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Sites for sore eyes (Part 3) // Another look at the presence of F1 driver's on the web

Published by Christine Blachford

This is part three of our driver websites review, looking at the good, the bad and the pointless. Check out the first two parts here, and here, and then we can get started with the next five. As ever, I’m approaching it from the fan viewpoint, checking on navigation and content, whilst the geeky one posts his usability and technical thoughts in italics.

Jarno Trulli

Jarno's site

The homepage isn’t exactly pretty, but there’s nothing overtly horrible about it either. There are some good photos on the site, and the Toyota video feature is there as well. There’s also information about the kart that he has helped developed – which I knew nothing about! I do like that the background image is selected at random on each load.

Wow, that really is some awful music Jarno's playing there. The audio is doubly annoying on this site because it crushes any video you try and watch. It's easy to turn off, but who thought it was a good idea in the first place?

The rest of the site is okay, despite being flash only. The news section appears to be just a long list of Toyota press releases and there are far too many colours present on the homepage, giving the place a claustrophobic feel. The videos on the media page are unfeasibly small too, surrounded as they are by so much blank space.

Timo Glock

Timo's site

Now, I instantly dislike this page because it’s yellow, and yellow tends to hurt my eyes. However, I persevered for the sake of the exercise, but I didn’t really get very far. It seems like everything there is to look at is on the homepage already, so one glance and you’re done.

Timo's another driver who's opted to piggy back on a commercial site, forsaking his own domain name in the process.

This site takes forever to load and it's not just the homepage either. Clicking a link brings up an animated timer which serves no purpose other than to annoy. At the same time the page layout flips around like some sort of demonised rubik's cube, before proceeding to display the same information, only in a slightly different order.

Sébastien Bourdais

Sébastien's site

The site is really simple and easy to navigate which makes a refreshing change! It’s also got plenty of pictures and info – I like the brooding one on the home page (that may just be me, though). There’s a forum that’s in French but seems to have plenty going on. Really, any site that has a heading called Goodies is fine by me.

Possibly the best welcome of any site so far. The opening video requires flash, but it's perfectly possible to get where you're going without it. I like that the branding is in keeping with Toro Rosso's livery, but isn't flamboyant or excessive in any area.

This is the cleanest looking website I've seen in a long while. Absolutely devoid of any clutter, whilst links to Google Maps of each circuit are a welcome addition. News still is lacking the personal touch though, as it's yet more press release material.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian's site

The English page is currently under construction, which is fair enough, except I couldn’t get back to the German page once I’d gone there.

Nothing says "Welcome" like a gigantic red cross and the word error painted across your screen in bold type does it? Makes you wonder why the there's a link to an English version of the site at all?

Life on Seb's site gets more confusing if you look at the German version, because the entire of the news section is written in English. The remainder of the pages are fine in terms of layout and content, but I do wonder if the central band of animated photography wouldn't have been better served as static images, and I can't shake the feeling as I'm browsing that the whole design is just waiting to be re-branded with the Red Bull logo.

Jenson Button

Jenson's site

The site is very pretty, but to be honest, I spent a lot of time rolling over things going: "Ooh, that moves as well!" without actually looking at what was there. I think it’s one of those sites that while it has some good information underneath, the abundance of Flash makes it hard to find everything. The helmet competition is fun... oh wait, we did that already.

Your name's not on the list, you're not coming in. Jens has a flash only site and without it you're left looking at a plain white screen. Once over this obstacle though the site is well laid out and easy to navigate. I especially like the stats window that pulls out from the right-hand side. While I was watching three other users were also viewing the site, although the distance didn't appear to update in the way it suggested it should, maybe it's broken at the moment?

I get the impression Jenson actually cares about this site. The fan pictures section is a nice addition and Button has by far the best videos of any driver we've looked at so far. If you include his audio diaries, I suspect this benchmark will take some beating. I like that the Trackside section represents such a detailed look at circuits too.

If I have one criticism, it's that the convoluted transitions take far to long to execute, I was willing them to be over sooner. Not for the first time I'm torn with the rating of this site, I love what's inside, but getting there is too inaccessible.

Three quarters of the way through now. We've trawled through the highs and lows of the internet so far, and there's still plenty more to come. Join us for part four where we look at the last five driver sites.

All content in the series Website Reviews 2008




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