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Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 1:51 pm
 

The Best is Now Even Better

It's been a wild baseball offseason, what with Cliff Lee re-joining the Phillies, the Red Sox landing Crawford AND A-Gon, and World Series hero Brian Wilson continuing to be, well  a very weird guy .

But the fun has just begun.

That's because we've had a pretty interesting offseason ourselves here at CBSSports.com Fantasy Sports. Let me explain.

While our Fantasy Baseball game has a new look--the most significant upgrade since 2003--and plenty of new functionality, I'm excited to share with you that we are now the Official Fantasy Baseball Commissioner of MLB.com.

What does that mean? It means we'll have video highlights and free access to MLB.com GameDay Premium for all of our Commissioner users at no additional cost. (MLB.com GameDay Premium regularly costs $19.95 per person, or around $240 for your entire league.) That’s pretty amazing.

There's more, much more, detailed below. But first I wanted to let you know that you’re welcome to discuss the upgrades with other customers by posting a message below. Or you can contact the CBSSports.com Fantasy Sports team with general feedback through the Help Center . If you’re currently in a Fantasy Baseball Commissioner league, please contact us through the Help link inside your league.

To try CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball, sign-up here .

Free MLB.com GameDay Premium, Real Time Video Highlights, and More Highlights

Free MLB.com GameDay Premium

CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner customers will get free access to MLB.com GameDay Premium through their league. 

  • You’ll get home and away audio feeds of all 2,430 MLB games with no blackouts, real-time highlights, pitcher ratings, pitch by pitch, live box scores and more. Again, there is no additional cost for this service. It usually costs $19.95 per person or as much as $240 for your entire league.
  • In addition, you’ll get real-time video highlights for all the players on your fantasy roster. These will be accessible via your Roster page and Fantasy GameTracker.
  • Each day a compilation of player highlights will be updated on the player pages throughout CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner.

(Note that you won't see MLB.com GameDay Premium and the video enhancements in the product yet as they launch closer to the start of the season--when live audio and video are available from MLB games.)

New Commish Tools in CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner

New Commish Tools

In a nutshell, we’re trying to make the commish's job easier. We do it in 2011 by …

  • Simplifying league set-up, enabling you to take advantage of the entire range of customizations available from CBSSports.com in a completely new, easy step-by-step process.
  • Providing you with a single, easy-to-read view of all of your league settings.
  • Enhancing how you manage teams, owners, and your league’s draft.

Upgraded Experience for All Team Owners

New Roster Page

Following design changes to CBSSports.com in 2010, we overhauled the interface of Fantasy Baseball to improve usability, freshen up the design, and basically just make the experience more fun.

  • Your Roster page now offers both “drag and drop” and “click and move” (click on the player you want to sit and then click on the player you want to activate) to set your line-up.
  • We also consolidated more information on the roster page in a tabbed format--with key information such as roster trends, player news and analysis, stats, and projections in one place--so you have everything readily accessible to make informed decisions about whom to start and sit.
  • There’s a roster view on the Add/Drop page so that it’s easier than ever to make decisions about your lineup and to take action.
  • Filters on the Stats page have been updated to make it easier than ever to build powerful reports and find free agents.
  • All draft information and tools have been moved to a new centralized area, “Draft Central.”

Enhancements to Mobile Fantasy Baseball Products

New Mobile Enhancements

You always get free access to all of your CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball leagues on your phone, and we made a lot of improvements for 2011.

  • A new free CBS Sports Android app is launching soon and will complement what we already have available for fantasy baseball customers via the free CBS Sports iPhone App and CBS Sports Mobile Web site.
  • We’re now offering all types of Add/Drop functionality on your handset, including waiver and FAAB auction free agency and full support for more league types, including Rotisserie, Head-to-Head, and Head-to-Head Category scoring systems.
  • League message board reading and writing will be available…you won’t have to wait to get back to your laptop to respond to your commish’s complaints about league fees.

(Note that all the mobile enhancements are not live yet, but launching well before the season begins.)

Want to learn more? Just sign-up and start playing now to check out the enhancements to Fantasy Baseball.

If you're interested in our press release, you can read it here .

These are just a few of many changes coming to CBSSports.com Fantasy Sports in 2011. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about how we’re making, as I like to say, "the best even better," as the year goes on.

