Mariaworld.net is a website dedicated to Maria Sharapova, a famous female tennis player from Russia. The website is probably created by one of her fans. The author stated clearly that the site is not related to Maria or her agents.
Form and Function
The website is very interesting and contains everything you want to know about Maria Sharapova. By browsing through the content, I felt that the author has done a great deal of research on the tennis superstar. The greatest challenge of a fan website site is to be updated regularly and mariaworld.net has certainly done a good job in keeping the readers informed about the latest happenings of Maria Sharapova. In the index page, there are images and latest updates of maria and I was expecting a link to the article page or “read more” link in each of the updates but could not find any. The author is probably updating the site manually and it could be tedious in time to come.
From my experience, a fan or idol website is not hard to design. The tip is to work hard on the visuals. A picture tells a thousand words and many people are more interested to look at pictures of their heros or idols. Webpages that contain long text descriptions are best accompanied by pictures as well. The website has alot of images of the tennis player in different competitions but the articles of Maria Sharapova contain purely text (image 1). The author might want to add some pictures to the articles as well.
Though the site is very informational, I thought that the information could have been better organised. For example in the photo gallery, the long list of competitions could have been broken down into smaller sections with thumbnails (image 2). Navigating each gallery with the right menu can be confusing as well (image 3). It might be a better idea to provide a navigation path near the header or footer. I also realised that every thumbnail in the galleries appeared to be squashed.
I would like to propose a change in the ordering of the top menu. To me, updates are important and should be placed with higher importance. The author might also consider implementing a sub-menu system. For example, if there are submenus for “results”, the users can choose between “singles”, “doubles”, or “exhibition” straight away.
The layout of the pages should be consistent. I discovered that some pages have adwords on the header while some don’t. Some pages have centralised content while some are left aligned (image 4). These problems could be solved easily by implementing a templating system.
In conclusion, mariaworld.net is a one-stop website that contains all the information you want to know about Maria Sharapova. The website contains a huge library of images and statistics of all the matches that Maria played over the years. I hope that the site could be much more organized and probably database driven(to save the author’s maintenance time) in time to come. As a tennis addict myself, I would like to give credit to the author of the website for being so dedicated and consistent in updating the site.