I am a frequent watcher of competitive League of Legends, and frequently encounter a UI issue which is often so bad as to ruin the entire experience. Especially due to the internationally focused nature of the sport, events I want to watch often occur when I am unavailable. In order to watch them, I need to go to the site which hosts replays of the events. Sadly, this site is designed in such a manner that it is a struggle not to accidentally spoil the outcome while navigating to the replays.

The first, most significant problem is the sites landing page. Especially when visiting this site a couple days after an event, it is common for feature stories on the sites landing page to reveal the outcome of these events. If one isn’t careful to avoid reading the main contents of the page, results will immediately be revealed. As highlighted below, the results of the recent summer finals are shown on the page (C9 W, CLG L), and when the event was more recent the results were even more prominent.

Even for people who manage to avoid reading a large portion of the home screen, however, there is another large pitfall. When looking for previous games to watch, it would seem logical to go to the page dedicated to the specific league one is trying to view. But going to the below highlighted “NA LCS” tab, dedicated to the North American competition, will immediately and unavoidably reveal the results of recent games. Instead, to watch unspoiled games, the user needs to be able to intuitively go to nearly the last tab, the underlined “Vods” tab, all while avoiding looking closely at the screen so as not to see the homepage.

These issues undermine learnability for new users and ease of use even for more experienced ones. Someone who wants to view replays without spoiling them will almost certainly fail on their first attempt, since the site so prominently displays results. And even for users who understand the pitfalls, a brief lapse in focus can lead to accidentally reading the front page headlines.

I think the designers of the site simply did not consider this use case, or if they did they put insufficient thought into it. From the standpoint of someone who has already seen the games, the site is excellent, as it quickly brings relevant content (summaries of the games, and explanations of standings) to the forefront. But in order to accomplish this, it sacrifices users who do not want to be presented with this content. I believe they are wrong to ignore this segment, especially given its size: roughly the same number of people have watched the replay video as watched the livestream of the recent summer finals. I think the site could easily include a popover on initial load, optionally directing users to the “Vods” page without spoiling any results, without dramatically detracting from the experience for the portion of users who do not need this functionality.

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