UX Case Study: ESPN3 (Part 2)– The Stuff Outside the Video Box

In the previous chapter, I termed ESPN3 “player centric” because the compact design focuses on the Video Player, where it rightly should in this user scenario.

Even with the maximum amount of stuff possible going on, given the options, the focus stays on the player although in the example below where I’ve got 4 different events playing back simultaneoulsly, this does start to fall apart somewhat.

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What remains impressive is that this works at all. I’ve got both live and on-demand sporting events of an extremely wide-variety playing back simultaneously (European Soccer, NCAA Lacrosse, International Cricket, and Georgia Bass Fishing — as in the U.S. state Georgia, not the country Georgia, although I’ll bet a Bass Fishing show from the country Georgia would be a frikkin’ gas . . . )

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OK, maybe not.

The Mosaic view does make sense in full-screen mode (as shown above). It all looks pretty good as well, as long as you’re sporting internet connectivity of 1mbps sustained, or better.

THE STUFF OUTSIDE THE PLAYER

Less is always more with a design of this nature. Anything outside the Video Player better be damn important to the end-user, and consistent with brand.

Below-the-player content is what caught my eye first in this design. My brain thought it would give me more choices of sporting events that are live now. And that is the case with the thumbnails at the bottom (and where there aren’t at least 4 events currently live, you get “recommended” featured on-demand content).

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Above the thumbnails, there is a widget which displays a live feed of sports scores, which at the moment defaults to MLB games (because it’s baseball season, I guess). If you want to get scores from other sports, the UI cascades out nicely to show you the available options, all the way down to that most esoteric of selections, ANY kind of sport from Paraguay.

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Over to the right side of the player, we get some stuff that’s useful, and some other stuff that’s redundant (or perhaps could be integrated with the scores & thumbnails at the bottom of the UI to save some real-estate).

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The “Featured Events” panel seems to be 100% redundant to the thumbs at the bottom, showing “Featured Events” (even though not labeled as such). No reason for this to be here, other than to flush out the geometry of the design (and that’s a pretty weak reason IMO).

The Stats would/could be useful, if there were any for this particular event. And then, maybe even we could move this to below the player instead, as a tab within the Scores panel (maybe I’m being hasty here — if there were some useful stats in that panel now, I could be able to make a more informed opinion — let me come back to this one at a later time).

The Chat Panel seems really straighforward, although I’d like a glimpse of how many users are in this particular chat room, and how many chat rooms (with how many users, respectively) are online related to this event. I’ve also not yet tested how it behaves if you’re using Mosaic view (i.e., does it flip to the event that has currently has focus, when you’re viewing 4 events simultaneously? As a random thought, it could be a cool design to have 4 chat pods open simultaneous with the 4 events, to be able to keep 4 chats going at once. A sports geek’s geek-out dream come true!).