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ESPN Execs Offer Insight Into Recent Web Site Redesign

ESPN on April 1 launched its redesigned web site, and the risk thus far has rewarded the Worldwide Leader. Below are insights from three ESPN execs that were not included in the original article of Thursday’s Daily:

*On the influence of mobile:

  • ESPN VP/Digital Media Research & Analytics David Coletti: “60% of our total ESPN.com users only log on through their smart phones or tablets, and since people using smaller screens typically spend less time per visit, it’s become really critical to think about increasing the frequency of visits. The Now tab certainly fills that need because it’s in real time and users interact with it, giving people a reason to check back in often.”
  • ESPN.com VP/Editorial Digital & Print Media Patrick Stiegman: “We’ve focused on content at the mobile site first and expanded that back out to the desktop as opposed to the other way around.”

*On striving for uniformity across platforms:

  • Stiegman: “If you recall to our previous world, we had an app experience in mobile and  we had a mobile web experience that did not look and feel or behave like the desktop browser experience, so we were literally programming three different content types. Now, we have essentially one seamless feed.”
  • ESPN Senior VP/Digital Product Management Ryan Spoon: “Sometimes people tell me that they like the redesign or they like the mobile app, and they’re actually referring to the other one. To me, that’s a positive because it suggests that we have started to blend the universe, blend the way they look to a point where the content is starting to mirror itself.”

*On the evolution of ESPN.com’s purpose:

  • Stiegman: “There was a time when what ESPN.com content was was created and posted by editors. What we are now is a doorway to all things ESPN. What that means is if you go to the NFL section of ESPN.com, you’re not just getting what the NFL editor of ESPN.com wants to post there or content that he or she is assigned. What you’re getting instead is content from all aspects of ESPN around the NFL.

*On different aspects of the redesigned site:

  • Stiegman: “Deciding what and when to post to the Now feed versus the main-content feed has taken some getting used to because we don’t want to step on each others’ toes. But at the same time, it’s given us a lot more flexibility in terms of presenting content in a meaningful, real-time way.”
  • Spoon: “There also are some pages, such as fantasy, that we have not rolled out total updates to and currently have a transitional experience -- one part modern and one part the older site. I had personal nerves as to whether this would make for a jagged experience, but it really hasn’t been problematic at all.”

*On overall takeaways:

  • Spoon: “The more we can get people to log in and tell us who they want to root for, the more we can program and deliver great consumption points.”
  • Coletti: “I think we’ve made some smart decisions highlighting the ability to personalize and highlighting more content in an accessible way. Users seem to be responding to it.”
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