Critical Mass teamed up with Watford FC to deliver Premier League’s most trailblazing, fan-focused, mobile first digital experience ever.
Premier League football is big business—big brand endorsements, big deals, big everything. But the big, beating heart of football is the often-overlooked fans. That’s why we teamed up with Watford FC to deliver Premier League’s most trailblazing, fan-focused, mobile first digital experience ever.
Watford FC works harder. Through a history of relegations and promotions, they’ve always put their blood, sweat and tears into every match. And the fans have been there through it all, cheering them on, and fighting with them. We needed to make a site worthy of the team, and in service of the fans. A site that brings the experience of Vicarage Road Stadium to them—wherever they are in the world. This was the driving idea behind the new site.
We worked with over 4,000 Watford FC supporters, conducting online surveys, focus groups, and usability testing. Insight from the research and testing resulted in a new positioning and a new digital experience, with the fan at the heart. The design needed to reflect their hard-grafting identity. It also needed to strike a balance between modernity and their history as one of England’s oldest clubs.
We began with their colours—bright yellow, black and red. Instead of fighting them, we chose to embrace them. Typography is clear and readable. The combination of Avalon—an Avant Garde derivative—and Clarendon feel contemporary, but rooted in history. Buttons have simple, thick lines and arrows. We shot all new player portraits and treated them with sepia grading to reinforce the history. On team pages, they resemble Panini cards, adding a tinge of nostalgia. We wrote a behavioural code for the brand, defining where and how to animate site elements. Animations were to be bold, honest and used sparingly. We tested the design weekly with fans, making sure they’d feel invested in its success. Ultimately, we designed a digital experience for the fan, by the fan.
- Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:
We placed users at the heart of the project, it’s not just a tick box exercise that we often see. It breaks category conventions by focusing on what is most important to the fan. For example, creating a whole new experience on match day when nothing matters more than the match. It truly demonstrates UX values.
The new digital experience is socially focused. The club recognized that their fans are having conversations on Social Media. Most football clubs ignore this, wanting to control the message on the site. Watford has gone against this trend and pulled the conversation front and center on their Homepage.
- Submitted By: Critical Mass
- Client Name: Watford Football Club