miércoles, 31 de octubre de 2012

Reminder: Our Northern Meetups Are Next Week. Is Your Pitch Ready?

We've had such a great response and such persistent requests for additional tickets to the Northern Meetups that we've decided to release some more. While about 800 of ya'll will be able to hang out with us, all at the same time, we're gonna give a few more tickets and let folks in on a 1-in-1-out basis. So grab a ticket and come on down early so you can be one of the first 800 folks in the door. Drink tickets go to the first 800 folks that show up, but if you miss the free drink tickets, well, you can always buy a beer and hang out. This is quite literally the last time we'll release tickets so get cracking.

There are just a few tickets left for the Detroit and Chicago meetups; Toronto sold out within a matter of days, so RSVP now. If our past meetup tours are any indication, hitting up the Great White North should be a real hoot.

We'll be at awesome venues like Toronto's Steam Whistle, Detroit's Hockey Town Cafe, and Chicago's Zhou B Art Center, and more TechCrunchers than ever before will be in attendance. Here's the whole roster: Jordan Crook, John Biggs, Matt Burns, Colleen Taylor, and Darrell Etherington, Romain Dillet and Elin Blesener.

Apparently we chose a Chicago venue that is a bit out of the way. The space is awesome, but a bunch of readers indicated it's hard to get to. Uber heard your cries. Enter the promo code, 'TCNOVCHI12? in the app or at Uber.com, and you'll receive $10 off black car rides to/from the event. For more information, check out uber.com/chicago or tweet @Uber_CHI.

The most important thing? We have some great sponsors. They stepped up when few others would and for that we're grateful. Here they are:

Ford is loaning us some cars to ride around the lonesome north.

New Relic is supplying event T-shirts, which is amazing.

And our other awesome sponsors:

Demo Startups

YouTube Is Testing Out A New Design For Pages With More Navigation Options

Most companies tend to test new features and product designs in the wild with a small subset of people. The great thing about that is that on the Internet, the world is a tiny place. A few tipsters have sent in some screenshots and a video of a new design that YouTube is testing out, and we've confirmed that it's legitimate.

Here's what a YouTube spokesperson said to us:

With more videos coming to YouTube every minute we're always experimenting with ways to help people more easily find, watch and share the videos that matter most to them. As always, we'll consider rolling changes out more broadly based on feedback on these experiments.

First, let's take a look at the screenshot and then we'll see what's new. I really like it and I hope that it's something that sees the light of day for the entire userbase:

What you'll notice on this video page is that it has a navigation bar on the left-hand side, which drives you to interact with more of your playlists and subscriptions. This is a direction that YouTube has been going in for quite a while, as its current homepage is heavily focused on the channels that you're subscribed to.

Here's what I see for a video page right now, sans left-hand navigation:

(I love that YouTube suggests videos about baldness. They know me well…)

The great part about the design that YouTube is testing is that you don't get "lost" when someone sends you a link to a one-off video. Right now, you can click through similar videos of course, but by bringing all of your subscriptions to the navigation, the site makes sure that you can start digging right in. It's smart.

Here's a video walkthrough from another tipster with a differently designed homepage:

What can we learn from this? Google's video unit is not standing pat on simply owning the space that it's in, and its designers are given the freedom to play around with different things and get some real-world reaction. Clearly, these things aren't turned on for me, but I really like what I'm seeing.

There are elements that one could say feel like "Google+", but you have to remember that Google is working on unifying all of its products, and all of these properties sit under the same company. Basically, Google+ is Google, as I've stated time and time again. More importantly, Google has been consistent with this messaging as well.

Are you seeing this design test? Either way, what are your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Flickr]

YouTube provides a platform for you to create, connect and discover the world's videos. The company recently redesigned the site around its hundreds of millions of channels. Partners from major movie studios, record labels, web original creators, viral stars, and millions more all have channels on YouTube. YouTube is predominantly an ad-supported platform, but also offers rental options for a growing number of movie titles. YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who...

? Learn more

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world's information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company's extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google's highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...

? Learn more

Going retro. How far back would you go?

Retro montage

I've often commented, when asked which smartphone fills my needs best, that I could pluck almost any device from my Symbian archive, stick in my SIM and refresh its podcasts/PIM info and I'd be off and running.

