Women’s soccer has been around for ages, however it doesn’t get the coverage that it deserves. Fans often have limited access to streams, where they are difficult to find and are usually low in quality. Articles with information about games and players often only exist on Twitter and doesn’t reach as widely as sports journalist would like. Women’s soccer has an audience and a large one that is willing to support and grow the game, however mainstream media is not giving it the time it needs. A study by University of Stanford claims that women's sports only get 4% of broadcast time on sport channels which is unacceptable.
Onside is an app designed to help aid this problem, it is a platform that allows fans to gain information, watch streams and interact together about women's soccer. Users will be able to gain access to articles, stats, streams, athlete posts, and other threads posted by community members. On streams there will be running live commentary so fans can interact with each other using comments and likes throughout the game.
Onside is to bring the women's soccer community closer and to be able to grow the sport from the bottom up to the point that games are broadcast more on television, players are paid equally as their male counterparts, and younger female soccer players can grow up knowing they can have a secure career as a professional soccer player.
I first surveyed other apps that offered similar features that my app offers, many of these were sports app were made to be linked to their website or broadcaster. Looking at all these apps, visually they were very masculine dominated where there was a strong use of dark colours and all the athletes and sports teams were male. These apps also focused on giving information like stats, highlights and articles rather than be about forming a community or space that fans can interact together on.
Creating a persona allowed for a better idea of who would use the app and aid in the design of what and how the app will function.
With initial paper prototypes, the biggest issue that came up when user testing was around the streaming feature.
The screen on the left is my initial screen for the streaming page, when user testing, users found it frustrated that games would be showed as a long scroll which doesn’t make sense especially if there were a lot of games playing on one day. The other part was the tabs with the dates, users felt it was unnecessary to have individual days for upcoming games but instead to have them listed under upcoming games.
The screen on the left is my initial screen for how the streaming of the game would look like, I was too caught up in the live feature and mimic it after the Instagram live feature that I forgot that games are in landscape mode and not portrait. So viewing a game in portrait mode would be unpleasant. Users mentioned a want of knowing who posted the comment and to also provide some sort of liking feature.
This is a walkthrough of Onside, where it takes you through the process a user would go through once they first downloaded the app and is curating the app to their liking.
The app has onboarding that introduces the app to users before they sign up but after that process there is additional onboarding that allows users to pick their favourite national teams, leagues and clubs. This allows the user to customize and curate the app to their liking. By doing it in three separate parts it breaks up the information for the user, while keeping it short enough so that they won’t get frustrated with the process.
The streaming component was the most complex part of the app in terms of making multiple iterations after user testing various times. Rather than the original idea of using photographs to show which games were playing for the day, I decided to pivot to using logos of the team instead as this was visually cleaner and allows for users to see immediately which teams are playing rather than have to decipher photographs of players.
The live commentary component of users being able to comment and interact with other fans while the game is playing live was complex in terms of the amount of information is on the screen. Readability is of concern here where comments should be easily readable while the hearts need to signify to users that they can be pressed. By making the text and hearts larger, it helps reach these goals.
The other three main components besides the streaming feature is the home/news feed, threads and athletes hub. Home is a culmination of news articles, stats, highlights, and features from threads and athletes hub. It’s like a discover page where the user gets a touch of everything and has a sum up of things that are happening in the women’s soccer world while still having it curbed to their team preferences.
Threads is a Twitter like component where users can post their thoughts and opinions to share to the community, from there people can comment on said threads and form conversations and discussions. Threads is remanence of jerseys and the act of sharing jerseys post game as a sign of respect, this is similar but in the sense of sharing thoughts and opinions.
Athletes Hub is for users to catch up on their favourite athletes and to see what they are doing regarding the soccer world, this is different from Instagram where it doesn’t share athletes personal social lives but rather their professional lives. This can still be in a fun way like behind the scenes, interviews, recipes, and side passions; but all linked back to soccer.
I believe that if I had more time, I would have liked to build this app even further, especially in terms of flushing out the Threads and Athletes Hub components. These two sections could almost be separate apps in themselves but I think they add a richness to the streaming component and help round out the rest of the app so in the future it would be nice to add more to these sections.
To conclude, Onside is a platform that allows fans of women’s soccer to get to know each other and interact in order to build a stronger community and grow the sport from a grassroots like movement. It also provides a space for fans to enjoy the sport they love watching and reduce the frustration they may have felt before from trying to find games to watch.
The boldness and vibrancy of this app to me reflects women’s soccer. It’s a tough sport that has many female athletes that are playing for millions of dollars less than their male components, yet they continue playing. I believe that shows true grit and love of the sport. I hope this app is able to capture that spirit and be inspiring for fans everywhere to use.