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Inside SM 2: Hustle and bustle

Inside SM 2: Hustle and bustle
© AP Photos
The latest update from SM HQ, including details of our new fixtures and results service and improved American sports coverage.

Welcome to another edition of Inside SM, your weekly fortnightly randomly-timed update on the behind-the-scenes machinations here at SM Towers.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for us, as a combination of improved traffic rankings and major news events (sayonara, Sparky!) have brought in our highest ever audience figures. In fact, just yesterday (November 28) we recorded our largest ever audience outside of the Olympics! We've found that over the last month, a significant number of people have discovered our site for the first time, and a large proportion of those readers are sticking around and coming back for more.

The major news events of the last few weeks have also allowed us to trial a new way of handling developing stories of note through a 'live news coverage' service (see an example here). This provides a one-stop shop for every update relating to a big story, starting with the hustle and bustle of the story's initial impact as well as its aftershocks, following through with reaction until the story begins to peter out. On a related note, we are also piloting live updates from manager press conferences with an eye on making them more of a regular occurrence.

As I hinted in the last update, we've been working on improving our data services and as a first step, this week we launched our fixtures and results service. This allows you to view all events covered by us on a given day, with a full archive of results from the past, plus upcoming fixtures for a wide range of leagues across Europe for the rest of the season.

We've already begun work on the second part of this project, the 'Sports Mole Stat Centre', which will provide a variety of data tables for the various leagues we cover, including form guides, top scorer lists and so on. It's a fairly big project to get the navigation right and the design appealing, but we're very excited to roll this feature out sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, we've tweaked a few things to improve the experience for users of our mobile site. A complete overhaul of the design and functionality is planned for early 2013, but in the meantime we've improved the look of our live commentary service and have introduced the same auto-refresh facility offered on the full version of the site.

Elsewhere, we're dipping our toes in the water - the pond, if you will - with coverage of American sports, beginning with the NFL. For what remains of the regular season we're offering an enhanced news service and will be experimenting with other areas of coverage, such as live game commentary. The first ones on offer are Saints @ Falcons tonight, then Giants @ Redskins in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. As ever I'd love to hear any feedback on our coverage via email or Twitter.

Finally, on the subject of live coverage, it's another big Saturday this weekend. Do join us for exclusive commentaries of the 3pm kickoffs involving Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and City, plus Chelsea in the early kickoff and United in the evening fixture.

That's all from me for now, but I'll leave you with this picture of Real boss Jose Mourinho reinventing himself as 'The Shy One':

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho playing peekaboo on November 27, 2012© AP Photos

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