A few ways the AFL can improve its Digital Strategy

Ted Richards marks against Nick Riewoldt

Australia’s most popular football code does a lot of things right online. The AFL recently announced on Twitter that it would be running UX workshops for its website. The workshops will hopefully pick up a bunch of usability issues such as cross browser bugs and confusing IA.

In addition to addressing these issues here are four ways the league can improve it’s digital strategy.

1. Stop using Microsoft Silverlight.

It’s basically Microsoft’s version of Adobe Flash and it doesn’t work on iDevices. This means a whole bunch of people can’t watch any of the AFL videos and highlights. The AFL needs to embrace HTML5 and let everyone in on the action.

User Experience needs to be more heavily integrated into the design of AFL digital properties. People should be enjoying AFL content online not thinking twice.

2. Report the bad stuff as well as the good stuff.

Lets face it, when news breaks in the AFL, people don’t go to AFL.com.au. Why? Because the AFL is so worried about it’s image, bad PR and being number 1 that it can’t be transparent, open and honest with the public. The benefit of coming clean, letting its hair down and been more transparent (especially via social media) is that the league can lead stories rather than go around with a pooper scooper.

3. Engage with Fans

Social media offers so many opportunities for players and the clubs to listen, discuss and feedback. This doesn’t just mean posting photos on Facebook. It means actively engaging with the community online.

The AFL needs to utlilise more platforms more efficiently. That could be an incentivised swarm on FourSquare or even just broadcasting the match hashtags on TV. Strategist Hugh Munro suggests coaches should run Google Hangouts with fans. This could be a great way for the AFL to connect with supporters overseas or in remote areas.

DemandMedia are doing some good things with the AFL by running live chats during football events. Eventually these should be tablet friendly and you’ll be able to engage with live games, view alternate angles, ask Paul Roos questions and turn Bruce off.

The AFL needs a mobile strategy not just an App. Smart phone usage is increasing by the quarter and the AFL needs to work out how and why followers are using their mobile to obtain AFL related content. An improved understanding and strategy can be leveraged for mobile advertising and greater exposure.

4. The Footy Record Online needs an upgrade.

One of the league’s greatest assets – the Footy Record – has a terrible existence online. It’s an embarrassment and it needs to be fixed. Where is the iPad app or HTML5 Football Record website?

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