Salford City Reds today launch a highly-sophisticated new website in readiness for their imminent move to their new headquarters at Barton at the end of the year.
Teaming up with one of the country’s fastest growing technology businesses, Manchester based UK Fast, and internet design consultancy Harper James, the Reds have been secretly building the platform for one of the best sporting websites in the UK for the past three months.
We spoke to Reds’ Communications Manager Paul McNally about the new website:
“Since we made the decision last summer to put significant investment into our online presence we knew pretty much right away that UK Fast were the company we wanted to work with. As a forward-thinking, green-keen business with an involvement already in local sport and rugby in particular, it was clear from the onset that they could share our vision to build ultimately the best website in the game, and this partnership is reflected with the appearance of the UK Fast branding on our kit already this season.
The website is our key tool over the coming 12 months and beyond and we needed a robust, intelligent system that will help supporters old and new find us quickly. Speed was also a key factor in the site we wanted to build. People are used to clicking around sites like BBC Online and information being delivered almost instantly. The servers at UK Fast allow us to deliver that expectation. Basically, people who drive over that bridge in the next year who have never heard of us may well head to Google to discover more, and we want that first experience of us to be a hugely positive one.”
The biggest change in our site besides speed is that we wanted to give control of our site to the supporters. Our new homepage is basically a set of intelligent widgets that the viewer can reposition or even remove from their screens. It may be that the first thing they want to see every time they log on are the upcoming fixtures and not what might be currently there. With a drag of the mouse they can do that, and the system will remember their preferences the next time they visit.
This is very much Phase One of development to get the new site out there and people using it. Over the coming months we’ll be working with our developers and designers closely to add more great features and content. There will be even more widgets to play with as well as a more integrated online shop and ticketing system.
reds.co.uk will now become a much more video-rich entity. I’m sure regular readers will have noticed we have ramped up our video content and production values over the last few months, well that was in preparation for this. We’ve kept it a bit of a secret to make it a nice surprise for the fans, and also because last time we launched a new website we virtually exploded the internet and I don’t want to experience that level of techno-stress again in a hurry.
The new site is considerably different to navigate than what we have done in the past and I’d advise fans to have a good poke around and explore the options. The top Nav bar will take you to your general destination and then a sub menu will appear on the left hand side where you can dig down a little deeper into a section. We have new features such as the Sin Bin and the Treatment room in the Squad section and we’ll be developing this section greatly over the next week or so with the inclusion of all of players, right down to U15 level. We’ve also got to take a hammer and screwdriver around to a couple of the other sections to knock them into their final shape but we feel we are well on the way to where we want to be at this stage.
Match and player statistics will be added next week and will become a much more integrated feature as the weeks go by, and of course you can still keep a close eye on the webcam at Barton which is certainly getting interesting now the stands are starting to go up.
Finally we are looking to integrate our social media content tightly too, our Facebook and Twitter have a large following and we want to bring them all together. It’s an exciting time in the Communications and Marketing Department as it is throughout the Club and it’s going to be a privilege to play a part in the historic move.
So, bear with us over the next few days, there are bound to be the occasional teething problems, but rest assured we will be hunting down and squashing all the bugs as we go."
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