Here are some advantages of going 'retro':

  • no problems with pocketability
  • better feel in the hand when really mobile, less droppable
  • (probably) no problems with fragility
  • full use with gloves on(!)
  • no worries about it getting something really valuable lost or stolen (who'd nick a old Nokia in 2012 - a sad observation...)
  • a wider range of form factors, including sliders, candybar T9, candybar QWERTY, touch/T9 hybrid, full clamshell QWERTY, etc. - one form factor very definitely does not fit all!
  • The feel of buttons under your fingers - definite, mechanical, satisfying buttons...
  • the certainty that you can replace the battery (everything in the Symbian world prior to 2010 had a battery door/cover)
  • you already (probably) own the device in question, so you don't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it...

The disadvantages are just as numerous, of course, from lack of compatibility with many 2012 apps and services to smaller screens and slower processors. But, staying in the 'retro' spirit, just how far could I go back?

One obvious point is that beyond a certain point (the Nokia E71 and N95 were the oldest devices to get it), the free worldwide sat-nav wouldn't apply. Not that I'm averse to a modest ten quid for a year's navigation license on older/other devices (e.g. the aforementioned N82), but it's a hassle setting up the license and you have to wonder if Nokia's map license servers, which aren't technically needed anymore, will be taken offline at some point.

N82 running latest Gravity

Another factor might be PIM sync, with the current excellent Mail for Exchange implementation not being available and reliable once you go back beyond S60 3rd Edition FP2, which means that you'd have to rely on SyncML or Nokia Suite to get contacts and calendar backwards and forwards.

Go back further and you can even re-emerge into the world of touch, thanks to the Sony Ericsson UIQ-interfaced phones, albeit with a plastic stylus (eight years before the Samsung Galaxy Note!!), far slower processors and less capable hardware than today's devices.

Also from eight years or so ago, there are the large 4"-screened Communicators, of which the 9500 was possibly the best, with full keyboard, menu-based interface and yet with appallingly underpowered media handling and web browsing by current standards. (The Nokia E90 promised to take this form factor and really up the hardware spec, and is another candidate, but even that ended up being poorish for media and web.)

Nokia 9500

Maybe web rendering, generally, is a showstopper for you? Anything but mobile web pages are out of the question in 2012 with the older, slower processors and less capable browsers.

Or maybe a showstopper (and somewhat topical, given Apple's controversial proprietary 'Lightning' connector in its latest devices) is the use of older data connectors: Nokia Pop-port, mini USB, Sony Ericsson's proprietary port, and so on? It drives me mad, when I do get out a much older device (pre N82), to realise that I can't just plug in a standard microUSB data cable or 3.5mm audio jack. Times have, in this regard, changed massively for the better, I feel. (Well, unless you have an iPhone....)

Proprietary connectors

How far back could you go, plucking an old favourite out of a drawer and bringing it back to life in 2012 in a productive way?

Comments welcome, but I'd be torn between N95 8GB (which I foolishly sold a long time ago - sob), N82 (still have it, massively battered, as shown above, but still working perfectly) or N86 (now with a cracked plastic back, but also still working perfectly). Something of that generation, with decent RAM and performance, perhaps. Or maybe my slightly newer Nokia X6, with the capacitive touchscreen and boombox speakers (and 'Symbian Anna' custom firmware!) Choices, choices....

Let the discussion rage!

PS. If you do decide to have a crack at bringing a retro Symbian smartphone out of retirement, do note my 'pimping' series of articles, which should save you a lot of time:

PPS. Any other devices you'd like to see me 'pimp'?

    Six major brands that have 'borrowed' Pinterest's design

    Posted 30 October 2012 10:29am by David Moth with 1 comment

    Pinterest is definitely one of the big digital marketing success stories of the past few years and most brands have finally recognised the site's potential for driving both traffic and sales.

    The reason for Pinterest's impressive referral stats is at least partly attributable to its page design, as the pinboards allow users to to window shop and pick out attractive products that they want to buy.

    The affect on users is so dramatic that last week we blogged a number of cases studies which indicate that Pinterest drives more sales than Facebook.

    So it's no coincidence that a number of major brands have used a Pinterest-style design recently when overhauling their websites.

    Now we're not saying that Pinterest invented the image-focused layout, but it definitely helped to popularise it as an alternative to a traditional linear timeline of content.

    And here are some of the most high profile examples. If you think we've missed any then please point them out in the comments...

