In my recent rant about news sites that link to content from inside Flash objects, effectively blocking users from opening links in background tabs, I called out ESPN.com as a prime example:
There is a special place in Hell for you in particular, ESPN.com. You entice visitors so seductively with your shiny graphics, strong visual structure, and rich content. Then you release an agonizing flow of liquid turd all over their browsing habits.
Given my graphic criticism of ESPN.com, it’s only fair that today I point out that the newly-launched ESPN.com is completely Flash-free for its content links.
Flash usage seems to have been restricted to video, ads, and the occasional poll. Tabs, carousels, and even the scoreboard atop the page are now controlled via jQuery, ensuring that all contained links are easily-accessible. The ESPN.com team addressed another frustration of the old site by allowing users to set a preference to prevent autoplaying of video.
Congratulations and many thanks to the ESPN.com team for this much-needed redesign. You put your users’ needs first, and I for one will happily give my gratitude in the form of additional visits and pageviews.