Design Critique: At Bat Android Application

Home At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball. It delivers real time game information and MLB related stats by text, images, and video clips to users of the mobile app. Even though this app deals with a large amount of data, it is amazingly well organized. Despite its many advantages, At Bat has some UX flaws which need be improved.

1) No player search options

Problem: At Bat contains information of the all players on the roster but it takes a couple of steps to search players. Suppose that users want to search for stats of Carlos Beltran of the Texas Rangers. Currently users first select the team -> scroll down to roster -> select the player manually from the alphabetical ordered list. If users are not aware that he was recently traded from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers, they may never find the information they need from this app. From Norman’s viewpoint, there’s no proper interface to use the knowledge in the World. At Bat contains a lot of valuable data but it is unintentionally hard for users to access those data.


Recommendation: For better discoverability, add a search icon on top of the home screen to afford accessing the data, as a cue in the design.



2) No access to team information from the scoreboard

Problem: On the scoreboard screen, when users click a game, it leads to the detail of the game. But when users click the team’s icon or team’s name from the screen, there’s no feedback for the action. If users want to move to the team’s information, there will be a couple of redundant steps to choose a team. When the user clicks the menu icon on the top left, the side menu only shows top 3 favorite teams. In fact, At Bat allows users to choose as many favorite teams as possible but side bar only shows 3 teams. For example, if I want to see information about the New York Yankees (which is not set as my favorite team), I first need to choose one of the teams on the left side menu, a team that is not relevant to Yankees, and then select the Yankees from the drop down menu. There’s a big gulf of evaluation to get to the team information from the scoreboard.


Recommendation: To help bridge the Gulf of evaluation, the app needs proper feedback from either scrolling down side menu to view more teams or clicking each team’s icon on the screen. To implement them, 1) make a team list as an independent scroll-down menu so that users can see the all teams on the left side menu.  2) add link on the teams’ icons.



3) Hard to select & unselect favorite teams

Problem: Setting favorite teams is a key function of this application since this is the default setting of the home screen selection. However, selecting and unselecting favorite teams from the scroll-down team list is not implemented in the app. Long-press, which is basic to Android users to find additional functions, seems to work as seen in the picture below (it changes color to gray as users press it for a while) but there is no feedback from the action. This suggests a bad conceptual model since the long press function in fact does not do anything as users may expect. It’s an example of a bad signifier as well. According to the At Bat FAQ, this is only done in the setting menu, which is located in the bottom of the side menu.


Recommendation: As users use long press on each team’s name, show ‘select’ and ‘unselect’ options on the list. Android users may be familiar with the long-press function intuitively by repetitive experience.