A day after this week’s new iPod announcements, Sportsnet launched an iPhone/iPod Touch optimized version of their mobile site (sportsnet.ca). Rival Canadian sports network The Score had already done the same back in July on the same day as the Canadian iPhone launch (iphone.thescore.com). How do these two sites compare?
To get a best comparison of page loading, I tested the sites while on 3G. Sportsnet’s site is somewhat image-heavy and was slow to load at first, but was acceptable snappy after, albeit with the occasional “could not load” error. The Score’s site felt quicker. Both sites had glitches with URLs: Sportsnet would fail if I didn’t type in “www.”, and The Score would try, but fail to redirect if I went to “thescore.com” (iphone.thescore.com is the correct address). Mobile users should be able to type as little as possible.
In terms of content, Sportsnet is the clear winner with scores, game summaries, articles, standings, and some limited stats. The Score only had scores and game summaries, but also game previews which Sportsnet lacks. When first visiting, Sportsnet gives you a choice of regions, but it doesn’t seem to change anything except the interface colour. The Score had a setting for default league and time zone, and also the ability to pick a favourite team, which would then be highlighted in any view.
On both sites, there were many places where quite small font sizes were used when they could have been much bigger. Also with both sites, there was no visible option to go to their non-mobile sites. In both cases, these mobile sites contained only a fraction of the content availible on their regular sites. The iPhone has the best browser on any mobile devices; making these optimized sites for it is helpful, but not necessary. Further, if “optimized” means “dumbed down”, then I’d probably prefer your regular site.
Conclusion: Sportsnet has more content overall and an overall nicer site, but you may prefer The Score’s site if you’re just interested in scores. Both of the sites have much room for improvement.