Get Out From Behind The Desk, And Be The Customer

As anyone remotely interested in racing must have noticed, track records have been falling faster than a bungee jumper off a bridge in the first few months of this year. I cannot recall a time when so many track marks across the nation were being breached, some of them being broken by quite significant amounts.

So, wanting to check the figures I decided I would go searching for a list of Australian track records to update my own set and see what I may have missed.

The internet being the wonder of the modern age of communication I figured the simplest solution would be to do a Google search: ‘Australian greyhound track records’. Apart from the fact there are a number of unofficial websites that haven’t been updated since Zoom Top was a puppy, the one place that does come up, as you would hope and expect, is the peak body, the Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA). To be precise, my search came via the following web address:

So, I click on the above link and it takes me to a page where the heading is ‘Track Records’ and with a ‘Link to Australian Track Records’, courtesy, it says, ‘of the Australian Greyhound Racing Association’. I clicked on this link and it took me to the AGRA home page where I am confronted by the unhelpful response: ‘The page you have requested does not exist’.

Nonetheless, the rest of the AGRA page appears and with a little bit of extra ‘digging’ I managed to unearth the list of Australian Track Records, as a PDF supplied to AGRA by the Greyhound Recorder. This list was accessible by clicking the mis-named ‘Race Records’, which appears under the main headline of ‘AGRA Racing’.

I think most greyhound people would understand ‘race records’ to pertain to specific events, for example, the recently held Ladies Bracelet, where the race record, as distinct from the track record, fell by the wayside.

Clicking on a category headed ‘race records’ but delivers ‘track records’, while welcome, is not what I imagine the average greyhound person would have expected to see. Of course, anyone just starting out in the sport would probably have given up once they reached ‘The page you have requested does not exist’.

It’s natural that people involved in an industry for some time forget what it is like to be a newcomer to that industry. They forget the knowledge they have acquired comes over time. In any business or industry it is important to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, to the point where any newcomer should be able to obtain information quickly and easily.

We want to encourage new faces into greyhound racing. Surely we want to have as much information as possible available to newcomers and old-stagers alike. Yet, something as simple as finding out a very basic piece of information, that is, a track record, is turned into a convoluted hurdle.

To be fair, overall I think the ‘look’ of the AGRA website is pretty good. It’s clean and clear, not cluttered and unwieldy like some. Nonetheless, I think it’s important for people to get out from behind their desk and pretend to be a ‘customer’ and test the user-friendly level of their product. What would the average ‘customer’ be searching for when they come to the AGRA site for example? Is this information readily accessible?

The KISS principle should be the guideline at all times. Perfection is a rarely achieved state, but it’s not a bad goal to aim for; after all, falling short of perfection means you’ll probably be a long way ahead of anyone else in the same field whose standards are not at the same elevation.

PAWNOTE: The following records have all fallen (or been equalled) so far this year:
395m (Mr Babicci) & 520m (Late Angel Lee), Ballarat 450m (three times: Black Magic Opal, Hooksy, Magic Diva), Ballarat 660m (Sisco Rage), 425m (Black Magic Opal) & 500m (Shot To Bits), Cranbourne 520m (Surf Mail) & 699m (Whodat Knockin’), Devonport 452m (Sing The Song), 516m () & 605m (Soviet Missile), Gardens 400m, Geelong 680m (Xylia Allen), 350m (Frosty Jay Jay), Horsham 480m (Crump) & 570m (Xylia Allen), Kempsey 508m (Noir Lee), 450m (Paw Licking), 490m (Back Jack Tewin), Temora 457m (twice) (Knocka’s Return & My Kinda Music), Warragul 460m (Walk Hard), 390m (Magic Diva), 450m (twice) (Phenomenal & Walk Hard) & 650m (Hailstorm Billy), Wentworth Park 520m () & 720m (twice) (Xylia Allen & ). And, I may have missed a couple!

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