Thank you for using CBSSports.com.






Posted on: August 16, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Something’s happenin’ here

It’s the time of year when football players report to training camp—unless you’re Darrelle Revis, of course —and work on getting faster, stronger and ironing out kinks in their technique, all while refining basics like blocking and tackling.

We spent the summer doing the same thing here at CBSSports.com.  We worked hard on today’s launch to make the site design cleaner, scores more accessible, and our coverage more expansive. Oh, and there’s still plenty more to come!

But first, thank you.  We appreciated the feedback from the initial phase of our redesign.  Many of you completed a survey or posted a response to this blog back in March.  We read all of your comments, and we hope you notice some of the proof in the pudding.

If you have ideas to improve the site, please let me know.  You can, of course, discuss the changes with me and others by posting a message below.  You can also contact us via Twitter or Facebook .

However, if you find a bug, need help for something unrelated to the site redesign, or otherwise need customer service, please contact us through the Help center so that we can respond directly to you.


The X's and O's on Today's Launch

Back in March we focused on simplifying navigation, changing the color palette, and eliminating clutter on the home page. In this phase we upgraded how our sports coverage is presented across the entire site.

Cleaner design

We upgraded the visual design and attacked usability problems throughout the site that have likely plagued some of you for years.  How?  Open layout, larger font sizes, cleaner tables, intuitive interfaces, and navigational enhancements to make it easier to get the sports news and information you’re seeking faster.

Easy access to what you care about most...scores

“Scores at a glance”—the new scoreboard now located prominently at the top of the home page and each in-season sport section home—enables you to get custom scores based on teams you follow, your Fantasy teams, and any game that’s in progress.  It also provides quick, simple navigation to game previews, recaps and live GameTrackers.

Scores at a glance

Expanded coverage

There are many ways to tell a story and we’re striving to give our 24x7 sports coverage team flexible ways to present what’s important.  The new site allows us to better integrate our real-time coverage—so that you can get into the game as it’s unfolding.

  • You’ll notice the big new cover story treatment. That’s just the beginning.  It will soon feature embedded presentations of our video, scores, dynamic content, live feeds, and other interactive coverage.
Cover Story
  • More video throughout the site. With the redesign we have more ways to provide access to live video, highlights, and analysis from the 11,000 live events streamed by CBSSports.com annually.
  • After serving 53,746 RapidReports last year we designed a new, personalized way to get the web’s only real-time database of on-location NFL reports.
RapidReports
  • We just fired up new NFL , MLB and NBA blogs manned by some of the best journalists in sports.  You can find them throughout the site in our new Facts and Rumors sections.
Facts and Rumors
  • Team and player pages were reorganized to present wide-ranging and in-depth coverage.  And as a first step toward the redesign of our Community, we enhanced the comment boxes on these pages to make it easier to get into the discussion with other fans.
With these changes, we’re only half-way through the redesign!


What Does It All Mean?!

Based on the feedback we received from many of you on the Beta version of this launch, it’s not difficult to notice that this year’s redesign represents a big change—especially since the previous version of the site in February.  Internally, we’ve deemed this the most significant overhaul since 2002.

While the new site marks the second major release this year, we still have plenty of additional upgrades in the works for the fall and into 2011.  Some things to keep an eye on as we head into the next chapter of our redesign:

  • An innovative way for you to quickly and easily get the up-to-the-minute content most relevant to all your sports interests.
  • Revolutionary changes to Community that will make it not only easier to connect from anywhere around live events and hot topics with other fans on CBSSports.com, but also with friends on your favorite social networking sites.
  • Overhauled site search indexing all pro, college, and high school sports content from CBSSports.com, the CBSSports.com College Network, MaxPreps, and even sports content from across the Web recommended by you.
Not to be outdone by some of these other enhancements, we’ve been working since last year on the next generation of our award-winning Fantasy Sports games.  Still the best, but now even better, look for the first phase of our redesigned games to launch with Fantasy Baseball 2011.

And there’s even more to come.  We’re even working behind the scenes on platform changes that—while they may not affect you much today—will accelerate how we innovate new sports experiences as we head into 2011 and beyond. 


