Yahoo! Sports - Unique Mobile Interactions

Client: Verizon, Yahoo! Sports

Duration: January 2018 - April 2018 

Type: Group 

My Role: UX Designer, Researcher and prototyper

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Given that 84% of likely cord-cutters consider themselves sports fans, the overall trend towards mobile usage, and Verizon’s desire to grow their audience on their sports platforms, the client wanted to explore how team affinity used to grow audiences on their mobile sports platform - Yahoo Sports. The client would also like to see recommendations of new, innovative features based on the measurement of team affinity in order to target certain users and their needs and attract more users to their mobile sports platforms.

UX Team

  1. Beija Wang, Designer

  2. Bicheng Xu, Designer

  3. George Lu, Designer

  4. Nalin Bhatia , Designer

  5. Zhengkuan Yan, Designer



Discover how we can use team affinity factors to grow engagement of young audiences on mobile sports platforms.


Literature Review


Survey with 150 participants

9 Interviews


Affinity Wall


Personas &

user journey




Low-fi Wireframes

3 User tests



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Hi-fi Prototype


Conclusion & Next steps

Solution Space
Design and Interate



Background Research

Background research based on existing literature on fan psychology

Duration: Sept 2017 -  Dec 2017


Fan Typology

Team Affinity Variables


Devoted Fan

Temporary Fan

  • Involvement

  • Psychological Commitment

  • Attitudinal Loyalty

  • Behavioral Loyalty

  • High self-concept

  • Emotional significance for team

External (environmental):

significant others: family, peers, coaches, social norms

cultural and social class structures: race, gender relations, climatic, geographic conditions


self-concept, family cycle, physical characteristics, learning, perceptions, decision making

The Oppportunity

Use team affinity* to grow engagement of young  audiences on mobile sports platforms.


*We defined team affinity as the degree of an individual’s sense of identification and connection to a sports team and others who identify and connect with the same sports team.

Survey and Interviews 

We sent out a survey to understand different team affinity factors and received a total of 150 responses. We further interviewed 9 participants who were recruited based on their involvement with sports.


Usage of popular sports platforms


Distribution of Team Affinity Factors

  • Only 6% of the survey respondents use or have used Yahoo Sports. 

  • College is one of the most tangible team affinity factors that affects fans’ self-concept. 

  • College, hometown, and social influences are the most important team affinity factors that affect fans’ self-concept.

Key Takeaways

Through these interviews, we gained a deeper understanding of what Sports fans will be hoping to get from using it and what may be presented in a delightful and constructive way. Following were the key takeaways:


College and Hometown seem to be the most important and commonly shared team affinity factors for a sports fan’s devotion to a team


College and its sports team’s achievement both play a major role in positively affecting a sport fan’s devotion to a team.


Sports fans generally watch sports games on their laptops or TV and text friends and family throughout a game and after a game.


Sports fans generally only use mobile sports apps to check game scores or watch highlight videos.


Sports fans will follow players or sports teams more if they play the same sport, Fantasy Sports, or sports video games of the same sport.

Affinity Diagram

After consolidating notes from each interview, we gathered over 600 data points and organized them with the Affinity Diagramming method to obtain our key research findings. The images below gives an overview of what our version of affinity wall looked like.

Duration: Sept 2017 -  Dec 2017

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 This is a preview of only a small section of the affinity wall

Key Findings

The insights and takeaways from survey and interviews combined with the affinity wall exercise resulted in these overarching findings:



Team affinity influences positive self-concept.


Team affinity is enhanced by access to social interactions within in-group and out-group communities.


The functionality, quality, and delivery speed of content is the most important factor to sports fans.

Duration: Sept 2017 -  Dec 2017


Based on the findings from the Affinity Diagramming Exercise, the users' needs and pain-points were clear and we were able to create 2 different user personas - a primary and a secondary persona.

Primary Persona: The Diehard Native
Primary Persona: The Diehard Native

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Secondary Persona: The Devoted Assim
Secondary Persona: The Devoted Assim

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Primary Persona: The Diehard Native
Primary Persona: The Diehard Native

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Journey Map

To brainstorm features, we needed to first create a user journey map for the different stages a sports fan's experience during a game. 

Duration: Sept 2017 -  Dec 2017


Design Synthesis and Hypothesis

Design Hypothesis 1

Use Team Popularity Rankings to increase sports fans’ engagement and connection to their favorite sports team.


Current Interface



Team Leaderboard Scoring Mechanism


Design Hypothesis 2

Use a Fan Leaderboard to create a community where sports fans can directly compare their loyalty with other fans.


Current Interface


Design Hypothesis 3

Create Discussion section to introduce more social interactions within the team page.


Design Hypothesis 4

Use emojis in live video to allow fans to share their reactions and emotions with other viewers.


User Testing

Based on the above wireframes, we conducted 3 in-depth user testing sessions with questions/tasks centered around the above features which are:

  1. User Profile/Fan Identity

  2. Gamification

  3. Cheer Streaks

  4. Fan Leaderboard

  5. Social (Board, People, Tweets)

  6. Emoji Feed on Live Video

The full user testing protocol can be found here


Iterations based on finsings


Users still prefer to use Reddit  for discussion. However, being  able to compare against friends’  fan loyalty rankings motivates  them to engage more.

High-fidelity mockups


Future Scope


Prioritize focus on more customized and high-quality content by implementing a user profile creation process centered around fan identity and loyalty.


Conduct A/B tests to determine stickiest fan identity and team affinity-based recommended features.


Conduct digital usability tests with onboarding feature that showcase stickiest feature recommendations and validate at scale.