Key elements of the role
Customer experience strategy | Research | Analytics | Stakeholder Management | Stakeholder workshops | Customer insights | Analytics | Customer Interviews | Competitor Analysis | Guerrilla Testing | Wireframe | Interactive Prototype | Design | Uplifting skills
How to build a product that brings a truly great & engaging second screen experience to the pre, live & post game experience of NRL.
After collaborating with senior stakeholders and completing a lean canvas, work was set out to establish the ‘how’ we could build a truly innovative and immersive experience. The project was an introduction to Fox Sports in the ways of working in an agile environment, and part of the process included educating and uplifting skills of the team members. A human-centred design approach had been presented and advocated. As the product was aimed at really engaged sports fans, I wanted to emphasise to Fox Sports that having customers at the heart and soul of what we were trying to build would prove to be instrumental in creating a successful, and engaging product.
A challenge that had to be factored in when addressing the match centre was that the framework of the NRL match centre needed to translate into other sporting codes, e.g. AFL, A-League. In addition, another challenge was how to commercialise the match centre, without taking away the core of what we were setting out to achieve, a great secondary screen experience… for sports fans.
Part of the research carried out consisted of a detailed competitor analysis. The landscape review included match centres from national, international and best in class examples across various sporting codes. In addition to online match centres, online video games were reviewed from the PS4 and X Box platforms. A ’nice to have’ consideration was to incorporate animation and micro-interactions to really bring the match centre to life. Discovery included interviewing and workshops with internal stakeholders who had a history with existing and competitor products. SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the match centre) and co-design ideation sessions where held at the FOX Sports HQ to determine and identify key features. Online surveys were conducted with our existing customer base and received extensive customer feedback on the current issues previously not addressed.
We also set out to speak to sports fans (not just NRL) of differing commitment levels, who attended sporting events, watched live sports in the pubs, bars or at home to find the gaps and opportunities. Going out speaking to sports fans really gave us more significant insights and something tangible on what a second screen experience could look like.
Amongst the ‘must haves’ to really make the match centre stand out and be of value, sports fans wanted the secondary screen to be interactive, so they could play and refer to comprehensive stats and data on teams, players and in-game plays.
A key requirement was to create a pre, live and post-match experience that would keep sports fans coming back for more. And talking to fans, they loved the idea of this format as many match centres mainly catered for the live match experience only.
We had a pretty strong set of ideas to get started with and worked up some sketches firstly on mobile as the data identified mobile would be the primary device in use for a second screen experience.
Working with the designers, we then set about ideating for the medium sized screens as tablet devices were identified as the second most used screen with laptop/desktop sitting in the larger screen category. We decided to create a format and structure that could respond to the different user needs and situations across devices. On larger screen devices, we wanted to show a primary area such as interactive live pitch action, stats, video and news, the really immersive content and have a secondary panel that housed betting odds or social feeds.
A core driver was to create an engaging product that would enable the user to see what they want, how they want, and when they wanted to it.
We started with a prototyping app called POP (Prototyping on paper) which is an excellent piece of Arsenal to have as part of your prototyping toolkit. The app helps you turn simple sketches into interactive prototypes for iDevices and Android. It’s a perfect tool for usability testing too, simple and fast. This method of prototyping helped form the approach and customer insights helped galvanise ideas moving into wireframing using the Sketch app.
Once at the wireframes stage, these concepts were shared with the business stakeholders via ’showcases’ and feedback sessions. We felt there was a compelling and desirable experience across devices to be had and quickly moved into creating an interactive prototype as the approach meant we had to address the responsive nature of components, from video, interactive live pitch updates to the social feeds, and also ensuring each device size and type was optimised. This included how the screen content would differ on a tablet from landscape to portrait mode.
Test and learn
As we were building an MVP, testing was kept very lean as we wanted to get as much feedback as possible from an engaged NRL audience. The MVP was being launched pre-season to a small percentage of existing FOX Sports subscribers. The information that would be gathered via analytics, customer insights and feedback would lead to more refinements and improvement for the launch proper, come game day - the start of the NRL season.
The new look format was well received, as NRL fans were able to have a second screen experience that was truly engaging. As this was an MVP, not all the features and component made the initial build and are to be implemented in a phased approach. However, from customer feedback and analytics, the match centre experience is a vast improvement from what was originally in place and will be a greater one when more features and enhancements are released and built. Subsequently, the NRL match centre look and feel has been rolled out to other sporting codes. Depending on the codes, certain features or rules had to be swapped out for that given sporting code, for example, goals in football replacing tries in NRL, this ensured consistency across Fox Sports and reinforced the brand as a serious player when it comes to customer experience.
The final delivery included a Fox Sports Design Language System, component library and detailed design documents. These were supplied to the engineers, created to address page flows, user interactions, research, wireframes and component (UX/UI and Dev) references.
A big call out for this project is that the new customer experience strategy and research for the NRL match centre were instrumental in the features in what is now the Kayo Sports platform. It’s encouraging and very satisfying to see hard work and the ability to identify business opportunities grow into a product like Kayo Sports.
Significant uplift in audience interactions, page visits and time on page with the successful launch of the NRL Match Centre and subsequent other Match Centre sporting codes
Early customer experience strategy and research was instrumental in what is now Kayo Sports platform
Introduction of the Fox Sports Design Language System
Uplifting skills of Fox Sport teams in agile principles
Allowed fan research to lead and mould design decisions
Running a Design Thinking workshop across the digital business
Successful stakeholder buy-in for new products after identifying digital and commercial opportunities
Customer experience strategy and research led to Kayo Sports platform
Tools & tech stack
Pen & paper
Fox Sports Australia