Despite its millions of viewers as the world’s highest level soccer league, the Premier League struggles to attract and engage football fans on its official application platform. Driven by my own curiosity, I re-designed the Premier League’s mobile application in an attempt to resolve this issue. My goal was to design for a modern and highly usable app that leads to higher user adoption.
2 weeks (Aug 2020)
Product Designer (me)
I’m a fan of the English Premier League, a star studded football league in England. However, I don’t have the official app on my phone. To my surprise, I found out that majority of my friends who also love the league did not own the app nor use it.
The official Premier League app is the face of the premiership football with a huge potential user base. Yet, a quick online search suggested a host of sports news platforms with reviews that clearly preferred third party apps.
For the Premier League, this situation can be serious as betting companies like DraftKings continue to poach users from the official websites. It’s bad news for Premier League that monetizes not only from broadcasting rights but also from ads sponsors right on its website and mobile application.
To quickly validate my assumption that the Premier League is scarcely used, I deployed a web survey and conducted interviews with several football fans. The 2 questions I was the most interested in were -
Results indicated that only 3 individuals out of the 23 actually had the app and used it. I also found out that the primary user needs were fairly consistent across, with match-related information (e.g., live scores, upcoming fixtures) being the most important features they seek for.
During the user interviews, I noted down critical user needs and their existing pain points on various sports apps, including the official Premier League app, many of which touched upon the design aspect.
To further make sense of my research, I used affinity diagram to group and label all of the observed user needs. I also overlaid it with indication of whether that information or feature set was available on the official Premier League app. Not surprisingly, most of the information were readily available in the current version of the app.
I validated my assumption that the Premier League app has low user adoption and usage (n=23) among football fans. More importantly, I learned that users not only want to see all the relevant information but also expect sports app to present them in good design. Two conclusions were derived from my research phase -
With these insights in mind, I re-framed the initial problem space into a more actionable design problem statement -
To better assess potential issues and evaluate how well the current design aligns with the identified user needs, I conducted an app critique using Nielsen Norman’s usability heuristics.
While the app design was modern and edgy, several usability-related challenges were evident across the various tabs in the app. Two usability heuristics stood out to be the challenge.
The official Premier League application had information, perhaps too much in a disorganized way. Tying this back to the user preference of easily consumable information, it seemed like many of the usability issues stemmed from an ineffective information architecture.
With research and app critique completed, I approached the re-design of the Premier League app with three design principles in mind.
I started out by developing wireframes to demonstrate the type of interface elements I would like to place on key pages including the Latest, Standings, Fantasy Football, and Your Club pages.
On the very first page of the app, users will find all they need to know about what is happening right now.
As a single page dedicated to only live information happening right now, all other data that previously cluttered the view are effectively removed.
The News tab is home to all club, player, and league news. Users can filter content based on topics using the top row filters.
Clear tab labels prevent potentially misguided navigation in news section, one of the most important feature in a sports app. This redesign also allows users to filter page to view specific topics.
At the center of the app is the user’s home club, displaying match schedule, up-to-date league standing, and key players stats.
Previously, accessing data on the user's home club required searching for individual bits of info on multiple pages. This new home club page increases findability in an easier to digest format.
This project provided an opportunity for me to grow as a designer, evaluating design with critical eyes for usability issues and proposing new designs by grounding myself in the needs and wishes of the users.
I particularly enjoyed synthesizing research findings and using that knowledge to ideate design solutions. I also became fluent in using Figma as a prototyping tool to express my solution to a problem.
If given the time and opportunity, I would love to implement the redesigned UIs and measure the impact.
Micro impact - the new design was focused on improving usability and therefore measuring usability metrics will be a key factor to determine the success of my redesign. In particular, I would prioritize measuring 'time to task' to assess findability and navigation.
Macro impact - as noted in the initial problem space, the ultimate goal of my redesign is to ramp up usage and grow users on the official platform. I would be interested in measuring the effect of the new design on the overall user adoption and retention.