    1. eBay

    In October eBay completely redesigned its site to place a greater emphasis on product discovery, for which the best design they could come up with was a Pinterest inspired design.

    It even allows users to create a product feed and follow other feeds. Sound familiar? 

    2. MySpace

    The once-mighty social network has tried everything to try and grab another shot at the big time,  Facebook and Twitter integration, a celebrity backer, a new connected TV partnership with Panasonic and a new MySpace music player. 

    That all failed, but MySpace still had one trick left up its sleeve: a Pinteresting redesign. 

    3. Facebook

    Even the daddy of social networking isn't immune to Pinterest's charms, although that should be no surprise as Facebook has a long history of trying, and generally failing, to take inspiration from its rivals' products.

    Facebook's Pinterest influence comes in the form of its new 'Collections' feature that allows users to collate product images from brand pages and share the collection with friends.

    Collections was rolled out in Beta earlier this month in partnership with seven US retailers and is currently offline awaiting a full launch.

    It's Facebook's attempt to conquer e-commerce by incorporating 'Collect' and 'Want' buttons instead of the more ambiguous 'like'. 

    So Pinterest can either start fretting that Facebook is about to eat its lunch, or, more likely, sit back and watch Facebook make a hash of Collections then quietly kill it in a few months time.

    4. Quora

    In December last year Quora stepped away from its usual Q&A format by launching a new 'Boards' feature that allows user to collect and organise web content into different topics.

    Users can also follow other boards to receive updates into their feeds.  

    Quora announced at the time that it was designed to help connect users with everything they wanted to know about, so it seems like another endorsement for Pinterest's content discovery model.  

    5. Tumblr

    In fairness it's likely that the pinboard-style Tumblr themes actually pre-date Pinterest, however it does seem that more brands have started using the layout since Pinterest's rapid rise to popularity.

    My recent post idenfifying 10 brands making great use of Tumblr shows that Vans, Calvin Klein and Adidas have all set up accounts in the past 12 months that use a layout similar to Pinterest. 

    6. Little Monsters

    Though Little Monsters is still a very niche site, it's fair to say that Lady Gaga is a major global brand.

    And when Gaga decided to add a social network to her expanding business portfolio, it's obvious to see where she looked for inspiration. 

    Ibotta Takes Mobile Couponing and Engagement to the Next Level

    Posted 30 October 2012 15:32pm by Brian Reilly with 0 comments

    Mobile couponing has been gaining more and more speed over the last year. According to a recent eMarketer study, rising food and gas prices in the United States has lead 74% of US consumers to use more coupons this year.

    In particular, the use of mobile coupon is on the rise: mobile coupons or app usage increased by over 100% in 2011, and 100% again in 2012. Furthermore, 79% of US internet users were using more mobile coupons this year—on par with print coupons and circulars. 

    Mobile coupling is great, but wouldn't it be even better if you could poll your mobile audience? Ask users 'how many times have you purchased this product?' and 'how did you first hear of this product?', etc. Want to have the consumer watch a video about your brand? For many brands, awareness is key - couponing is only one piece of the puzzle.

    Enter, Ibotta, a mobile technology company that has completely re-imagined the way that consumers learn about and interact with their favorite brands. The result is a mobile experience that replaces couponing with a fun series of game-like interactions that give consumers what they actually want: personalized offers that can be redeemed in all the major retailers, and real cash rewards instead of credits or points. Ibotta currently works with 8 of the 10 largest CPG companies to deliver deals consumers - both loyal and new.

    Inside of 21 days, the Ibotta iOS application rose to #19 most downloaded app in category, ahead of Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Shopkick, and Coupons.com.

    We're all guilty of downloading apps, using once, and leaving them out to dry. Ibotta has seen an impressive repeat usage rate of 85%, which is approximately triple the average for mobile applications.

    How it works

    Once you sign up and download the application onto your phone, you can get started.

    1) Users can scroll through dozens of products to see which deals are available - and the value of each deal:

    2) Users can learn about a product and get rewarded for it:

    3) Brands can learn a lot from their users. A poll is a great way to learn about usage occasions, sentiment, etc:

    4) Sharing the message with friends has never been easier. Always wanted to get paid to post on Facebook? Here's your shot:

    5) Ibotta even prompts users to rate the deal. Similar to Pandora, Ibotta learns from the end user. If a user likes this deal (gives a thumbs up), they will be shown similar deals more frequently: 

    In order to redeem the money accumulated here, a user must purchase the actual product. A barcode must be scanned and submitted with an image of the actual receipt.

