I’m talking about the little status-readout thingies that they have up on the TV screen when a ball game is on. Here’s one.
They present an interesting design problem.
The data on display is:
Team names: Two, conventionally represented as two- to four-letter strings.
Score: Two small integers.
Inning: One small integer, plus a one-bit top/bottom indicator.
Balls and strikes: Two very small integers, where by “very small” I mean they can be nicely represented as on-offs: three for balls and two for strikes.
Outs: One very small integer.
On-base status: Three one-bit values.
(Optionally) Speed of the last pitch.
(Optionally) Number of pitches from current pitcher.
I grabbed the samples at right from the MLB.tv broadcasts of the games that happened to be on this Sunday afternoon. The funny effects that arise when superimposing this on the live action, combined with my shaky Photoshop skills, make them a little jaggy. Sorry.
Design Goals · The display should be legible, it should be attractive, it should be small, and optionally it needs to have some branding, for the teams and the broadcast network.
I’m not going to carry on too much about the pluses and minuses of the samples on display here. It’s worth noting that the goober up at the top (from Canada’s Sportsnet), despite being twice the size of any of the others, actually works pretty well; it’s displayed across the bottom of the screen as opposed to up in a corner.
The top four goobers stacked up on the right each have some sort of network branding. The bottom two are, I think, what MLB.tv puts on the screen when they’re supplying the feed themselves, as opposed to using someone else’s. I supplied it twice to show how they switch the pitch speed and count. It’s praiseworthy if only because it uses the least amount of screen to deliver the data.