Trinity Mirror, across all its site, uses a platform to ‘live blog’ or stream content about a given event or news item. Football games have long been blogged regularly for over three years. However, these pages are not widely used, attracting less than 10,000 views per game. The effort to blog these games is large and the the commercial return on investment is not currently there.
My task was to create a new environment for consumers which increases the engagement on these pages, open up new commercial revenue streams and make a place that people want to return to keep up with football action during live games. Also, I had to take advantage of commercial relationships with third party content suppliers and integrate this into one seamless football experience.
Using a combination of analytics analysis, desktop research of live blogging trends, football trends, and working with the insights team to classify the users of the site, we produced a short an concise report of the key findings and direction of the site. This set the scene for the project.
Due to the problems with the currently publishing processes, a number of workshops were conducted with the technical architects of the project. This enabled us to define a solution architecture and match this to a content matrix of sources of content and how quickly this could be published to the site.
Decisions were made to create a new API for our own content which can be surfaced to the website in real time using web socket technology. This creating a site that can effectively active listen for updates rather than having to pull information.
I created a team of designers, front end developers and myself as key UX lead. A functional prototype was created of the end interface using a sample API interface of real content from previous matches which could be played at real speed to test the concepts of the interface. The interface was iterated with the team to create the final responsive UI.
Once the functional prototype was complete and robust enough to test, two focus groups were set up to test the final solution’s viability. One focus group of regular Mirror football users was conducted to test whether or not this would extend their interactions with the current offering.
With the front end prototyped and tested an agile process to bring this into production was established. Working in two week sprints, the back end API was created and attached piece by piece. A 80% reuse of the front end code was achieved and the project was ready for deploy for the end of the current EPL season.
Due to the live nature of the site, and the use of third party live content sources, the site was released slow in beta format over a period of time. Survey were established to gather feedback.
The following insights were gathered during the insights and user testing and were used to complete the final interface.
Fully responsive website which used limited branding to reduce negative perceptions. Statistical information was accessible at all times through a slide up bar on larger screens and slide out menu on smaller screens. Different content types were create for social feeds, information from the ground, automated statistical feeds and opinion pieces.
Note: These are links to the live prototype created as part of the process. A pop up will appear which is used to simulate the websockets and demonstrate flashing content. Due to licencing restriction I am unable to use real content for this demonstration.