We have relaunched the BBC Sport website for the first time since 2003, and have made a number of improvements.
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If you have a comment or question, we encourage you to read these FAQs as well as our post on our
Sport Editors' blog
What are the main changes?
This is the first major redesign for the Sport website since 2003 and we have made a number of improvements;-
- Switch from vertical left-hand navigation to horizontal
- New global navigation - ability to go to any sport from any page on the site
- New visual design with bigger, bolder images
- Enhanced football scores, results, fixtures and tables
- Enhanced live text commentary pages and video player
- Ability to share stories through social media, and comment on selected stories (coming soon)
- New web address (URL) - bbc.co.uk/sport
- New permanent web addresses for key content (eg Gossip columns)
- New England homepage
Those changes in more detail:-
- Why change from vertical to horizontal?
The new navigation means we have a wider page to better showcase sports video and imagery.
Plus, user feedback and audience data told us that many users found it awkward to get between the different sport sections of our previous site where they were reliant on the vertical left-hand navigation.
Its contextual nature meant that once you were within a section like Football for example, there was no fast route to get to another sport section of the site like Cricket or Cycling.
We know that the majority of our audience have an interest in more than one sport so we wanted to make it easier to navigate between the sections - via the links to sports in the navigation and the More Sports drop down.
We thoroughly tested prototype versions with a representative sample of our users around the UK and found the large majority were able to find their way around without any difficulties.
The new navigation also means we are now consistent with the BBC's other major sites - like News and iPlayer - in line with our strategy.
- How did you decide what sections are in the new navigation?
We know that moving around the site easily has always been one of the things our users most valued.
But over the years, the left-hand navigation on the old site had grown to contain 25 items.
Our user testing and research showed us that it was not possible to pack all of those links into a horizontal navigation without making it hard to use, and lessening its impact.
We prioritised the sports which were more visited, which we know most of our users are looking for most of the time, and which contain the bulk of our content, as well as the Olympics, which is a huge editorial priority for us in 2012.
All other sports can be found via the More Sports drop down at the right-hand side of the navigation. This means users are always just one click away from every sport on every page of the new site, which is an improvement on the old site.
One of the ways audience behaviour is changing with newer technologies, is that more and more people do not come to our site via the homepage, but directly to story pages they find via search, embedded links or social media recommendations. This means the onward journey from stories is as important as that from the homepage.
We learnt from the relaunch of the BBC News website that when the navigation moves from the left to the top of the page the audience became less reliant on it for all their navigation on the site and increasingly used in-page links to get around the site.
Therefore, we ensured that those key non-sport sections we could not fit into the navigation - like the Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland homepages - were prominently promoted on the homepage.
We have also built a new England sport homepage, to bring us in line with BBC News.
Having fewer sports in the navigation does not mean we are covering less - we are still offering the same breadth and depth of coverage, but hopefully showcasing it better.
- Why have do some sections of the site still have the old look?
The BBC Sport site has hundreds of sections and for this launch it was not possible for us to change all of these in one go.
Instead, we have prioritised the most-visited sections of the site first.
All the homepages of the listed sports will be relaunched, and the majority of content created for the site in terms of live event coverage, news stories, features, video, audio and photo galleries will also be in the new look.
We will update the sport specific homepages, statistics and sub-sections of the remaining areas of the site in the coming months.
During that interim period, sections which have not yet been relaunched, will still keep the old left-hand navigation, but stories in those sections will have the new look.
We will refresh the whole site as quickly as we can without compromising reliability.
- Has anything been taken away from the site?
There are a few areas of the previous site we are no longer updating that will be mothballed shortly after this launch.
The Sport Academy section will close, although the best Sport Academy content will continue to be promoted in the new site where relevant and be available via internet search. But the dedicated Sport Academy indexes will no longer be available.
We no longer need an Other Sports section, as the individual sports' sections are now all accessible from the global navigation.
Our revamp of the Football section on the site has also led to some changes in the site's structure.
Live scores and results and fixtures now have new improved destination pages as part of our enhanced statistics offering, removing the need for the many separate indexes we had previously.
And we have created new sections for the Champions League and Europa League, rather than the single Europe page we had before. You can also find all the latest scores, results and fixtures from the top leagues in Europe in our new statistics pages.