    Ibotta uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to validate all receipts. Earned funds will either be transferred into a Paypal account or it can be donated to any school in America. Parents have already started to flock to the app, and will continue to. Remember 'box tops for education'? This is the 2012 version of that.

    But is it successful?

    Only having been released in early October, the platform has seen much success. There have been nearly 1 million offers viewed to date. There have been upwards of 150,000 brand engagements as well. The content is sticky - there has been an 85% completion rate on videos and a 95% completion rate on facts, quizzes, polls, recipes, user endorsements, etc. To date, approximately 3,000 hours have been spent by all users on the platform. 

    One of the best parts are the brand endorsements. Brands can reward users for sharing a message into a Facebook newsfeed. Today, when purchase intent is often validated by friends and family, endorsement amplification is a sure way to influence others. Ibotta builds it into the platform and brands reward consumers for spreading it.

    Android users shouldn't worry as an Android version is in the works. A release date has not been set, but if you'd like to be kept in the loop, drop in your email address here to be notified once it is released.

    Do you plan on checking out Ibotta? Have you done so already? What are your thoughts?

    Aiming To Be A Full-Service Fitness Platform, Runtastic Launches New Indoor App Suite; Hits 14M Downloads

    Thanks to MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Nike and many more, apps that keep track of your exercise and push you to drop those extra pounds are by no means novel. Nonetheless, bootstrapped European startup Runtastic is still managing to carve out a name for itself in a crowded space by offering a simple user experience, while still offering the deeper functionality of higher-end products.

    Continuing to build out what it intends to be a full-service health and fitness platform, Runtastic today expanded beyond what has been its core focus to date — outdoor recreation, like running and cycling — launching a new suite of apps that target indoor exercise enthusiasts. Its so-called "Fitness App Collection," which is now available for Android, iOS and the Web, includes four motion-activated apps, including PullUps, PushUps, SitUps and Squats. You can probably guess at their content.

    But, quickly, for those unfamiliar, Runtastic offers a bevy of apps and online services that measure, track and analyze health and fitness data aimed at motivating novices and exercise-aholics to both get in shape and stay healthy. To date, the company has primarily catered to runners and cyclists with features that allow them to track the speed, elevation and distance of their exercise, while storing that data in the cloud so that they can keep track of all their athletic achievements (or in my case, disappointments).

    Thus far, the company has released nine free and paid apps (thirteen with its latest additions), with its most popular app being its namesake (Runtastic), which allows users, among other things, to connect to their social media accounts so they can compete with friends, share updates and post pictures. It also offers Nike+-style audio feedback (like words of encouragement during routines), along with a number of post-exercise features that enable users to comment on their exercise, leaving notes about the run, the weather, conditions of the trail, etc., with the ability to return to that stored info in the future.

    While these features are things we've come to expect from our fitness and exercise apps, Runtastic wants to create an end-to-end fitness platform — something no company has completely nailed. At least not yet. For example, earlier this year, the company its product line to include hardware.

    Its portfolio now includes a GPS-enabled watch with a heart rate tracker, a separate chest strap and heart rate tracker among others. As of now, the company's hardware offerings are only available in Europe (where it's headquartered), but CTO and co-founder Christian Kaar tells us the team plans to launch its hardware portfolio in the U.S. in January 2013.

    Founded in late 2009, the company's products really started to pick up steam in 2012. All told, its apps have collected over 14 million downloads, but nearly 10 million of those downloads have since January of this year. This growth — an increasingly diversified portfolio — saw the company enter cashflow-positive territory at the end of 2011.

    As for its new Fitness App Collection, each focuses on a specific indoor workout routine, offering training plans developed by fitness experts to help users improve strength and stamina by working toward a set number of repetitions, be that 20 push-ups or 50 pull-ups. Using your phone's proximity sensor and accelerometer, the apps count the number of repetitions you complete, offering voice coaching and an automatic timer to create the sensation that you're working out with your own (virtual) personal trainer. Users can buy the training plans in-app or use the app without the plans for free.

    To connect these new apps to the Runtastic platform — and to each other — the company also today released a new page on its website called PumpIt, which ranks the community's activities across the four apps in a master leaderboard and automatically uploads stats from each workout to both PumpIt as well as the user's personal fitness profile.

