ESPN: In order to write this post, I decided to look at my history on my web browser to see what website I actually visit the most. Although I was not too surprised, I noticed that I visit ESPN multiple times a day, almost every day. I am not afraid to admit it, I am a sports fanatic. I closely follow a few teams in pretty much every major sport, however I am also drawn to the specific stories of some of my favorite athletes. For any sports fan, ESPN is synonymous with a one stop destination for all your questions about sports. More specifically, ESPN has fine tuned their UCD and rhetorical analysis to give any sports fan the information that they need.
UCD: One of the reasons why I believe ESPN has both risen and maintained the status of the premier provider of sports news is their User-Centered Design. Upon entering the homepage of ESPN, you immediately have access to the most common questions and answers you might have when you were urged to go to the site. Across the top of the page, a banner highlights all the scores of all the major games that day. Furthermore, in the middle of the page, there is a feed that is constantly updated with breaking news within the sports sector. Without having to go any further, my basic questions are usually answered right on the home page. ESPN acknowledges both the reader’s expectations and goals for the page, and places the information in a way that is easily found by any user.
Overall, the design of the site, and the way in which they choose to convey the information, is tailored directly to the needs and expectations of the consumer. If a specific question is not directly answered from the home page, ESPN has a dedicated page for each individual league, team, and athlete. This gives the reader the option to go as far in depth as needed, and furthermore, meet the specific goals of each individual who visits the site.
Rhetorical Analysis: Besides the design, which is directly constructed for the reader’s basic needs, I believe that the writing itself only adds to the quality of the site. ESPN employs not only a huge number of writers, however each writer has a specific background, take, and writing style to connect with the wide array of readers that visit the site.
When thinking back to the first few times I visited ESPN, it was to read a specific author’s pieces. That author, although he since has moved to write for a competitor, was Rick Reilly. Rick drew me to the site repetitively to see his take on certain things. Although the underlying theme was always sports, Rick often would weave situations in his life (or happening in society around him) to highlight his specific views. I never have simply read one of his articles, and not been forced to think about it and relate it to my own life after I finished.
It is because of ESPN employing numerous authors like Rick who have the ability to connect with individual readers, has made many others, and myself included, a reader for life. The individual authors take the ideas of rhetorical analysis into account with every piece (purpose, audience, context), and ultimately creates a mode of communication in which any sports fan can appreciate.