I started reading espn.mobi about a year ago and it used to be an LCD (lowest common denominator) approach for any device. A few months later they started offering a slightly better version for the iPhone and high-end devices, but really the main difference was that articles were not split into multiple pages.
I haven’t used it much in the last couple of months and today I had a great surprise. Accessing with the iPhone I found a completely new and custom layout. The new layout is far from an LCD approach it is actually a very optimized design for the iPhone taking advantage of the AJAXy capabilities of the webKit, but also keeping in mind the iPhone input limitations providing big buttons for fat fingers.
The new homepage and then the pages inside are very colorful and the big (clickable) tabs give you immediately the opportunity to choose the section you are interested into.
The design is (both in the iPhone and non-iPhone versions) focused entirely on the mobile context which is a proof ESPN understand mobile. From the very first moments you see the latest news and real-time scores. Again taking advantage of AJAX, scores are updated automatically every few seconds using a pseudo-ticker with nice little boxes with team names and scores. Very nice to the eye.
The non-iPhone version has also slightly improved from the version that has been available for a few months now.
The non-iPhone version is very light, but still very nice and is very usable on simple devices such as the Sony Ericsson V640.
Some more screenshots taken on my iPhone.
Real-time scores in nice boxes, scrollable sideways:
Section homepage (NBA in this case):
THUMBS UP TO ESPN!
PS: I know the layout of text and images isn’t perfect, but Blogger doesn’t let me do too much without breaking all the standard markup