The official F1 site has, over the years, seen more than a good share of changes. Year after year I was visiting it, hoping to be something usable and pleasant. Alas, it wasn’t the case. From the Flash-all-over-the-place stages to the designed-for-640px - this site had all the signs of a site being designed by agencies going for bling-bling instead of usability and friendliness.
It was so horrible, that I often went to f1-live.com, because official site rarely offered anything interesting or up to the minute news. The only usable thing was a race countdown. The track and driver’s information were fine, but often so poorly executed that I had no inclination to read through.
Imagine my surprise when Damir sent me an IM how come you have not commented on the new F1 site. The current site is almost fantastic. It finally uses a decent amount of screen real-estate. It has normal columns with just the right use of whitespace in between. Design is clean with the right amount of speed spiciness, navigation is understandable and well organized. Underlying code is XHTML Strict and the whole layout makes heavy use of CSS.
They have not stopped with technicalities and graphics - the content is a-must-read. I spent half a day reading through Hall of Fame articles. Gerald Donaldson writes with so much passion and wit that I couldn’t stop grinning every second paragraph. It’s passages like this that drives you to explore the site and look for more:
He affected an aura of bravado and cut a dashing figure to match. With his flowing moustache, untamed mane of long blond hair and swaggering walk he resembled a swashbuckling pirate who might plunder and pillage for pleasure. He used his car like a sword, swinging it about ferociously, cutting a swathe through the corners, kicking up dust, grass and tyre smoke and carving great chunks of time out of each circuit.
(On Keke Rosberg, 1982 F1 champion)
This section alone is a prime example of copy-writing being the important part of the overall site quality, just like good design and technical fluency.
Web site is not perfect and there are some stuff that could be changed, but I don’t want to nit-pick - I’m gonna read the rest of the Hall of Fame articles instead.