Scripps Networks, the parent company of HGTV, DIY Network, Travel Channel and others, has launched a new site, uLive, to combine all of these properties. And it is mostly win. I mean, Win – yes, with a capital W.
Episodes, clips and articles are combined on a single homepage that is devoid of complicated navigation. The user is instead greeted with large to medium sized poster images that best represent the content behind them.
I think my favorite part of this experience is that the items ARE NOT BRANDED to which network they come from. The user chooses an image, headline and byline that interests them and the experience begins.
UX Ubiquity Resize to Rule Them All
In an attempt to be an annoying nerd prick, like any jealous type front-end person, I began scaling down the site from my initial laptop view which had the site at full 960 grid.
And, well, I can’t be a prick at all about what they’ve released. What is in the wild is a responsive website that scales all the way down in a graceful manner.
With this site you’re welcome to go from your largest screen down to the smallest and have nearly the same experience. UX ubiquity across a property is never overrated and should be what front-end designers of consumer products strive for.
This UX ubiquity guides users and allows them to feel comfortable with the content. Design this good, like uLive, is an opportunity to stay with users as they move from home to work to mobile and back home again.
uLive Is Really A Web App
I’m a bit hesitant to call what this team has created a web app. However, this site inherits many of it’s additional navigation features from apps.
At it’s largest size for bigger screens the top level menu shows an icon on the upper left to signify that there is another menu someplace.
When clicked it glides in from offscreen on the left side. This is also present in the smallest size, where a user would expect it on a mobile device.
Sites that are developed with design and experience first often have a common problem. Like children that catch chicken pox for the one and only time, design first products on the web neglect IAB ad sizes.
The teams instead begin creating a product that they want. The one that gives users access as quickly to the content and with as little distraction as possible. Currently, uLive exists as this.
That is until they can shake their advertisers to create custom ad units that fit this design. Unlike smaller players that attempt this it shouldn’t be a problem for Scripps – they have the juice.
uLive is a 9.2 out of 10 in my book. If you’re a fan of their network programming this site is going to be a welcome addition to your viewing.
(via Scott Campbell on LinkedIn)