The Scottish Football Association (SFA) is at the heart of Scottish football – the anchor of the country’s national sport and keeper of immortalised memories. Its website severely lacked in accessibility, usability and heart so you can imagine our celebrations when we were awarded the chance to create a show-stopping new website that was well and truly match fit. We’re incredibly proud of the part we played in transforming the way in which millions of Scots now access the national game.
We understood that the SFA website needed to harness the pride and passion of the Hampden Roar to become the destination where every fan of every age, gender and demographic could indulge in their love of the beautiful game and feel part of something special. While the new site needed to immortalise the memories and heroes that have made the last 145 years on the field an exhilarating journey, it also had be much more modern, easy to navigate and host a mine of important information.
We started by auditing the existing site, digging deep into analytics, applying heat-mapping and user tracking software. We also interviewed fans to understand exactly what they liked and didn’t like about the site.
We found that the website wasn’t responsive across multiple devices despite identifying that 67% of users viewing the site did so via tablet and mobile, while only 32% used desktop. This meant that the majority of browsers had a poor user experience and were struggling to find the information they wanted. The site had a tacky appearance, with dated images, and there was no hierarchy of information, with details of current fixtures difficult to find. Fans searching for games would often divert to other sites like the BBC.
Overall, it didn’t reflect the Scottish FA’s ethos as a forward-thinking governing body. And while the SFA was the heart and centre of football offline, it certainly wasn’t online.
We continued to scope the site and progress our strategy, which focused on the mast site requirements. Because football is for the masses in Scotland, the site needed to showcase not just men’s football, but also the women’s game and youth fixtures, while appealing to everyone from fans to journalists.
An archive had to feature player records for everyone who has ever kicked a ball for Scotland, as well as details and results of every fixture dating back to the very first Scotland vs England match in 1872.
Accessibility and enhanced usability was at the top of our requirements list, which is why we developed the site using a mobile-first, HTML5 responsive approach, allowing the site to automatically scale for any device.
We prioritised UX / UI over more traditional design techniques to accommodate the vast volume of important content required throughout the site and found a way to host and view the data without slowing down the site’s performance. Additionally we were able to convert email sign-up and drive ticket sales using an optimal call-to-action.
We built an interface to facilitate live data feeds to pull in fixtures and results, giving the site real-time capability, and designed the back-end to allow the SFA to add and amend content in the fastest, most flexible way possible.
Site visibility within search engines is always a top priority, which is why we ensured the site-map, search result pages, URL slugs and navigation prioritised organic search visibility. This allowed us to ensure that when a draw happened, or new games and fixtures were announced, users could easily find Scottish FA information in organic search and be directed straight to the website. Special thought was given to hierarchy to ensure content that the SFA wants the user to engage with first is given priority.
We developed the Coach and Referee pathways – a brand new feature allowing anyone who would like to become a Coach or Referee of Scottish football to begin their journey straight from the SFA website.
The SFA is constantly innovating, so we future-proofed the site by allowing additional 360 video to be added to the main navigation in anticipation of live-match streaming.
In short, we turned the SFA website into a hub for everyone with a passion for or interest in Scottish football - representing the game in all of its glory.
The new site was applauded by fans and journalists alike.
Comparing statistics from the old to the new site we witnessed a significant uplift in performance, notably:
We’re confident we scored big for Scottish football.