    Kaar tells us that this is Runtastic's first stab at offering a public leaderboard, as it allows each person to view the "scores" of the top three users in each app (and activity) and compare their own times to those of the leaders. Users can then share their progress by email, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    The iOS versions of the new apps also include a tab that allows users to integrate data from across the suite, much like PumpIt does for the Web, which enables viewing of fitness activity history, badges, and so on.

    For those Android users still rolling their eyes, it's also worth checking out the new PRO version of Runtastic the company launched earlier this month, which, thanks to Google Earth integration, allows users to watch their runs or bike rides after they happen — in 3D video. Users can view birds-eye views of the course they followed, reliving each exciting moment as-recreated-by Google using GPS data — and served with pace, time and elevation on-screen, live in 3D.

    "You may think you'll never be able to do 100 pushups or 150 squats, but our latest apps offer step-by-step training plans to boost your performance over time and make these goals 100 percent attainable," said CEO Florian Gschwandtner. "By expanding our app offerings, Runtastic encourages all users to achieve well-rounded workout routines, and new gamification features provide extra motivation to take workouts to the next level."

    And for those of us entering winter, indoor exercise tracking is welcome, especially if those apps live in a more expansive network. Runtastic still has a ways to go before it can catch up with the leaders in the U.S. market, but it's building out a team based in San Francisco, and if it can keep pushing forward with integrations, partnerships and hardware, this may not be the last we hear from the bootstrapped Austrian fitness lovers.

    More on Runtastic at home here.

    How to give your content marketing strategy a makeover

    Posted 30 October 2012 10:04am by Juliet Stott with 1 comment

    Content marketing was high on the agenda in this week's Changing Advertising Summit hosted by the Guardian.

    We know that it's nothing new and that brands, companies and charities have been doing it for years.

    But this week the great and good of marketing, advertising and digital (from both sides of the Atlantic) agreed that content marketing has become a discipline in its own right.

    In fact the number of search queries for the term 'content marketing' has more than doubled in the past two years according to an Econsultancy survey

    Here we pick out tips from the experts and give you 10 ideas on how create your own strategy for 2013:

    1. Create a mission statement: 

    Work out what your brand stands for. Prioritise and keep it simple. Create joined up thinking across your marketing/PR/advertising disciplines by pulling down the barriers. Pool your creative resources and minds.

    For inspiration watch Content 2020 by Coca Cola. Here its award winning marketing team spell out how they are moving from creative excellence to content excellence.

    2. Have a dedicated content marketer in your team:

    Your brand needs real people, writers and editors dedicated to fulfilling your mission statement and telling your story. You need to be human and have a human face behind your brand.

    Corporate speak is the death of companies and turns consumers off. Do not regurgitate press releases. At the Guardian's summit this week Marian Salzman, CEO Havas PR North America, said:

    Getting an agency to write tweets on your behalf is ridiculous. If you are not comfortable using Twitter you need someone from your own organisation to front and own it.

    3. Tell or create your brand story:

    OK, not all budgets stretch to match those like Bulmers cider's recent "In the beginning was Bulmers" multichannel ads that tell the brand's story of its creators and heritage.

    Nor can many compete with the power of Nike's budget when it shot the "Write the Future" video. But you get the idea. Find a human angle in your brand's history and tell it. 

    4. Become the leading expert in writing about your field: 

    Ask yourself this question: what can my brand do for this customer that his or her friends can't?

    Your consumer engagement will soar by giving them information that enables them to make smart decisions, improves their lives and gives them value for money. You need to find your niche.  

    As the creative director of Philips said this week at the Guardian's summit, "your brand is what everyone else thinks it is".

    5. Collaborate, Co-create and Curate

    The future is competitive collaboration. Take the Guardian site – 70% of its content is created by its users. Partnerships can make content even greater.

    Collaborate with like minded businesses to pool creative resources. Curate and comment on existing content out there – helps you to build brand awareness and a voice. Crowd-source creative minds – use people from outside your organisation to help.

    6. Be social by design

    Create compelling content that is easy to share via social networks. Great content is only good when it is remembered and shared. Provoke a conversation.  

    Create stories that are spreadable through Twitter/Facebook/Google+. You can reuse existing content by producing a video that people able to share socially. Video is the most social and compelling to watch.

