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Everton's Website Puts Fan Engagement First

Fri 5th Dec 2014 | IT & Technology

Everton Football Club's brand new official website, built using the feature-rich Sitecore Experience Platform, has been officially launched as part of a long-term digital strategy to drive fan engagement.

Created by Rippleffect, the club’s retained digital agency since 2003, the website has already received its first industry recognition, winning the Sitecore People's Choice Award for 2014. It features a bold and distinctive new design, enriched functionality, intuitive navigation and a host of interactive content features, including its rebuilt match centre and EvertonTV.

The project involved a comprehensive research phase with the club’s fans and key stakeholders, whose feedback was used to inform key decisions about the site's technology, design, usability and content.

One such decision was the departure from the traditional football club website model, which is dominated by cluttered content and banner ads. Instead, the platform features a horizontal slider and scrollable columns that has allow more of the club's content - including key commercial messages - to be visible during a user's visit.

The new Evertonfc.com is a responsive website that adapts beautifully across all devices - including mobile, tablet and desktop - to offer natural user journeys that support the many goals of Evertonians around the world.

Everton has worked with Rippleffect on a number of digital projects during its 11-year partnership - including its previous award-winning website and its mobile app, which was named Best Football App at the Football Business Awards earlier this month.

“We have a great relationship with Everton, collaborating on some of football’s most groundbreaking digital projects and marketing campaigns, “ commented Ben Hatton, managing director of Rippleffect.

“By combining our thorough understanding of the challenges and objectives of Everton's in-house team with genuine user and stakeholder feedback, we were able to create a website that will build deeper connections between the club and its fans."

Scott McLeod, interim head of media & communications, said: "Together with Rippleffect, we recognise the importance of never standing still in order to continue offering fans the most innovative, engaging and memorable online experiences within football.

"The new website harnesses best-in-class technologies and a distinctive new user-centric design to serve a rich array of relevant, up-to-the-minute content in the way that suits our fans."

 

What to expect from the new Evertonfc.com

New feature-rich Sitecore CMS

The site has been built using the Sitecore Experience Platform, a world-class content management system that will offer greater flexibility and functionality for the club in engaging its domestic and international fan base.

A fresh and distinctive design for all devices

Mobile and tablet accounted for half of all visits last season compared to a third the previous season. To meet the demand for an engaging and enjoyable experience across all devices, the new website is not only fully responsive but has adopted a mobile-first design approach that makes it easier for fans to browse and interact with the club’s content.

A memorable match-day experience

The brand new Match Centre makes it easier to get involved via social networks, stream live commentary and access the service via mobile and tablet devices. This, along with continued developments of the current iPad app, will help to establish a true ‘second screen’ experience for Evertonians.

Video integration

StreamUK’s award-winning Media Platform product with its Sitecore CMS plug-in was utilised to deliver an industry leading video solution for EvertonTV. This allows the club to deliver HD video content directly to its global fan base, across any modern connected device. Content includes player and manager interviews, highlights, match previews, live audio commentary, live pre-season matches and more.

Independent Scrolling

The ‘independent scrolling’ design approach will increase the amount of content that can be promoted ‘above the fold’ while making it easy to use via tablets. This is key to enhancing content discovery, allowing the grouping of related content widgets and promotions to be clearer and easily accessed by the user. Furthermore, it means vital buying actions - such as tickets availability for forthcoming matches - remains visible however far the user scrolls.

Segmented Search

To further aid content discovery the search interface has been completely overhauled. Search results are automatically segmented into predefined categories e.g. News, Video, Match Reports, etc. to make it easier for fans to find what they're looking for.

Streamlined Commercial Opportunities

The new site has a smaller number of available commercial formats, although those that exist now offer advertisers bigger and better opportunities to ensure their messaging is highly visible. This means better response rates without compromising the fan experience.

Phase two - Personalisation

One of the benefits of the new Sitecore Experience Platform is that the club will be able to use data to provide personalised content to its fans, further improving their experience whilst offering relevant commercial opportunities. This feature will be rolled out in 2015.

 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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