While streaming of live sports has seen a meteoric rise in popularity for US sports fan due to streaming services such as Hulu, Youtube TV and DirecTV Now, New Zealand is still in the beginning phases of delivering this same live sports streaming experience to the masses - until now. Spark Sport, the second largest telecommunication company in New Zealand, is creating a cross-platform live sports experience that will feature the 2019 Rugby World Cup as its showcase event.
In September of 2018, I began an engagement with Spark to create a cross-platform direct-to-consumer sports video experience called Spark Sport. I worked directly with the lead Product and Business owners along with other executive staff at Spark Sport to design the foundation of the overall video application experience.
Due to the fact that a majority of New Zealand sports are still consumed via the traditional live linear channel model, consumers are used to flipping through channels to find a particular sporting event that is being broadcast live. This created some unique challenges when designing a new way for Kiwis to consume both live and on demand sports.
When creating the designs for this application, I wanted the experience to feel unique yet familiar. It will be important to tap into a common UI paradigm to reduce the cognitive load on consumers and get them to find what they want to watch with little effort. A Netflix style design approach was adopted due to the flexibility of the UI and the amount of unique content that Spark Sport will offer its customers.
Live content has a unique set of challenges in the timeliness of its shelf life. While entertainment such as movies and TV shows can be viewed weeks or months after its initial release, the same is not true for sports. With sports, the importance of a particular event may only last a few days (at most). After that, the viewership of that event will drop off dramatically. Therefore, where and when the event is displayed in the UI becomes critical to the overall user experience of the application.
This section of videos display all live events that are either on right now or will be live in the immediate future. It has a prominent placement as the top section of videos to grab the viewer’s attention and show the liveliness of the content within the application.
To enhance the importance of the content, an On Now badge is displayed within each content tile for current live events. To further inform the user of the approximate length of the time remaining for a live event, a progress bar is displayed and updated on a 30 second interval.
To enhance the user experience for those consumers that may want to watch the entire event from the beginning, a modal dialog is presented when a specific event is selected. This gives the user the flexibility to view the entire event or simply watch it Live.