Commonwealth Games England: Harnessing data for one of the world's biggest sporting events
Commonwealth Games England lead and manage the participation of Team England at the Commonwealth Games and help to raise awareness of this great sporting event.
Our challenge was to create a modern, intuitive online experience for fans and sports lovers, whilst making the website a key destination for information on Team England and their participation in the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
A recent Team England rebrand, along with a new kit and wider campaign creative, all fed into the brief and it was our job to incorporate this into the refreshed look and feel of the site. Designing with sports enthusiasts in mind, the team created something that was user-intuitive and exciting, helping to instil a sense of national pride.
Planning began with a web requirements workshop exploring audience, keyword rankings, sitemap, design and UX. The volume of onsite information, particularly during the games, was a key consideration. As a result, the site has features and styles common to both sports and news websites, serving up-to-the-minute results and game fixtures.
The design was created with enough flexibility to accommodate a range of content in two phases. The first saw the majority of the website build come to life, whilst the second encompassed technical elements such as Algolia search, the schedule and an interactive medal map. The website boasts a minimalist design, drawing inspiration from the Team England logo and St. George's Cross – a symbol of belonging and national pride. We channelled the energy and excitement of the event through impressive video footage and stunning imagery from past Games. We also incorporated subtle transitions, adding a dynamic feel to really bring the experience to life.
Our research concluded that a large proportion of users would be on a mobile or tablet, so we optimised the site accordingly. The vast amount of data we worked with has been visualised in a compelling way to enhance interactivity and increase dwell time. On the homepage, an interactive medal map animates data to display winners from previous Games. The homepage medal tally has a classic feel and updates using live data. During the lead up to the Games, a countdown clock was the stand-out feature to help build anticipation and at the Opening Ceremony, the timer was replaced with clocks set to London and Gold Coast times, enabling fans to navigate fixtures easily.
The team at Commonwealth Games England are delighted with the fully responsive website, which attracted more than 1,900,000 visitors during the 11 days of the Gold Coast Games (an increase of 1,700% from the previous Games in Glasgow). Of those, 48% returned to follow the action.
The introduction of a robust SEO strategy brought 82% of total traffic to the site organically and helped to earn over 600 unique backlinks from the likes of BBC Sport and GOV.UK. The media portal continues to act as the definitive guide for Team England information, with a wealth of rich historical data for fans to explore until the Games return to Birmingham in 2022.
"We chose to work with Salad because we knew right from their first pitch that they had a way of working that was the right fit for us.
From the initial planning stages right through to final delivery Salad's communication has been first class. Salad have provided Team England with a fantastic website that effortlessly captures the spirit of the Team and proudly showcases our efforts.
The site's intelligent capability and interactivity is second-to-none, offering fans the latest news and results at their fingertips. We're delighted with the new site and look forward to building on our relationship with Salad for a long time to come."
Peter Hannon, Head of Media and Communications at Commonwealth Games England.