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Improvements to FanShots just released

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We released some changes to Fanshots today that aim to improve the appearance and utility of Fanshots on the home page, the Fanshots index page, and Fanshot detail templates.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The SB Nation Product Team is back with another round of changes to help push the design and functionality of SB Nation sites forward. This time we've targeted Fanshots. Since the redesign launch this fall, we've heard a number of complaints about Fanshots and have observed a decrease in both the posting frequency and utility of Fanshots. The goal of this release is to make Fanshots much more visually appealing and give them added value to your favorite communities.

We've redesigned the display of Fanshots in the river to expose the the content of the Fanshot directly on the front page (i.e. show the video if it is a Videoshot or show the full image if it is an Imageshot). We want you to be able to engage with the actual content of the Fanshot on the front page. We've also added share and rec functionality to the front paged Fanshots to help boost social engagement.

We've also redesigned the Fanshots index page. Instead of the grid view that we had at our initial launch, we're going back to a reverse chron view of all Fanshots as the default. It's easier to scan and we have again exposed the key content directly on this page.

We've also cleaned up the entry view of each type of Fanshot. These pages were just a bit messy and also inconsistent. We've put in some work to make sure they have a sharper look overall.

We've also given each type of Fanshot an optional headline field, allowing you to add a headline to any Fanshot you post if you want to give it more context.

Finally, we made some changes to the Linkshot type to improve the display of Tweets that are shared in Fanshots. Linkshots will now automatically format links to Tweets as embedded Tweets. When a user (or editor) creates a Linkshot by pasting in a Tweet link, the published Fanshot will show the full content of the Tweet in the river, on the Fanshots page, and on the detail page.

There are a couple of requested improvements that this release does not directly address that I wanted to point out and explain:

  1. Fanshots in the cover (the top story areas). Due to the variety of Fanshot types and the structure of cover templates, placing and displaying Fanshots in the cover turns out to be pretty complex. We do have some ideas here that we'll be working on soon, but we did not want to delay the release of the other river and detail page improvements out into the wild, so y'all could use them ASAP.
  2. The placement of the Fanshots widget on the home page. Some users and site editors have asked if the Fanshots widget could be moved up higher on the home page. This is something that we are still considering (maybe the top rock is tabbed rather than just Fanposts; maybe that can be set on a site by site basis). However, that work will have to wait until we finish a major front-end code refactoring project that is currently in progress, but won't be finished until April.

In the meantime, we're hoping that these design improvements and the added pop in the river will add engagement incentives for you to post and consume them.These are pretty big improvements on Fanshots, so at the very least, y'all will have better tools at your disposal with this release.

Let us know what you think of these changes.