Articles of Interest

The State of Websites in Action Sports

So I've got a brief rant regarding the current state of websites in the Action Sports Industry. Particularly with many of the brand websites. It's just a quick one but after reviewing some URLs yesterday, I was in complete disbelief of the crap these companies are allowing to be published on the internet from both a content, design and functionality standpoint.

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What the heck is up with the Action Sports Industry brand websites these days? An absolute usability junk show! Come on guys get back with the program. Billabong's site has broken images everywhere and surface content that is two years old; Hurley's website is a Cold Fusion CSS nightmare and Quik/Roxy's sites are a Cut-Copy-Paste high school yearbook at best. RipCurl is at least a bit more clear on brand message and information architecture but if each of them would at least take some hints from Nike, Apple, Google (yes, Google), Coca-Cola, Adidas or Blackberry/RIM to name just a few, they'd be somewhere in the right zip code.

Some $5 Words to Consider:

HTML5, CSS3, YUI, Global Caching, User Experience, Cross-Platform Interoperability, Video on the homepage, The Funnel, Defined Online Business Goals, Event Marketing/Digital Campaign Continuity.

On Video/Webcasting:

(the most relevant and largest medium for opportunity)

I know Bobby M. just unloaded on the ASP recently and while I respect his ability to voice a strong viewpoint publicly, he was clueless regarding the competative parallel between Tennis and Surfing. The greatest opportunity the ASP and the Action Sports industry brands are sleeping on is the strategic use of online video content and live webcasting. Yes the ASP event webcasts are getting better each year, there is much room for improvement. If anyone had the chance to experience the recent webcast of the Tennis U.S. Open in New York then you have seen the future of webcasting. It was far and away the best online user experience I've seen (as of the time of this post) from a live streaming, data analytics (non endemic Advertiser help from IBM), and user interface standpoint.

What Do I Suggest?

Create a video content and digital distribution plan in alignment with your global marketing and events calendar across all high priority touch points. I'm not talking about lame ad-hoc or random post event video propaganda, but a firm and articulate visual content plan that both educates and engages with the consumer (i.e., the Action Sports Youth Outdoor Lifestyle Enthusiast..and their parents) with clear brand, product and lifestyle messaging. Oh.., and keep it AUTHENTIC!

Putting your heads together to come up with a creative way of producing authentic brand, product and lifestyle video content is the very best way to connect with your audience online. It's not enough to say "Did you read it?". People want to See, Hear, Feel and Smell it and you can't do that with nice photos, ad and written content alone. Good use of video "Shows" it.

The Good

There are some quality video and content pieces out there from the brands that do a pretty good job of delivering the "action" in Action Sports.

The Bad

It's all over the map and has little to no strategic business goal

In Layman's Terms:

Take a step back and regroup. Set some clearly defined brand and business goals that span mobile, desktop and social media platforms globally, and stop throwing crap at the wall hoping some of it will stick. Some of the Action Sports brand sites are getting the layout and usability standards down but missing the visual user engagement piece..and badly.

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Posted in Web Design Post Date 03/08/2016