ABC recently redesigned the All My Children, General Hospital and One Life to Live webpages at ABC.com. Here is my review.
ABC Daytime Landing Page
ABC's redesign has eliminated the daytime landing page at abc.com/daytime. Instead, unlike the content rich at cbs.com/daytime and nbc.com/daytime, visitors will find a bland listing of ABC shows. Once a visitor clicks on the name of a show things improve.
ABC has taken pains to make each show's page visually appealing. Each show's landing page features a background skin customized to that particular soap. ABC has placed significant emphasis on its video content. It is now the first thing that draws the visitor's attention. They have also included a nifty flash content and menu block at the bottom of each page.
As mentioned earlier, video content is important to ABC. Unfortunately, just like at SOAPnet, the video starts automatically. If you aren't visiting to watch video content this can be annoying and you have to either mute it or turn it off. Occasionaly, this is easier said than done. If you are trying to mute an ad and click on the volume icon to stop the audio it doesn't always mute. Instead, it acts as if the visitor has clicked on the ad and opens another window or tab.
One nice feature is the video galleries that can be found by clicking the Video link in the show’s classic menu. However, ABC’s video inventory isn’t as extensive as CBS.com. The ABC shows would benefit greatly from daily sneak previews, such as can be found at CBS.com.
Actor and Character Bios
The actor bios are include the basics of what a visitor might be looking for. They better than those at CBS.com and NBC.com, but in are severly lacking when compared to Wikipedia or Soap Central. This probably doesn’t matter for newer characters, but for characters with long histories, such as Victoria Lord Davidson, it is almost glaringly void of details.
Like CBS and NBC, ABC is lacking in their recap content. What ABC does right is include large, visually appealing images with their recaps. Each recap has two images, which is nice compared to the tiny images used at CBS.com. However, in order to include the two images per recap they have to split a 138 word recap into two pages so that one image appears on each page. As pictured above, this can leave very little text on each page. In terms of actual text ABC’s recaps are better than those at CBS.com, but less informative than those at NBC.com
ABC has beefed up its photo galleries. It now features actor and episode photo galleries that visitors can browse to find images of their favorite soap star or character. These galleries include current and classic images of each character. In the Matthew 101 gallery for One Life to Live's Matthew Buchanan gallery you will find images of Nora holding him as a baby, Nora confronting Lindsay, Matthew and Nora on a camping trip and an image of Eddie Alderson and Kristen Alderson posing as children, among others. This attention to each character’s visual history is great for any fan wanting to take a trip down memory lane.
ABC has also made the photo galleries interactive and viral. Visitors can comment on the images or share links on Facebook and MySpace etc.
Visitors who appreciate websites heavy in Flash will enjoy the large, visually appealing, menu block at the bottom of each show page. Personally, I’ll get more use out of the “classic” show menu at the top of each of page, when I’m looking for something quickly. However, as Flash menus go it is superior to those at CBS.com and NBC.com.
In summary, ABC’s redesign is an improvement over its previous format. However, since ABC’s is so focused on having visitors watch video content it would be benefit them to improve their selection.