You can learn a lot about an organization from the quality of their website. Fair? I for example am not a design oriented person, although I would like to be. The idea of changing this template for something unique and original by screwing around with code or risking the download of someone foreign layout gives me nightmares. But in the meantime, you get these free, relatively independent-minded and somewhat regularly updated posts. So, neat trade off, even though you wouldn't know this website from Joseph (or the 24thminute) from the look of it. Plus, I'm just one guy working three jobs at the moment.
Yesterday I spent a great deal of time tinkering with my reader feeds, adding new ones, dropping dead ones, and as such I thought it would be good to add some feeds from the various Provincial Association websites. Let's begin with the capo di capo, the CSA website.
Please, and I'm serious here, if you can find an RSS feed for their news section, send it to me. There isn't even a news page as such, just an article with a drop down bar for archived news items. The items aren't categorized, and most of the items with a few exceptions have been covered in more detail elsewhere. There is also a stodgy feel to the site design in general. The CSA isn't alone in the crappy soccer website department (FIFA's is so awful you know the design was awarded to somebody's relative for about 100 million do—Snip! AMSL Lawyers), but it wouldn't take much investment to get a decent designer to come in and wildly improve the thing.
Intrigued by this crappiness, I went on to carefully examine the other provincial websites (all available on the CSA mainpage), most with garish and crowded CSS styled homepages, almost all without RSS news feeds. Some hadn't updated news in a few weeks (the Yukon's, while relatively attractive, hasn't had news updates since March). Maybe there's not much going on, but even if you have to put up a reminder, or a set of important links, websites live and die on up-to-date content.
The winner? Newfoundland and Labrador. Simple Wordpress layout, all pertinent links boringly but obviously laid out on a blue background, RSS feed clearly available, multiple news items dated to November 3rd. That still isn't saying much though; they don't have a proper domain name ('ehosting' still in there? It's ten bucks a year to get your own domain people), there are some pages with almost no content, and registration dates long past relevance, but at least the basics are there.
What does this tell you about the CSA and the Provincial Associations? In my experience, if an organization with major oversight—in this case, associations responsible for overseeing and regulating the most popular recreational sport in the country—can't or don't know how to go about providing decent, updated web content, readable news feeds, and clear site navigation, it means the organization doesn't have the time, or the wherewithal, or the resources to care.
If an organization can't get something like a website right, what does it tell you about their ability to deal with FIFA directives, changes in the player development models, or problems at the national team level? They might not think their websites are that important, but in the modern age if anyone wants to know anything about an organization, they go to the web first. That includes parents, scouts, prospective national team managers, whoever. Surely it would be a good idea for a) the provincial sites to pitch in and agree on a network-type set up, with at least some attempt at streamlining site designs, and b) working to generate better web content. I guess that means c) it will never happen. This is elementary people.