Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated embraces responsive for increased flexibility
June 26, 2014
Upon the release of Sports Media franchise Sports Illustrated’s renovated responsive Web site, plans for the future may entail a mobile application, executives said.
Featuring clutter-free information, a focus on graphics and social connectivity, the site places information that is popular with mobile users, such as scores, front and center for quick and easy consumption. Sports Illustrated’s directors also completely revamped the editorial channel to enable a fluid experience for the consumer.
“The new SI digital platform is built from the bottom up on a completely new infrastructure,” said Paul Fichtenbaum, editor at Time Inc. Sports Group, New York. “Our watchword is flexibility.”
“We want to showcase information more fluidly and efficiently and now with this new construction, we can move content tiles, change content quickly and show video anywhere.”
Among the variety of verticals implemented at Sports Illustrated over the last few months, editors of the magazine will also contribute to its digital version, unifying the production and placement of content on the site.
The responsive Web design also eases the work of Sports Illustrated’s editors, simplifying the process of updating news coverage and reports for ultimately quick delivery to viewers.
Slide tabs make for easy swiping, surfing
Sports Illustrated’s site appears to be centered on real-time scores and news.
The menu bar, in the top left-hand corner, contains links to photos, videos and the magazine. Photos and videos have been enhanced and enlarged for high-quality viewing. Also, there is a search bar and links for each professional sports category.
A scoreboard icon is located at the top right-hand corner, where users can access all current scores and schedules. Scores are placed at center screen and will be accessible from any page on the site.
The display of real-time score updates on the new si.com
Access to top social media platforms are available for easy sharing, as well as filtering options while searching for specific teams or players.
Within the advertising space, Sports Illustrated will continue to use banner ads, but they will be larger and in different formats and formations to help convey the message most effectively.
Next week Sports Illustrated will be releasing the FanNation app, also accessible on desktop, offering daily fantasy games. The app was developed in partnership with TopLine Game Labs and the first game released will be Baseball Throwdown.
Users of the app will challenge a friend or friends on Facebook or Twitter to daily fantasy games. Makers of the app claim it requires low commitment, placing the user in the game more quickly and simply.
Converting for the better
The media space has been filled with renovations of mobile-first designs.
Time Inc.-owned InStyle magazine’s mobile and Web site redesign tapped into social media, original content and personalized news feeds to take advantage of the growing traffic from smartphones and tablets.
The focus on social media is meant to address the multiple ways that readers are discovering and sharing content. For example, during the most recent Oscars awards, social sharing was six times higher than on an average (see story).
Similarly, in a reflection of how mobile is transforming news gathering, consumption and monetization, The New York Times launched its first mobile product with its own dedicated editorial staff and bring native ads to mobile for the first time.
NYT Now, which offers a curated selection of news items from NYT.com as well as across the Internet, became available April 2 as a standalone subscription for the iPhone application and on the Web at a cost of $8 every four weeks. Cartier was the initial sponsor, with paid posts clearly identified as advertising content appearing in-stream in the scrollable news feed (see story).
These achievements will likely take the user experience and also the brand to the next level.
"We built the platform for the exploding generation of sports fans who reach for their mobile devices to consume sports information," Mr. Fichtenbaum said.
"The audience is always connected and we want them to be connected to us,” he said. “We believe that technology should work for us rather than against us and help drive us toward becoming the next big thing."
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York