ESPN.com Redesign: 1 Big Personalization Miss

May 18, 2015 Mike Weisert

ESPN recently redesigned their homepage. It made a lot of headlines (even a spot in our Best of April post) as a major content-driven website leveraging personalization to serve relevant content to the individual visitor. You can see some of this praise here:

Fast Company says: “White space! Infinite scroll! Responsive design! One of the largest sites on the planet finally gets a makeover…it’s designed to feel personal depending on the sports and teams you care about.”

“…the benefits of adding more personalization and a more unified experience will outweigh the otherwise dramatic changes to the way its web presence feels,”  indicates Techcrunch.com.

Venturebeat: “Fans are finally getting a fresh site that is far easier to use on any device.”

When I first loaded the new site, I was excited to see they were paying attention to the preferences I had set. I explicitly told them what I want to see front and center through my account. Here is what I told ESPN:

  • NHL 
  • Football 
  • Baseball 
  • College Football

When I load the site, here is what I see more often than not:

  • NBA
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Golf

espn.com personalization missThanks for those prominent soccer scores, ESPN...

Full disclosure; I loathe the NBA. Any sport that allows the referees to dominate the outcome of the game is not for me. Don’t get me started on soccer… Regardless, I really don’t want to see anything about these sports.

The fact that ESPN places English Premiere League Soccer and the NBA in front of the NHL scores in the header makes me angry. I’ve also seen multiple times where NHL scores didn’t make ‘Top Events’ (the default score view). Ouch.

NHL scores on ESPN.comNHL scores found on the far side of the scoreboard (4 clicks later)

On detail pages, I’ll often read a post on the Blackhawks followed by how Lebron James played last night. Why would I want to read that next? Clearly, ESPN is prioritizing their interests over mine.

When personalizing a website, the goal is to surface what is relevant to the individual. Sometimes in order to accomplish this, you need to de-emphasize, or entirely eliminate, the irrelevant. I’ve already demonstrated to ESPN that I’m willing to tell them what is important. I’d welcome the ability to tell them what is not.

Curious to read more about personalization? Read You Said I “Might Like” That???

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Mike Weisert

At the time of publishing, Mike was a Senior Strategist at One North.

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