Archive for June 14th, 2006

World Cup Mode Design Work and Feedback

Some of the design thinking behind the World Cup Mode

world cup mode OFF
We dropped the SPP as a container for the switch for a number of reasons. 1. If you want it off, you want it all off. 2. The semantic way readers scan the page meant the on/off mode had to go under the promo, other wise it would have read the promo, then the whole browse column then the SPP etc.
Match mode was going to have GEO-IP served broadband console links, but we couldn’t adapt Sport’s GEO-IP look up. Also people seem to have found the broadband content pretty well. A few more examples are on Flickr. One thing that caused is a bit of an issue was just how to we actually promote it on the homepage.
This is what I jokingly put together first, using a seldom seen ‘top’ promo

I liked the phrase ‘cupificate’ in a E4 tellybox kind of a way, anyway, then me and a writer went through a 100 versions of this
The trouble with this is, you’re not actually offering a choice, you’re offering ‘switch it on’ or… nothing. In the end we went with a traditional EE promo, and did a ‘credit squeeze’ and put a big fat showy jpeg in.

Feedback wise it’s been a great success too. Here’s a top line of some of the feedback we’ve received from the first weekend of ‘world cup mode’. Again thanks to Doug our (ex) feedback guru.

We received 234 emails of which 50% came on Friday with Saturday and Sunday getting roughly 25% each

People that said “Thank you” “Great Idea” “I am going to use this” etc about WCM
Total comments 141
People who like football/WCM ON 18 (12%)
People who dislike football/all sport/WCM OFF 68 (49%)
People who just said thanks 55 (39%)

3 people said this was a bad idea (one mentioned a hatred of football)
1 person asked why we assumed everybody liked football missing the point of why we are offering an ON/OFF switch

2 people supported the breaking news policy

10 people said they just dislike football
11 people left non-football comments

What else should we cover
22 people said we should also do this for Wimbledon
About 10 asked for cricket
14 asked us to provide a switch for TV, mostly on Saturday when out of 48 hours of BBC1/BBC2 TV coverage only 4 hours was football related

Other coverage
8 people wanted Spring Watch updates
15 people wanted Doctor Who
about 10 people said we should promote the latest BBC TV and Drama
7 Want more live music coverage
~5 (I lost count) culture/arts/books etc
~5 want alternative TV schedules during the games

Finally 1 person asked for 24/7 Archers


So the predominant feeling is ‘well done, I’ll have it off please’. Which is a positive negative, but a good thing. This information has been invaluable as it’s allowed us to throw out the schedule and put together editorial promotions based on what users have asked for. Today’s promo is a result of that. Ideally I’d like to have Mrs Jones of Cheadle asked for X in today’s promo.

Another success has been not having to do any world cup promotions like we’ve done in the past. This project has really allowed our small team to concentrate on what we do best, putting together distinct editorial messages from the best has to offer, and leave the juggernaut that is dealing with the World Cup to the sports gang, there’s over 20 of them working 24 hours a day here and in Germany, there’s four of us working 9-5. Hooray for working smarter!

Where next? Well, this would be great for Wimbledon or the cricket, but we can only have one mode in the space at one time, due to the horrendiously complex de-duping of the headlines against each mode. But it would be for non sport things too, Glastonbury springs to mind. Who knows….? Though if England get to the final, well then we’ll have to do something really special.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
June 2006