Football is, as many of us already know, close to religion in the USA. It impacts millions of people's daily life, their moods, their income and how they decide to spend their free time. With NFL being the largest entity in this with all professional activities circling around them it was a humbling experience to enter this world as a European.
Over a range of projects, I got the opportunity to work with them focusing first on their content strategy and then activating that through designing their main mobile app and exploring future platforms through a connected TV.
We started our collaboration with an exploration to better understand the role different platforms currently played and could play in the future. We looked at five main platforms ranging from broadcast TV which was the largest focus area at time with large shows such as the Sunday Night Football to emerging platforms such as connected TV (Xbox/PS4/Apple TV etc.) For each we characterized its unique qualities it should be contributing to fuel NFL fandom.
The identities of the different platforms were shaped through a user-centric design process where we did a range of activities from immersion in fandom through things like tail-gating before games to longer workshops where we invited fans to share their POV and home visits to better understand where and how the content actually was consumed.
With a clear understanding of what the different platform's identities would be, we turned our eyes to designing the mobile experience. We focused on creating an experience that would deliver what we called "info snacks". Shorter form content which allowed the fan to stay up to date while on the move.
The app was launched in 2015 as the main news app for NFL and the design remained largely unchanged for over four years with millions of daily users. It was consistently ranked in the top 3 sports apps. Still today the overarching design language is present in the latest NFL apps. Appstore link.
After a successful launch of the mobile app, NFL asked us to explore what a fan first connected TV experience would be. They had historically been relying on partners to define the NFL experience and wanted to know what an NFL-designed app experience would feel like and what values it would deliver.
Using the earlier defined platform strategy we created a more lean-back on-demand experience that still allowed the fan to be in control of the content when wished for. It used simple remote control or gamepad as the main input allowing fans to easily customize the content to their liking, creating their unique take on NFL.
We helped NFL to map all existing video content into eight main categories that delivered to different fan needs throughout the week. We also introduced a more empowered fan that could create their own "buckets" of content that were dynamically generated based on their niche interest, for example just sacks, skill moves or celebrations.
The final design was sadly never released but was instead used as leverage in negotiation with connected TV platform providers to demonstrate what good looks like.
|| 2023 ||