Take a Minute to Let Us Know What You Think

Feel free to drop me a line on the comments section of this blog.  I welcome your thoughts, both favorable and critical.  This will serve as a forum for your voice to be heard.

I’ll try and answer as many questions as possible, but it’s really your site...thank you for your participation in the development process.

Again, if you find a bug, need help with something unrelated to the site redesign, or otherwise need customer service please contact us through the Help center so that we can respond directly to you.

Thanks for using CBSSports.com,

Patrick

Category: General
Posted on: March 1, 2010 5:21 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2010 9:23 pm
 

Welcome to the First of Many Changes in 2010

Thank you for using CBSSports.com.  Whether this is your first visit to CBSSports.com or you’re a long-time “SportsLiner,” I appreciate your interest and feedback.

If you find a bug, need help for something unrelated to the site redesign, or otherwise need customer service, please contact us through the Help center so that we can respond directly to you.

You can of course discuss the changes with me and other users by posting a message below.  If you have an idea to improve the site, please let me know.  Most of the great ideas we have put into the site over the years have come from customers.

Who is Patrick Herde?

As Vice President of Product Management, I oversee the user experience on the site: layout and design, all consumer products such as Fantasy Sports, NCAA Tournament bracket games, our GameTrackers and other statistical applications, NCAA March Madness on Demand, the CBSSports.com Community, CBS Sports Mobile, and more.

About the CBSSports.com redesign

The changes on the site today are the first of many that we’ll release over the coming months in order to better present everything that CBSSports.com offers (deep coverage of pro, college, and high school sports and industry leading fantasy news and games all within the context of the best fan community online) make the site easier for you to use, and make it faster.

You’ll note that most of the enhancements in this first release largely affected the masthead and color palette.  Rest assured that more profound changes are on the way.

Here are some of the improvements we made today and why

New location for accessing your profile: we moved “your stuff” to the narrow horizontal bar at the top of the page to make it easier for you to access—even while you scroll.  What we internally call the "open bar" currently contains your log-in, favorite teams, account and profile links, link to the Help center, and MyLinks (formerly “My QuickLinks”), but we’re adding new features later this year that I think will make it an even more important part of your daily experience on the site.

Redesigned navigation: although improvement of visual cues and the re-org of the menu items may be subtle, we believe those changes will make it easier for you to find your way around the site—and also easier to know where you are on the site as you navigate. 

Also…

  • If you’re a fantasy sports gamer, you’ll appreciate the new “Fantasy” menu that brings order to your team logos if you’re playing more than one sport.  The drop-down now includes links to our Fantasy News site, which has been very difficult to find historically on CBSSports.com.
  • Fans of high school sports, high school athletes, and coaches will appreciate that our high school site, MaxPreps, is easier to find.
  • “More Sports” has been organized into Pro and College sports.  You’ll notice that we link to NCAA.com for coverage of several college sports such as baseball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and more.  You may not be aware, but NCAA.com is also managed by the CBSSports.com team.

New colors: we moved away from the lighter palette in the masthead and background image in order to make a differentiated impression with the CBS Sports brand.  As the lighter palette is favored by Web design experts for better legibility, you’ll see today and in later stages of the CBSSports.com redesign this year that we preserve it inside the content area below the masthead.

Less clutter and faster: we removed search ads from the content sections of the site and removed all ad networks (advertising not sold by CBS)—reducing clutter and making the site faster.  We’ll be taking steps throughout the year to reduce page load duration.

We heard you...MyLinks and Message Board links are back: we responded to users who participated in the Beta test over the last three weeks and were vocal about the popularity of “My QuickLinks”—now “MyLinks”—and the “Message Board” links in the drop-downs.  Among other fixes, we restored those features that had been eliminated before the Beta.  This is exactly why we want your feedback.

Let us know your thoughts

So those are highlights of this first phase of the CBSSports.com redesign.  Feel free to leave a comment below to share with me or discuss with other users.  I welcome your thoughts—both positive and critical.

Again, if you find a bug, need help for something unrelated to the site redesign, or otherwise need customer service, please contact us through the Help center so that we can respond directly to you.

Why should you read this blog?

Check back for future posts. As I’ve done today, I'll update this blog, sharing information about new CBSSports.com features as we release them and future product plans. 

Thanks again for using CBSSports.com.

Patrick

Category: General
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com