Welcome to the new ESPNcricinfo experience, where everything has changed and yet nothing has.
Ours isn't a medium for standing still, and ESPNcricinfo has evolved constantly over the years, adding new content, new voices and new platforms, but like all major design interventions, our latest makeover is an adoption of an idea. It's a simple yet profound one, and it has you at the centre.
No other device - in fact, we could venture as far as to say no single other thing - has become as central to daily living as the mobile phone. Recent studies say that the number of mobile phones could soon overtake the number of the people on the planet. On average we check our phones between 114 to 225 times a day, and end up touching them - tapping, typing, swiping and clicking - over 2000 times a day.
From young to old, from first-timers to the converted, from the obsessive to the casual, from heavy to light users, the mobile phone is at the heart of our digital experience, and ESPNcricinfo has now joined the rest of the ESPN sites in a design approach that is unreservedly, unapologetically and unflinchingly mobile-first.
Chances are that you are reading this on your phone, and our design philosophy will explain itself if you simply ask yourself how you navigate through content on the phone. Our old modular approach - where there were designated areas for different types of content - has served you well on the desktop, but you don't often click on navigation links on your phone, do you? Would you rather not scroll, discovering more and more content as you go, rather than looking for it behind tabs and navigation buttons?
That's exactly what we have taken into account. On mobile devices and on desktops, all our content - news, videos, features, stats, long-form, short-form, timeless, snackable - is now served in a single, long-scrolling stream. Match- or event-specific content is still clubbed together in collections, but nothing worthy of your immediate attention is now hidden from view on any device.
The homepages are now more visual, more video-friendly, and more dynamic. You can now watch videos on the homepage on all our platforms, and the turnover of content will be sharper, providing for fresh material each time you return, even if you are a frequent visitor.
Our bespoke content and our lead writers will now have pride of place on the homepage, with several new templates available to us to showcase special content. Our features, which used to occupy the middle pillar on the desktop view, under Editor's Picks, but were hidden behind a tab on mobile devices, will now be sprinkled across the stream on all platforms.
In every way, the user experience is uniform and consistent across the app and web - mobile and desktop. Whatever platform you're using, you'll be in no doubt that you're on ESPNcricinfo.
Our live scores, the heartbeat of the site, are now faster and smoother across devices. Our new score cells will display scores boldly and prominently from headline collections, and you will, in most cases, find the matches you're interested in without too much scrolling. In the desktop view, you will be able to access the top matches of the day on a sticky header available across all pages on the site, while on the mobile web, there are similarly persistent links to all key current series and tournaments. Our new mobile apps will continue to have live scores as the default homepage view, so you can get straight to the match of your choice if you want to.
The apps are now harmonised with the other platforms: as you move between web and app, your basic design experience will be the same. But we recognise that your app usage is about the here and now, and so the app experience is about what you really care about on the go: scores, news and easy access to scorecards and series pages.
There has also been a significant step towards optimising the experience based on network speed. If your connection is sub-optimal, you will be served a basic scorecard till your connection speed improves.
Personalisation is at the heart of the new experience. As always, you can choose from any of our ten global editions, each of which prioritises content of interest to fans from that region. But to make the experience even more finely focused, we have handed the keys over to you. You can now choose your favourite national, franchise and domestic teams. Doing so will surface on the homepage the content that matters most to you. If you're on the app, you don't even need to sign in to favourite teams. Existing registered users will be migrated to our new app, and if you haven't registered yet, you can do so by clicking on Log In at top right on the mobile web (via Settings on the app) and in the desktop view.
In the desktop view, you will find two additional columns on either side of the main content stream. On the left are links to key ongoing series, and to our social-media pages and apps. The top headlines of the moment lead the column on the right (you will find this block of headlines a little lower down the content stream on mobile devices), followed by links to some of our special content and sections.
We are constantly mindful of the shifting landscape not only in digital media but also in cricket. ESPNcricinfo is for all fans. Our game isn't shrinking, it is merely changing, and it is finding new frontiers and new fans. We are obliged to keep pace and are constantly evolving and reimagining our content to suit emerging audiences.
But of course, some things stay the same. We remain wedded, as ever, to high-quality journalism; we will continue to cover cricket with the rigour, integrity and enthusiasm that you have come to expect from us. If anything, we will be even more in-the-moment, more urgent, more participatory, and add some fun while we are at it.
Above all, we will strive always to be worthy of your trust. Our credibility will remain non-negotiable. Our voice will remain independent. And our love for the game will continue to shine through these pages.
As it prepares to enter its 25th year, ESPNcricinfo stands forever committed to the game and the fans that it was born to serve. This is merely a renewal of that pledge. Because you have the right to expect the best from from us, we are raising our game, once again.
Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo. @sambitbal