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THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA GUIDE EXPERIMENT. | metsgrrl.com

THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA GUIDE EXPERIMENT.

ADDENDUM ADDED regarding the plain vanilla PDF version

As some of you may be aware, the Mets didn’t send out media guides to season and plan ticket holders this year, claiming that as part of MLB’s ‘green initiatives,’ they would make an electronic version available.

And then, we waited. And we waited. And we waited.

We waited while other teams made their media guides available online. We waited while writers who have access to MLB Press Pass had access to an electronic version of the Mets media guide. It was available. Just not to us.

I wanted my media guide. I use them. Every year, the package would arrive with the tickets and we would immediately open the media guides and dive into them. That’s the thing the Mets absolutely did not understand – because they are so completely out of touch with the fans, they don’t understand that PEOPLE USE THE MEDIA GUIDES. I remember being at BP at Shea in 2007 or 2008, and some scrubino was out taking BP, and when someone asked who it was, this 12 year old in front of me turned and very seriously said, “Don’t you read the media guide?”

But fine. Electronic. I get it. I know that the NHL, for example, distributed their media guides via DVD this year. I may not have an ebook reader yet but I know I will some day, despite the piles and piles of books you will trip over when you come to visit my house.

So where was it? The season started with nary a peep about it. I asked about this every time I went to the ballpark. I asked every time I had occasion to call the Mets for some reason. I kept being told “we’re working on it”. Since they knew they were going to do this – the decision had to have been made in the off season – why were they not prepared for it? (Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to tell me they were busy with other things like player acquisition, the same people who didn’t get us Felipe Lopez are not the same people who were working on how they distribute the media guide.) I even wrote a letter to the Mets, because I honestly started to believe that they were just going to wait and hope that no one ever complained about it.

The link came today – finally – and it is not a success.

I anticipated that we would be getting a PDF, or some ebook, and in some fashion we are. What I didn’t anticipate was that whoever at MLBAM was in charge of the implementation of this thing (probably the person in charge of those horrifically unusable new dropdown menus on all the MLB web sites) would have absolutely zero regard for what online professionals refer to as UX, or user experience. If I was evaluating this project at work, I would not approve it, because it has horrible UX. In fact, I would even say it has very low usability.

Why? Because they have embedded the document in an iframe – a website frame – that is not as wide as the book is wide, and not as tall as the book is tall. Instead of being able to read a page in its entirety, you have to scroll back and forth and up and down more than a user would normally expect to do in this type of situation, in a fashion one would not ever want a user to experience. I would fire a designer who handed me this and told me that it was done. I would say that it is basic, minimum usability to present the book in a frame that allows it to be read in a normal fashion. Yes, the document is searchable – which of course the dead tree version is not – but it’s very difficult to use the way it has been implemented.

While you can increase and decrease the size of the page, the size at which an entire page fits in this poorly conceived iframe is unreadable.

Picture 2
This is the exact size on the screen.

Fine, I thought, it’s hosted on Scribd – a perfectly acceptable online document service – I’ll just go read it there. There’s a link to the document at the top of the page it’s embedded into.

Except that you can’t, because the Mets have disallowed access.

Picture 3

Fix this, please. Fix it. There is no reason it has to be framed into the Mets’ web site in this fashion, or if it does for some reason I cannot fathom, give us another way to read it. Fix it. Make it useful, make it usable, or just don’t bother. Right now this is lip service.

ADDENDUM:

I received a copy of the media guide in PDF format. (I am unsure of the legalities of distributing further and I also couldn’t handle the bandwidth, so I can’t send it on.) Without the idiotic embedded website presentation, the PDF of the media guide is a very, very useful document. I like the searchability. No, it’s not something I can read before bed and I need the new iPhone OS before I can read it on my phone, but I could absolutely live with this format of media guide if they distribute it to us exactly like this.

I heard that they are going to be selling thumb drives with the media guide on it (which is where I suspect this one came from) and I would wholeheartedly recommend this format, provided the price was not ridiculous.

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