Our agency is full of sports fanatics. Every year, we draft our March Madness brackets, post them on a communal wall and try to practice sportsmanship. As the victor last year, I had a reputation to uphold. To make sure I knew exactly where I stood, I downloaded a desktop widget that keeps track of each game.
Complete with hardwood floor décor, Yahoo Sport’s Courtside widget did almost everything I wanted it to. It posted the current scores and winners of each game. Broken down into the appropriate divisions, this widget provided users access to every active matchup and the functionality to see the scores of earlier games. Design features showed five or six games at one time, which broke up the information into reasonably digestible chunks. The interface was designed to allow users to easily switch between conferences and view upcoming games. There also was an option to add teams to a “watch list” so fans would not miss any of their favorite teams.
Some downfalls of this widget are that it could not isolate live games and had no tie-ins to brackets. Ideally, I would love to see a widget that combines a group’s bracket scores and the live scores of the tournament. This way I would be able to tell exactly when my bracket pulls away from the rest of the pack. Sporting events — especially March Madness — have massive social applications. Because there are so many games played simultaneously or back to back, Yahoo would have been wise to add in functionality that included a social aspect and emphasized the timeliness of the tournament. This would help facilitate interaction among us working folk who cannot devote time to watching entire games during work hours, but would still like to be a part of the conversation. This could be accomplished by incorporating a message board or chat feature that allows members of a bracket competition to interact.
Outside of this critique, I think this widget is an excellent example of how marketers can develop applications that satisfy users’ wants. By giving users a reason to download your widget, or any other marketing vehicle, marketers can reap the benefits of an effective branding campaign and connect with users in a meaningful manner.
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