A few months after launch, ESPN Rise commissioned a usability study on the site. The results were disappointing. High school athletes couldn't find their favorite sport and people didn't understand the site's purpose. The immediate need: redesign the navigation to get the right athlete to the right sport.
Site navigation is wayfinding for the digital age; hiding important navigational cues is like obfuscating a road sign. The clear solution for ESPN RISE was to expose the main site categories (i.e., sports) while displaying curated content. When high school althletes arrive on the site, they get a sense of what they can do and which options apply to their selected sport. Here are a few other important changes: