What is it for?
Bleacher Report is a global digital sports hub for fans of all sports, in which bloggers create and collaborate on content to create a colourful and creative home for sports news. It varies from its competitors such as Sky Sports or BBC Sports in the sense that it is more open and millennial than the very structured layouts of Sky Sports and BBC.
Does it create a good user experience?
Bleacher Reports’ user experience is a unique one in the sense that it offers a ‘millennial’ home for sports news. By this I mean it is less formal than its competitors, it includes a trending section linking it with twitter and will post articles that would most likely not be approved at some of its more contemporary competitors. In terms of validity of information, Bleacher Report is not the most reliable for information. Nonetheless what it may lack in ‘official news’ it makes up for with more ‘fan orientated content’ and a layout perhaps more easily navigated by a younger consumer. As you can see below the Sky Sports page on the right is more structured, simpler and easier to find information – compared to BR which contains more content and slightly more complicated to navigate.
Improvements for Bleacher Report:
In terms of navigation and interface layout, I believe BR falls into a niche market in the sports news market which especially in England is a duopoly. Bleacher Report is more global than Sky or BBC and covers more sports and posts more information. IF BR attempted to become more structured it may lose its USP and could be detrimental to the sites activity and profits. BR is now owned by a leading broadcaster in the US – Turner Sports. Turner has great success in producing sports programs and sports news to a younger generation as evidenced by the multi award winning basketball show Inside the NBA. Therefore I believe it is owned by the correct brand and has a unique business model that works for them, this is further supported by winning multiple awards – Forbes called Bleacher Report “one of the leaders” among sports start-ups “figuring out the digital space” in August 2011, noting the company’s success in “providing publishing tools to all sorts of knowledgeable sports fans to report and express what they know.” Bleacher Report was also named one of Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2011”, and was picked by Adweek readers as 2011’s “Best Sports Media Brand.
My only improvement would be to be more thorough with what is posted onto the site as it loses credibility due to posting of rumours and false news. Nonetheless this could take away from what is different about the site and lose its fast paced feel. My advice would be to monitor customer feedback on articles and if there is a negative response to many of the false news articles then they should consider being more thorough with what makes it onto the site.
When applying the OCHN Framework (Valacich, Parboteeah, Wells 2007) to Bleacher Report, we must analyse the three main components of this framework in relation to the site:
Structural Firmness – Due to who Bleacher Report is owned by now they have capital to ensure the safety requirements of the site are of a good standard. Site security isn’t necessarily as important to Bleacher Report as it is to an e-commerce site as there is no transaction of money. Bleacher Report’s main security problems would relate to what is posted as the majority of the content is posted by sports fans, this means it is hard to regulate everything that goes on to the site and there could be the possibility of an offensive or inappropriate article posted. Nonetheless this article would be removed off the site very quickly.
Functional Convenience – Bleacher Report to its target market is very simple to navigate. You have the ability to customise your homepage by selecting teams or sports that you would like to hear about. In addition there is a tab at the top for each sport and is therefore easy to find the information that you would like. However, the site is aimed at a millennial target audience as it says in their google description. The layout of the site could detract an older demographic who aren’t as familiar with these more blog style news sites such as Reddit or the Huffington Post.
Representational Delight – Bleacher Report does a good job in creating a vibrant and interactive sports hub in which videos, articles, surveys and interactive posts are all converged into one page. In addition it has a constant thread from various social media sites meaning there is new content being constantly updated onto the site. This creates more areas your eyes are drawn to and offers a more fulfilling, exciting and interactive experience than its competitors.
The strict order of importance of the OCHN Framework (Structural Firmness(SF), Functional Convenience(FC), Representational Delight(RD)) is slightly jumbled when applied to BR as the security of the site isn’t of great importance in terms of what makes people come to the site. I would argue the RD is what makes people come to the site due to it being different to other sports news sites, then security and lay out are on par.