We will not be relaunching the Squad Selector or Football Predictor features.
NEW VISUAL DESIGN
- Why have you changed things?
Over the last 18 months one of the most consistent pieces of feedback we had from our users was that the site was looking dated in comparison to other websites. The redesign of the underlying architecture gave us the opportunity to update the layout and visual design to feel more modern and engaging, while improving the navigation, features and the information layout.
Since the last redesign the number of content types available on the site has grown. There are now live text commentaries, embedded video, social media modules and dynamic statistics pages alongside the traditional text content. The new layout design takes this into account and groups similar content and information types into specific areas of the page.
The site now uses the pan-BBC grid structure used by other sites such as News and Weather. The width remains the same, but moving the navigation out of the left-hand column allows 160 pixels more width for editorial content.
The extra space in the layout allows bigger imagery to better showcase great photography, as sport is a very visual genre.
- Why the kink in some images?
The use of background imagery and the overlaying of text on images breaks away from the stiffness of the rigid grid structure. It adds energy to the appearance of the site, better reflecting the experience of sport. This visual treatment is seen on other BBC sites such as the Homepage and Radio 1. This treatment creates a recognisable brand feature for the BBC's websites.
- Why the blue labels?
Blue is used to indicate any live content - live text commentaries, live video or audio, or live scores. The shade chosen is vibrant and energetic - to reflect the nature of live sport. It compliments the yellow BBC sport brand and is of similar hue, and each is easily distinguished when side by side.
ENHANCED FOOTBALL STATS - NEW LIVE SCORES, RESULTS, RESULTS, FIXTURES AND TABLES
We have launched new dynamic and visual functionality for all Fixtures, Live Scores, Results, and Tables for 50 leagues/competitions/regions around the UK and Europe (*full list below).
In detail, we offer:-
• Auto-updating Live Scores page allowing selection of that day's club and/or international matches around the UK, Ireland and Europe
• Latest score update highlighted in Live Scores banner graphic
• As-it-stands table indicating movers up/down on Live Scores page
• Latest match incident/time displayed on the Live Scores page
• Skip to yesterday's results/tomorrow's fixtures on the Live Scores page
• Fixtures - enhanced design with dropdown showing each team's last 5 results + head-to-head result last time teams met
• League Tables - enhanced design, with team-by-team at-a-glance form guide (last 10 matches) and drop down showing:-
• current season league position animated graph
• team top scorers (versus best in league)
• team average goals per game (versus best in league)
• last result/next fixture
• Links to preview/live/report match page from Fixtures, Live Scores, Results and Tables pages
• Club page - various statistics modules such as:
• League table (highlighting club's position in the table)
• Upcoming fixtures/(auto updating) today's matches/recent results
• Top goal scorers
• League games since
• Squad list
• Last match/next match
• Competition page - various stats modules such as:
• Upcoming fixtures/(auto updating) Today's matches/recent results
• League table
• Top scorers
Other new features include:
• Current league table and latest results included on competition fixtures page
• Current league table and upcoming fixtures included on competition results page
• Summary shots on/off target included on results detail
• Today's matches auto-updated on Fixtures page
Full list of competitions covered:-
Barclays Premier League
npower League One
npower League Two
Blue Square Bet Conference Premier
Blue Square Bet North
Blue Square Bet South
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League
IRN-BRU Scottish First Division
IRN-BRU Scottish Second Division
IRN-BRU Scottish Third Division
Press & Journal Highland Football League
Scottish Communities League Cup
Ramsdens Challenge Cup
Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League
Loosemores Welsh League Cup
IFA Carling Premiership
Airtricity Premier League
Uefa Champions League
Uefa Europa League
Austrian T-Mobile Bundesliga
Belgian Jupiler League
French Orange Ligue 1
Italian TIM Serie A
Portuguese ZON Sagres Primeira Liga
Spanish BBVA La Liga
Swiss Axpo Super League
Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig
Uefa European Championship 2012
Orange Africa Cup of Nations
Uefa European Championship 2013 Under-21 Qualifying
Uefa European Championship 2012 Qualifying
The FA Women's Super League
The FA Women's Premier League
The FA Women's Cup sponsored by E.ON
The FA Women's Premier League Cup
Uefa Women's European Championship 2013 Qualifying
Additional competitions/tournaments are added as/when they take place (e.g. World Cup Qualifiers, World Cup Finals etc.)
