The scores, please… What works and what doesn’t in espn.com’s 2018 performance

And the results are in! For the past semester, I have been tracking ESPN’s website, which can be viewed here. The following are some of the best (and worst) aspects of espn.com, starting with the bad news first.

1. The site’s layout is too cluttered at times. Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 2.45.08 AM.png

Yes, advertisements are one of the main sources of income for a website, but the number of ads scattered within articles can be a deterrent keeping people from reading an article in its entirety. There is also, as pictured above, a lot crammed on to espn.com’s homepage. There are subcategories within categories on the site’s homepage that contain videos, ads, game scores and articles.Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.08.15 AM.png

Although putting all of this information right next to or on top of each other makes it easier for readers to access information without having to scroll very far or click through many tabs, it can be easy to lose track of or just skip over important information. This brings me to the second issue I found while tracking ESPN.

2. Is it a story with visuals or maybe eye-catching interactive graphics? Or is the story just a block of text? You won’t be able to tell from the outside.

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via GIPHY
Despite every article displayed on espn.com following the same format-a headline paired with a still image pertaining to the topic being discussed- there are plenty of articles that contain videos, photos or interactive graphics. The issue here is not that there is not enough of this type of content, the issue is that this content is not displayed on the site in a way that signals to readers what they can expect when they click on that article.

3. ESPN: the source for all breaking news in sports

Whether it’s a score update or news that the Bruins finally beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in game seven, ESPN’s multiple social media accounts, as well as espn.com, have audiences covered.

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4. Speaking of a social media presence, ESPN sure has one.

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Snapchat, multiple Twitter accounts, Instagram, Facebook, a SportsCenter show on Snapchat and a built-in widget on the Safari homepage of every single are just some of the many ways ESPN reaches its audience. The site has developed a following across virtually every mainstream social media platform, gathering thousands of shares on its material.

5. Looking toward the future, don’t hide behind a facade.

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via GIPHY
Despite the success ESPN has on social media, espn.com needs a bit of a facelift. Declutter the site’s layout, and don’t hide visually interesting articles behind static images that are not even in the article. The site has the content for both the avid sports fan as well as the person that only watches the Super Bowl maybe once every other year. espn.com just needs to learn how to flaunt what it’s got a little bit more.

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espn.com uses enticing visuals to compare 2016 NBA Finals matchup

In a 2016 piece, ESPN gave readers a look into the 2016 NBA Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors by using data visualization to compare the teams’ stats.

First and foremost, the article uses color to successfully differentiate the two teams’ statistics. The Cavaliers’ statistics are indicated by the color red, while the Warriors’ statistics are indicated by the color blue.

The article uses a variety of interactive charts to compare data on aspects of both teams’ play, such as points per play,

point differentials,

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percentiles by play,

playoff usage, playoff defense, play-by-play win probability, number of players acquired via trade, draft and free agency, as well as various other factors such as turnover percentage.

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When scrolling over these charts, they give readers the specific numerical value for each statistic, including the rank as well as its corresponding percentage.

The charts and colors chosen for this article allow readers to immediately see the differences in the teams’ play, putting all of the information they would need in one interactive space. The data helps to illustrate the point that the author was trying to make, which was that, through using what ESPN calls its Basketball Power Index, the Warriors had a higher percent chance of winning the NBA championship in 2016 based on their team statistics. After all, probability is all about the numbers.

An afternoon with Mayor Betsy Hodges and Professor Michael Siegel

On Wednesday afternoon, former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Boston University community health sciences professor Michael Siegel joined BU’s Initiative on Cities to discuss firearm violence and police shootings in the United States.

Professor Siegel is known for his research on firearm violence in the United States, which goes in-depth about how racism plays a role in the amount of gun violence per state.

Mayor Hodges is known for her work with the police force and community to reform police force policy in Minneapolis following the fatal shootings of Jamar Clark and Justine Diamond.

The following Twitter Moment includes live coverage of this event.

While Siegel’s research does not reach down to the city level, he has stated that the research is still strong enough to indicate that there is a strong relationship between racism and rates of gun violence in a community.

After discussing the priorities she had for her community and how she worked with both the police force and community as a whole to reach them, Mayor Hodges left the room with parting advice she says she often tells the undergraduates she works with: always know the budget of the organization you work with. She stated it’s always important to know where the money is flowing because it will indicate the values of an organization.