description; that helps already a lot in useless flipping over all the tiles before you find what you are looking for; and VOR themselves show the improvement already. 

VolvoOceanRace org., take an example on Microsoft, who turned away from the tiles only design and VOR change your Website, asap, to a better design; than the 2014-15 Website would be a huge improvement already. 

As a sailor, I open the VolvoOceanRace website, on-going now, to read on the status of the VO65 Boats race, their position, their coordinates, the wind situation both strength and direction, some story on the sailing done, and analyses of progress; hopefully also some views on which boats have better strategies with the wind forecasts, though all Boats till now have same strategy and sail close together. However, the New VolvoOceanRace website lacks the basic information on their own VOR Sailing Race. There is no button on the main menu for the status of the Race, some information can be found hidden under a menu icon, like the dashboard and watch log. The watch log is a daily description of the Boat performances, but with very little analyses and explanations; Mark Chisnell writes a far better sailing report. 
The menu FOLLOW, is a wrong name as it does not follow the Boats, nor the Race, but gives only some links to Social Media. 

There is still space for an extra Menu button, called RACE, which could include both the dashboard, the watch log and the virtual eye even a Leaderboard for the Overall Ranking. 
On the status of the Boats there is only one place that offers most of the information and that is the Virtual Eye, which you can find by clicking the “Full Tracker” on the dashboard screen. 
This virtual eye offers all a sailor needs, be it that the coordinates of the boats are deep hidden in the details, that open only when a boat is clicked on. The Virtual Eye gives further indeed a lot of information, on wind, isobars, and currents . The list of Boats suggest that the order is from top to bottom without an indication. Showing the % of completion in a Leg is not very information, I would prefer to see there the DTLC, it is a race for points in the end. 
The simple dashboard has no real information, apart from the order of Boats and DTLC, but no coordinates, no information on wind direction only wind strength; well sailing is all about wind, both strength and direction and a forecast to make some interesting proposals for heading and sail choice; nothing of this in the dashboard. Yes the Temperature of sea-water, nice info but not required to win a sailing race. 

A leaderboard is missing, at least so far I have not found one, did You? The only table I have seen is on Youtube, a minute at the end of the Alicante In-Port race. 

Is there anything Good at all? Yes, there is. 
The page on TEAMS is informative and looks complete with proper details on the team, links to their own websites and information on the Team-sailors. 
Also the information on the BOAT, with links to video's during the construction phases is very interesting and informative. 
The ROUTE button shows a view on the route for the whole VOR 2014-15. A click on either a Leg or an In-Port race will bring some new screen with details on the Leg or In-Port city and race. It could however be better, as the Map on Route Leg1 is in-complete as an essential sailing mark at Fernando de Noronha is missing. Luckily that Mark is indicated on the dashboard, where also a Mark at Gibraltar is shown, that again is not an official mark in the race. 
To end with a positive note, the HISTORY menu brings a time-line that offers a lot of details of interesting information of the VolvoOceanRace, starting with the Whitbread races. 

I hope that VolvoOceanRace organization wakes up and brings some improvements to their website and follow Microsoft again to do away with the irritating tiles and improves the information so much interesting for Sailors. It is not too late, as the VOR is not a week on, and it will make a lot of Sailors much happier followers of your VolvoOceanRace Website. 

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