- For all fixtures in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two & Conference, League Cup and FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup, we offer dynamic live pages for every fixture.
feature a new visual treatment with minute-by-minute commentary, club badges, live action icons, team line-ups, bookings, red cards and substitutions and other match stats
The pages start their life as a match preview and update live during the game and at full-time the report drops in, meaning users can stay with one page for the duration of the match's lifespan.
- What about sports other than football?
We know that during the football season the majority of traffic to the Sport website is to the homepage and to content in the Football section.
That is why we have started here, with new-look pages and enhanced statistics that we will roll out for other sports in the future.
ENHANCED LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY PAGES AND VIDEO PLAYER
We know our live text commentary pages are some of the most popular on the site.
We know users really value the fact updates publish automatically as opposed to having to manually refresh the page.
We have enhanced these pages* further by introducing new wider designs with new icons to help people distinguish between different types of entries, eg incidents, tweets, BBC contributions. (* New design initially introduced for Football, Cricket, F1, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Tennis, Golf, Sportsday Live pages.)
Each sport's live page has a different set of incident types and associated icons relevant to that sport.
The back end of the page has also been improved so we can get more updates to you, faster.
There is also a new wider video player for live streams, with the option to show several live streams at once, or add in fast-turnaround on-demand clips or preview material.
We stream 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra audio in a pop-out player as we know many users prefer to be able to minimise this on their desktop.
The video player will undergo a significant relaunch for the Olympics, when we will be streaming up to 24 live streams and these will be offered with a host of extra functionality such as data overlay and live rewind.
NEW SOCIAL FUNCTIONALITY
The new site includes the BBC's share tools module that makes sharing content easier. Soon we will switch on the ability for readers to leave comments on selected sport stories and features.
We want you to be able to share the content we produce if you wish to, and we have added these links to make that easier. We have placed them prominently on all our content pages in the new site and they are already present on other BBC websites like BBC iPlayer and BBC News. Full FAQs on this feature can be found here - www.bbc.co.uk/help/web/sharing.shtml.
Our users are able to get involved in live sport coverage via text, Twitter and (for some events) email, and shortly after launch our users will be able to comment on selected stories as they do on the BBC News website currently.
The primary focus for this relaunch has been to update the look and feel of the site, but there are plans to make the service more social in future. Having closed 606, our intention is to focus discussion around our editorial and integrate audiences' comment better with our live coverage: we plan to introduce comments to the site and will be curating these - and live discussion of major sports events on third-party networks such as Twitter, through our live coverage.
NEW WEB ADDRESS
- Why are you making changes to the web addresses?
- Will my bookmarks still work?
- What pages can I bookmark?
- Why is there a 0 in some of the URLs and not others?
While the BBC Sport site has always been presented as bbc.co.uk/sport, the more observant of you will have noticed that for many years this has redirected to news.bbc.co.uk/sport.
We have now moved towards hosting the entire site at bbc.co.uk/sport as this will allow us to share the same infrastructure with all other bbc.co.uk sites.
Any bookmarks you have to the previous site will continue to work and we have no plans to stop supporting the old news.bbc.co.uk URLs, however we would recommend that you begin using the www.bbc.co.uk/sport address from today as it will now offer the most direct route to the site.
Internationally, the address will change to www.bbc.com/sport - if you are an international user you will automatically be taken to this page.
The new Sport site is served off two platforms - a dynamic publishing platform and a statically publishing one - we differentiate between these two platforms in the URL by the addition of a '0' to the statically published pages.
This differentiation between platforms allows us to manage our traffic more effectively and ensure as good a user experience as possible.
The new football section is built using semantic web technologies and is a development of a project begun with the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and extended with the 2010 World Cup website, which won industry praise for its use of RDF and open linked data.
We have given a new home to some key pieces of content that we know many regular users come to every day or every week.
So our Sportsday Live page, where we push out the day's news, social media snippets and your comments in minute-by-minute updates, has its own url. www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sportsday/live,
As do our daily gossip columns.
Other pages with their own new URLs which mean you can bookmark them are:
- Why have you made changes to the BBC Sport website?
