Webby Award Review

A Webby Award is a prestigious achievement for any web designer as it signifies excellence on the Internet. This award has been around for ages and is considered the oldest Internet-oriented awards; often compared to the Oscars of the Internet. Every web designer or team aims to be in contention for this award, and only two winners are selected from each of the five categories. The award winner that will be analyzed in this writing will be mercedesbenzstadium.com, who was one of the winners from the ‘Game’ category. Much like the committee who chose this website to win, I will be breaking down the accessibility, design elements, and the message behind the website.

            This website pertaining to the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA helps the stadium as a whole, advertise their events aside from the sporting events that are already held there. Beginning on the top of their home page, there are drop down menus categorizing the different avenues the user can take. Anybody beginning on the homepage can learn more about the stadium, plan a visit, purchase tickets for the two major sports teams they host (Atlanta Falcons & Atlanta United FC), and also explore the other events the stadium hosts throughout the year. The drop down menus then break off into smaller tabs that can specify the avenue a user is looking for. Below the drop down menu is a scroll across menu of upcoming events the stadium is hosting, and how to purchase tickets. This feature is used as a shortcut to sales as it is right in the users face directly from the start. While viewing the home page, 4 out of the 5 options were ticket sales to specific events. To further engage the users interest in visiting the stadium, they offer different types of in-person tours ranging anywhere from architecture/engineering, art, and technology tours. In this section of the website, the design team added a visually pleasing drone overlook of the entire stadium to pull in the users attention. Continuing to scroll down reveals a list of recently released news pertaining to the stadium. They are ordered by date with the newest stories coming first. The website then continues on to promote its featured events, the major league sports teams it hosts (Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United). At the very bottom of the page, there is a gallery for photos and videos. This adds variety to the website by adding different modes of media for the user to engage with.

            Moving away from the aesthetics of the website, the focus now turns onto the websites message and if it reaches the audience they are targeting. Every web design team’s goal is to make their website accessible to the largest audience possible. This means accommodating the blind, deaf and other physically disabled people. Websites that offer alternative text like this are often considered the best designed. While running mercedesbenzstadium.com through a web accessibility checker, there was a significant amount of errors and alerts. Some of the main errors that were present on the website were links that didn’t accompany text. If a blind person were to enter the website with an alternative text reader, those links would be unknown to them because they don’t offer the necessary text. Another small, but noticeable issue are some small logos on the website aren’t specific when it comes to the alternative text. Logos like the Final Four, SEC Championship, and the College Football National Championship are all labeled with just ‘Logo’. The alternative text doesn’t specify which logo represents what event and that could be an issue to its accessibility. Aside from alternative text, the shortcuts offered throughout the website especially on the homepage act as useful tools to users attempting to navigate. The drop down menus at the top of the page act as a highway for all the features that the website offers. Looking at the options from the eyes of a user who may not be tech savvy, the website does a great job at breaking down the menus into sub-menus to specify the search for the user. If for some reason the user cannot find what they’re looking for in the drop down menus, they have other options to find their destination. Scrolling down the home page is a solid option considering it offers insight into all the website offers, with clear, bold headlines. To cut ones search time in half, the website offers a search bar that is necessary in a site with this much content. This search bar is key for users who don’t know how to efficiently navigate a website, or for those who want to utilize the website quickly and leave. 

            In a world where large scale events like concerts and professional/amateur sports championships are a commodity, there needs to be venues that can host these high traffic events. State of the art stadiums like AT&T Stadium and Mercedes Benz Stadium were created to host not only sporting events, but other happenings that induce high traffic of people. Along with the challenge of building these stadiums, comes the art of marketing this stadium to a new audience of people. This website does an incredible job of letting the users know that they are more than a sports-hosting venue. Referring back to the layout of the homepage, the first things user see are the advertisements for concerts by Ed Sheeran and Supercross event taking place in upcoming months. Users who aren’t visiting the website for the purpose of sports, can clearly see the venue hosts more than sporting events. The website clearly markets to the audience of sports fans, consumers of entertainment, and even the individuals who are interested in the overall construction of the massive stadium; in thanks to the stadium tours who focus solely on the architecture and technology of the building. Looking at this site as a fellow web designer, it gives me insight into the design of my own website. The sleek design of this website, with the smooth moving drop down menus and scroll across menus, make me want to do a similar design on my website. When I first view this website, the first word that comes to my mind is ‘luxury’. The dark colors, combined with the sleekness and the fact that the stadium is partnered with Mercedes Benz- a luxury car. I want to mirror my design like this one so viewers of my site take my content more seriously. The design on a website is key in promoting the content and having users engage themselves. This website is very relatable to the content we have gone over in class. The accessibility apparent in this website is similar to the methods we went over on how to implement into it into our own websites. Another simple element in this website are the drop down menus, helping categorize the content and making it easier for the user to navigate their way around the website. 

            The website mercedesbenzstadium.com is a well deserving recipient of a Webby Award. The design alone puts them above its competition with the overall sleekness of the website. The visually pleasing menus, color scheme and amount of images and videos all add to the experience the user gets when they enter the website. The accessibility could use work but possess the basic elements for accommodating to users with certain disabilities. With a changing culture of increased concerts/events with large amounts of people, the audience for their venue has grown. The web design team has done a terrific job at making this website enjoyable for different groups of people, and not just fans of sports. Overall, this website is an experience a user won’t get on many other websites. The Mercedes Benz Stadium website conveys a luxury feeling that makes the user feel wanted and important. The Webby Award committee were successful in choosing this website for the winner in their ‘Sports’ category. 

First thing users see when entering the website
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