One of my first projects when I joined the PGA TOUR was to work on a website redesign project. PGATOUR.COM had had the same look and basic functionality for about six years, an eternity in the digital space. During that time, consumption patterns changed. Mobile traffic was on the rise and PGATOUR.COM wasn’t mobile-friendly and thus under-serving a key and growing part of its audience. The redesign of PGATOUR.COM would tackle the mobile environment head-on, moving to a responsive design, among other notable changes.
One of the big changes was moving to a visually-driven site. The shift did a few things. For one, it created a more visual navigation that was more in line web trends and the type of mobile-friendly navigation seen on sites like Pinterest and others. But it also did more than that. It tied into an inherent part of the game. Unlike many sports that are played in same arena, golf is in a new spot every week. And those spots happen to be amazingly beautiful. We designed the site to put a spotlight on that kind of beauty.
The combination of a photography-rich site with mobile responsiveness is an interesting one—for my team in particular as the folks who are responsible with populating and updating the site. As we embarked on this new design, it meant the need for new disciplines both in how we shoot and in how we edit photos. For example, an image that’s tight on a player won’t crop well at smaller breakpoints.
At the time we relaunched, very few sites were embracing responsive design. In the sports world, in particular, we were one of the first to go in this direction. Despite having the need to balance a redesign project with a website audience that includes more traditional web users, we had to design for where the world was heading. In the time since we relaunched, we’ve only seen those mobile consumption patterns go further up.
We are also in a state of constantly updating the site. It’s never perfect but is a work in progress. The key is that the redesign gave us a strong foundation and others have agreed. In 2015, PGATOUR.COM won a “Best Website” award from Cynopsis Sports Media, beating out the likes of Bleacher Report, ESPN, Pac-12 Networks and Sports Illustrated.
My role: Digital Strategy, Content Strategy