    7. React 24/7

    Watch, listen and learn. Humanise the data you have collected. React to the conversations created about your brand on social media sites.  

    Take O2's CEO Ronan Dunne. Every evening he uses Twitter to walk the floor, to find out what's being said and responds. He too allows his customer service team to tweet in their own voices – take the recent humorous exchange between a disgruntled customer and O2 team member.

    It resulted in 810 retweets and was applauded as excellent customer service in the press.


    8. Think mobile

    More than 50% of UK population have a smart phone and feel it is an extension of themselves. In the iPhone5 promo video Apple's Jony Ive, Senior VP, Design says the phone is something you have with you all the time, calling it a "unique relationship".

    This new generation of phones feels like having the world in our pocket. You need to reach people there. 

    9. Be visual

    The best performing content on Twitter is photos. Mashable says its visual graphics generate the highest level of engagement.  

    The Guardian video has more than 6m users per month. There are many ways you can do this such as Google+ hangouts and YouTube video streams.

    10. Measure: 

    You are what you measure. And these days you don't need an expensive agency to do it for you. There are companies that allow your marketing team/agency to do it themselves from as little as £99 per month and without technical knowledge.

    Why do Premier League clubs offer such an awful user experience?

    Posted 30 October 2012 11:42am by David Moth with 13 comments

    Due to the global appeal of the Premier League and the fact that most fans buy tickets online you would have thought that e-commerce was a valuable revenue earner for top flight football teams.

    However a quick look at the homepages of the nation's top clubs suggests that they don't see UX as a top priority.

    It would be easy to say that with the amount of money in football they should probably spend some of it on user-testing, but I'll rise above that and instead I'll simply point out some of the more obvious flaws that clubs should be looking to address.

    For more information on the digital strategies of Premier League clubs, check out our blog which ranks the teams' search and social performances.

    Splash pages

    A surprising number of Premier League teams force you to negotiate a splash page before you reach the homepage, which to me is a relic from a bygone age of the internet.

    Imagine if you entered a clothes shop on the high street only for a salesman to stop you and try to flog you a credit card then force you to solve a riddle before you can enter the store. It's not great for the customer experience.

    West Ham, Spurs and Arsenal all have them, but Liverpool and Newcastle are probably the worst offenders.

    Newcastle's splash page offers you a free belt (complete with a spelling error in the sales copy) and has four blue calls-to-action enticing the visitor to buy or order products.

    In contrast, the link that allows you to enter the site is far less prominent and took me a few seconds to spot.

    If you enter Liverpool's site then you are hit with a massive ad for a credit card and six other links trying to sell you things, but the links to enter the site are much smaller. 


    One of the worst homepage designs comes courtesy of England's most successful club. Man Utd's page is extremely cluttered and displays several moving ads that are quite distracting.

    The links on the left of the screen were quite small on my screen and the third one is for something cryptically named #IAMUNITED. No matter what you're looking for, it isn't particularly fun trying to find it. 

    Several clubs follow a similar template to West Ham, which isn't the worst design in the world but certainly lacks creativity and again has too many flashing adverts.

    I'm also not entirely sure why one of the links at the top is to allow you to print the page.

    Arsenal's homepage is also particularly bad, with a confusing number of links to different sections across the top and left of the screen and no fewer than seven banner ads.

    In my opinion, the landing page would be greatly improved if they simplified the design by reducing the number of links and ads. At the moment there is too much going on which makes navigation more difficult than it should be. 


    There are of course exceptions to the rule, with Manchester City and Fulham successfully avoiding the common pitfalls.

    Manchester City has one of the most user-friendly homepages in the league, with a simple design that uses large icons to link to news and ticket details.

    It has a much cleaner look than most of the other team sites and isn't cluttered up with flashing ad banners, although this could be because the club can afford to ignore the potential ad revenues.

    The design itself is fairly simple, so it's puzzling as to why more clubs haven't adopted similar layouts. 

    Fulham's website is also noticeably better than most clubs in the league, with a clean, simple design that has large icons at the top linking to the different sections.

    It uses attractive full-page images to illustrate the day's four main stories, which contrasts favourably to more common approach of including small images and loads of text links. 

    Unfortunately these examples are the exceptions rather than the norm, with most clubs needing to put a lot of work into improving the UX on their homepages.