Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday Night Beer: Omaha.com & Huskers.com Get Makeovers

The Nebraska athletic department and Omaha World-Herald unveiled long-overdue redesigns today, though I give both mixed reviews. Visually both are improvements over the previous design, but both designs seem to waste valuable screen real estate. It's a common error I see with web developers who use the "latest and greatest" equipment. The design of both sites looks great on a high-powered computer with a large monitor...but not so much when you bring it up on older home computers with smaller monitors (or laptops). Both sites waste so much real estate at the top of the page to alleviate clutter on huge monitors that suddenly most users will have to scroll to see anything other than the top headline.

Both sites also seem to be pushing multimedia...whether it's called for or not. A Tom Osborne audio interview on Huskers.com is informative, but most people could read the interview in 1/5th of the time that it takes to listen to it. Osborne discusses bowls as well as what will happen after the FSN TV contract expires after the 2012 season....but doesn't really say anything about what might be changing. Kind of frustrating to spend the time listening to the interview and not really find out anything new.

Don't get me wrong. Good multimedia is great...but the multimedia needs to capture some sort of essence of a special event. The "Bo Pelini Locker Room Speech" does that very well, intermixed with 2008 highlights. It captures the raw emotion that Pelini brings...and couldn't be shared any other way authentically. The Osborne interview...well, offers absolutely nothing that couldn't have been done better with a simple transcript.

Supposedly the Omaha.com redesign is going to support reader comments, but so far, it's only on selected stories. Tom Shatel's column, for example, would be an excellent place for comments, but it's not there. So hopefully he'll catch my comments to today's column here:

The problems the Royals face in sharing Rosenblatt with the NCAA are a good reason for building a new stadium...but not necessarily two. Couldn't you build a stadium with space to accomodate sufficient office space for both the Royals and the NCAA? Certainly would cost less than two stadiums.

Shatel also seems to be picking up on the vibe that UNO athletic director Trev Alberts seems to be looking to make a bid for a big name hire, such as Dean Blais. KETV's Matt Schick posted a transcript to parts of last week's interview with Trev Alberts, where Alberts makes some eyebrow raising statements:
We’d like it to be in the middle of the month of June. We will not rush this decision. It’s too important for our future. We will do all of our due diligence. We’re going to aim for the moon, and try to get the best possible candidate that we can to try to convince him to be our head coach. If that happens soon, great. If it’s later, that’s okay too. We need to get the right fit.
Many people have assumed that UNO would target an assistant coach, but Alberts statement about "aim for the moon" indicates that UNO is shooting higher. No offense to local favorite Mike Hastings, but if Alberts can lasso a coach that has won two national championships such as Blais, that's a huge change in fortunes for UNO. After years of watching UNO's administration stumble and bumble and bungle their way, Alberts seems to be bringing a fresh attitude to UNO.

Tomorrow's announcement that TD Ameritrade is purchasing the naming rights for the downtown stadium is a bittersweet announcement for Omaha. Don't get me wrong; it's a good thing for Omaha and the downtown stadium. It also silences some of the naysayers who still continue to insist that the downtown stadium is a mistake. Yes, it appears that the downtown stadium is not going to be utilized as much as it should be. But the value of the College World Series alone makes it a good deal even without the Omaha Royals playing there.

But it's bittersweet because I still wonder what could have happened in a couple of years. The Ricketts family, who founded Ameritrade and still sit on the board, are finalizing the purchase of the Chicago Cubs. When the Chicago Cubs contract with Raccoon Baseball in Des Moines expires after the 2012 season, it wasn't outside the realm of possibilities that the Chicago Cubs might want to explore a minor league affiliation in another market...especially one where the family business owns the naming rights to a stadium. No, the Iowa AAA baseball team isn't going anywhere...but after 2012, there is no assurance that the Iowa AAA baseball team will be affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. Sadly, with the Omaha AAA baseball team committing to play in BFE Sarpy County for the next 25 years, the chances of the "Omaha Cubs" becoming reality disappeared as well. Sigh. O! What could have been.


A J said...

No way would Des Moines let go of the Cubs without a fight. As many delusional Old-Style drinking wannabes that live in this town..Des Moines has us topped 10 times over. (They've been the Cubs AAA team since 1981)

I see where you're going with Ricketts etc...but the yayhoo bumpkins who fought the Golden Spikes name would most likely step up again in this scenario.

Either way..don't lose sight that the real evil minions of Satan here is Roger Dixon and David Sokol.


Husker Mike said...

MECA gambled that Sarpy County wasn't really a serious threat until it was too late, and it's going to cost the entire metro area dearly.