Over the last 18 months one of the most consistent pieces of feedback we had from our users was that the site was looking dated in comparison to other websites.
The last time we did a major refresh of the site was back in 2003 (although we did make some tweaks, such as adding embedded video, in 2008). Back in 2003, the site received around 2m browsers a week in the UK - that figure is now around 11.5m.
In that time, people's browsing habits and needs have changed hugely, with video & audio, live scores and dynamically-updating text commentaries, and sharing to social media, just a few of the things people now expect on a sport website.
We have looked at the way in which our audience now behaves on our site and others around the web and we've set out to make it easier for you to find and use our key content, with a particular focus on improving access to our live sports coverage.
The BBC Sport website is the last of the BBC's major sites to be updated to new BBC-wide visual language, following in the footsteps of the relaunches of BBC News, BBC iPlayer, Weather, CBBC and the BBC Homepage over the last 18 months or so.
Furthermore, the old site was built on an older version of our Content Publishing System. Other parts of the BBC use that CPS, but had moved onto newer versions leaving Sport as the last site on the old one. Moving onto the upgraded CPS means our technical teams will no longer have to support the old version, and can devote more energy to making the new sites and the publishing system which underpins it, even better.
Some of the changes we have made behind the scenes for this refresh have made the publishing process more efficient. This means that we need fewer journalists to manually manage indexes and we can allow them to concentrate on producing great original content instead.
2012 is poised to be an unforgettable year for sport, and we expect our audiences to me more reliant on our online services than ever before. It was really important to make changes now so that our site is ready to make the most of this massive summer of sport and so our audience could get used to it well ahead of time.
The site will continue to provide the best of BBC Sport's high-quality journalism, live event coverage and same breadth of sports and events; we have just improved the way we deliver it to you.
- Why didn't you launch a beta site before the launch?
Running a beta and an existing site in parallel adds cost and technical complexity to a project, and we decided against a beta on this occasion.
But we have carried out extensive audience research at various steps along the way and have made many changes large and small as a result of the feedback we were given. We're confident that the majority of people will like these changes.
We recognise that the new layout will take some getting used to and acknowledge these changes won't please all of you immediately - but we feel the familiar feel to our other websites and intuitive design will help people get used to the changes more quickly.
We are actively monitoring all feedback we receive via blogs, social media, our survey (link) and the BBC duty complaints logs.
What will the BBC be doing with the audience feedback from the relaunch? Will you change the design if people don't like it?
We will monitor all feedback, and we appreciate it when audiences take the time to let us know what they think as this helps us improve the site on an ongoing basis. While we do take this feedback seriously, and are open to developing the site further where we can and with available resources, we are unable to act on every recommendation we get for obvious reasons.
- How much did you invest in the development of the new site? / How much did you spend on audience research and user testing?
The BBC does not break down costs further than those outlined in the Annual Report.
- Will you be publishing the audience research that shows people like the site?
The BBC has summarised the findings of audience research, and published these on the Internet Blog.
- How does this change affect mobile users?
The appearance of the BBC Sport service on mobile at bbc.co.uk/mobile has slightly altered with the launch of the new-look website.
There are some minor changes to navigation on the service that reflect the changes to the structure of the web service and an improved look for live text commentaries.
A full mobile site refresh is planned for later in the year.
We also have plans to launch apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV in coming months: we intend to repurpose this site to best meet the needs of audiences accessing BBC Sport coverage on those devices. Relaunching the desktop site is just one part of a series of innovations in the BBC's online coverage of sport in 2012.
- Will video play on iPhones/iPads and other devices that don't support Flash?
We are working to ensure our video will work on devices which not support the Flash software, but which do support other video standards. Although, this functionality will not be available immediately on the redesigned site, we hope to be able to roll it out later.
- When will the product be made available internationally?
Though the content offer and layouts will differ slightly from territory to territory, we are relaunching with this new design globally on bbc.com/sport.
- How will you ensure the site remains accessible to users with disabilities?
We've completely redeveloped the code that makes up our pages, and accessibility has been a key consideration every step of the way.
We believe that you should find it even easier than before to navigate the site regardless of whether you use assistive technologies such as screen readers and screen magnification software, or whether you prefer to adjust your browser settings to suit your needs.