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17th March 2006
Melbourne 2006 Website: Could Do (a lot) Better

Frankly, it's not good enough in my opinion. The website is www.melbourne2006.com.au, for those who want to take a look for themselves.
There are three reasons why I say this, and I think all three could (and should) have been sorted out or at least improved before the Games started. It may not seem like a major issue to most people, but for such a massive event in these days of internet domination it is vital that it has a fully functional website with as much information as possible.
My first - and definitely biggest - problem with the website is its search facility. It simply doesn't work properly - I searched with the surname of someone who I knew was competing at the Games and no results were found. However when I brought up the list of people from that country and that sport, they were clearly there. And on some occasions, if I clicked on the 'manually load search results' (or something to that effect) link, it found results, but if I just let it carry on it failed to find any results. Surely this search facility should have been thoroughly tested well in advance of the Games starting.
The second reason is the lack of full results/information, for which I have two examples (although there may well be more). In the swimming 4x100m freestyle relay results, it did not say who the four swimmers were competing for each country - it just had the country's split and final times. Again, it may not seem like a major problem, but if you are looking to follow the progress of a particular swimmer, you can't. In the end, I had to use the Omega Timing website to find the info I was looking for. My other example is the hockey - the squad members of each team were listed with the results, but no indication was given of who actually started/played in the game (apart from statistics on shot success, which only tell you some of the players who featured), even when I clicked on 'starting line-ups'! A similar problem was evident for the rugby sevens.
The third issue I had, which I don't want to make too big a deal out of, as it may have been partially to do with my computer and internet connection, is the slowness of the website. When results and schedules were loading, it seemed to take longer compared to similar websites that I have used. This was not helped by the way the results pages were laid out - for example you might have 'match 15' with no indication of who was playing until you clicked on the link, so finding a particular team/competitor was not easy.
Overall, I just couldn't believe how often I couldn't get the information I wanted from the website. As sports editor of the National Student newspaper, I was looking to get as much info on the performance of students competing at the Commonwealth Games as possible (more than 50 from the UK), but often I had to look elsewhere on the internet or just settle for not getting all the information I wanted. I'm not saying that I personally could've fixed the problems I've mentioned, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who could have - and for what must be one of the biggest sporting events worldwide, I would expect a better website.

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