Delivering the City Annual Report

The annual report is an opportunity for the Club to reflect on what we’ve delivered over the last 12 months and we’re always focused on doing a great job presenting this to our fans. No pressure then.

Working with one of our design and build partners plus our internal Marketing and Communications teams, we kicked off this project with a sketching session that enabled us to discuss the various user needs whilst reiterating the desire to deliver a visually compelling experience.

It’s critical to us that we retain our mobile-first approach to delivery and from day one, we built with this in mind. The team was challenged with:

  • Delivering a visually impactful site, rich with infographics and imagery
  • Delivering a performant site across a variety of connections and…
  • Delivering support across multiple devices
  • Introducing a navigational approach that would be understood by all users
  • And — complying with our recently updated Digital Style Guide which aims to introduce more standardised site interactions across City properties

The designers had the unenviable task of delivering against these requirements and presented a set of high fidelity mock-ups with InVision that seemed to hit the mark. These introduced the concept of directing users to the next section using the sketched ‘tactics’ icons to indicate the way through the site (which was also adopted within the PDF version). This provided to be a big hit amongst the team — and with users.

Testing across our supported devices ensured that we had a consistent user experience, even though iOS 10 arrived mid-way through the project. But you can’t catch ’em all, there we some bugs. We had challenges with scrolling on MacOS, especially when using Magic Mouse. This was a new issue for the team and something that we couldn’t recreate on Windows — even using the same browser. It turned out that the visually rich requirement was taking its toll and the jumping that was being reported when scrolling was resolved by hosting images on the City CDN and distributing the load across the network.

Bugs aside, the only un — tested (and almost untestable) element was the social sharing. We knew that this would get engagement on social platforms, so we optimised the site to pull in relevant content and delivered imagery straight into fan’s feeds, which also seems to have been well received:

And one last thing to consider? Domain updates. This time last year, we were living on mcfc.co.uk, this year we’re on mancity.com. To ensure that we could future-proof a little, when we put annualreport2016.mancity.com live, we also migrated the 2015 report (which you can cunningly find at annualreport2015.mancity.com) and created annualreport.mancity.com for marketing purposes — and so you can always find the latest version.

So, skip forward to 6am on the 18th Oct and we went live. We’re now using analytics across everything we do and with Event Tagging enabled in GA, we’re able to see the success of the project. Small things, but they embrace the way we’re now working and using data to inform our product decisions.