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LeagueApps Steps Up Their Design Game With The Addition of Jeff Doan

Company News, LeagueApps Team, Tech Specs

We’re excited to announce the arrival of Jeff Doan to the LeagueApps team. Jeff is our new Lead UI/UX Designer and will be working in our new Rosslyn office space. His responsibilities will entail all platform design, front-end development, design quality and partner design tools. Jeff will also play a major role in product design and development as LeagueApps pushes forward with new mobile products.  We plan to keep him busy!

Jeff has held numerous web design jobs around the DC area and was most recently  a CSS designer at NCLUD, a top web design agency in Washington DC.  You can get a better sense for Jeff’s design sensibility and more on his website, or follow him on Twitter.

We asked Jeff a few questions around his own background, design ideas and how it all applies to LeagueApps.  Here it in his own words!

Q: Can you share you web design background and experiences with the LeagueApps community?
A: I got into web design via print design which I got into after graduating from JMU with a degree in fine arts. I always had a passion for design, and as soon as I graduated a buddy of mine & I started building awful websites (but hey, who wasn’t in 2004). I landed an internship at a retail company for print design, but fell in love with web design and began pushing myself to get more involved in web design. From there I started focusing on web design, and eventually some web development as well. It’s my belief that you can’t be a web designer without knowing a good amount about web development and browser compatibility and functionality.

I’ve been working in web design for the past 7 years, and love it every day — how far it’s come in the last 7 years is incredible, and it’s only going to get better, and design is really starting to be appreciated and valued in every step of a successful product; a testament to the web design industry as well as the new start-up culture.

Q: What are some of the trends and concepts in web design that you like to use?
A: Trends, that’s a dangerous word to me. I don’t really like to use anything that’s a trend, because of just it’s nature of being in the now today, but perhaps not tomorrow. It’s good to know what the trends are, just to see what today’s other designers & products are capable of, but the nature of good design is to be as timeless as possible, and more importantly, to design for your users and the users you want to have; regardless of trends. That being said, I am a fan of more ‘flat design’ as opposed to heavy ‘skeuomorphic’ design, and I love the big push by type designers & foundries to make their fonts available for web use. For many years, web designers had only a handful of typefaces to choose from, and that limited creativity and branding to a certain degree; but thanks to Google and Typekit we now have access to a lot more typefaces.

Q: How can a sports organization optimize design and UI to better achieve their goals?
A: No matter what the sports league is, or in general, what the business is, great design matters. Great design gets out of the way, and helps users do what they want to do. So, in the pre-registration process, it’s making the flow simpler and more intuitive, more enjoyable, and reducing friction (i.e. removing the little voice in users heads and giving them visual cues that this is legit & awesome). Then, in the post registration process, it’s about giving the user what they want, in an easy to navigate & digest manner — with a sports league, that’s most likely information about their next game, the weather, and their overall schedule. Lastly, from a business perspective, reducing overall complexity will lead to more user registrations, satisfaction, engagement, word of mouth marketing, and ultimately help achieve business goals.

Q: How should leagues think about mobile design?
A: That’s a good question — something I don’t know I have the answer on yet, nor does anyone really. However, what we want to help get across to our partners is the importance of mobile to their users, and what scenarios to think about their users in. If I’m playing in a sports league, what I’m going to be doing on the go on the league website is getting directions to the game, checking the weather, who’s going to the game, etc. Very me-centric things that don’t take much time, and that might not be generating revenue at the moment, but by providing a sleek, simple to use mobile experience, the league will be providing a lot of value to the user, and thus they are going to want to stay in the league.

A good comparison is if you’ve ever tried checking a restaurant website on a phone — if so, more than likely all you really want is see the menu, address, phone number and check the hours. Instead, we are often shown extraneous intro movies, photos of people having a great time, music, etc. The point here being that what an organization might think is important, especially on mobile, more often than not, is not what the user wants or needs. So, educating and providing resources to help develop a mobile first mindset would go a long way to getting everyone on the same page, and creating the best possible scenario for the user.

Q: What is your biggest sports highlight or moment?
A: I was playing leftfield in an Arlington Softball league and a deep fly ball was hit my way. I tracked it all the way until the fence, which I didn’t even know was there, and caught it as I crashed into the fence. A bunch of were playing basketball started cheering & applauding my efforts for that, which made me feel like a baller. Of course, while I was reveling in my own awesomeness, the men on first and second advanced all the way home as I temporarily forgot where I was, and the fact there were less than 2 outs. Also, one game in high school lacrosse, I had 5 goals against one of our biggest rivals; unfortunately we lost 20-5.

Q: Anything else to add?
A: Design and products are an evolutionary process. LeagueApps is in this with our partners to build the best platform for you and the best experience for both your organization and your participants, who we also value just as much!

I’m so excited to be here and start building great things with LA and our partners!

 

 

 

Release Notes: Platform Reliability Upgrades & Managing Program Staff 

Company News, Release Notes, Value of LeagueApps

LeagueApps MVPs! We wanted to inform you that we pushed out a new product release this morning.  Here’s an overview of what was included:

Reliability & Infrastructure Upgrades

We made several upgrades to the back-end software system that works behind the scenes to power the LeagueApps platform.  These updates were designed to ensure the continued stability and performance of the platform.

We pride ourselves in providing a service that constantly maintains the highest levels of speed, uptime, and reliability. A lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure that you can continually count on the LeagueApps platform to power your sports programs. We’ll continue to dedicate great energy into maintaining an exceptionally dependable platform for our partners.

Manage Program Staff

We introduced a new feature to help you manage your programs.  You can now customize your own program “staff” roles, and assign members into these roles.  This is an initial version of this feature, and will be expanded over time.  Here’s how it works…

Customize Your Program Staff Roles

Under the management console tab “Settings > Staff Roles”, you can create any number of custom defined “roles”.  Examples include things like referees, umpires, equipment coordinators, and other volunteers.

Once you setup some roles, you can then assign members to programs within these roles.

Assigning and Managing Program Staff

Go into any program, and now you’ll see that there is a tab called “People”, which has sub-items for “Players” and “Staff”.  This was done so that you can manage your program’s players (i.e., registered participants) and your program’s staff members separately.

When you go into the “Staff” screen, you’re able to view the listing of assigned staff members, add new staff, edit existing staff, and send messages to any staff member.

Adding a new staff member works in a similar fashion to adding (i.e., registering) a new player to a program within the management console.  Click on the “Add Program Staff Member” button on this page.  You will be asked to first create the new member account, or select an existing member to add as staff.  After this step, you will be asked to specify the details for this staff member, including the assigned role and optionally if the staff member should also be associated with a team in the program.

We envision additional features and functionality to be layered onto this staff member feature.  As you try it out, please do send any feedback you may have.

Additional Improvements

Group Accounts

We also introduced a new capability into the platform that allows your members to setup “group accounts”. This feature is still in progress and not yet publicly released, but it WILL be soon. The Group Accounts feature will provide a number of benefits including:

  • Groups of friends can register for programs together
  • Members are able to register other friends on their behalf
  • Members can register and pay for multiple programs in a single session
  • Families are able to setup “family accounts” and register their children and/or spouses for programs.

Stay tuned as we get this feature ready to go public very soon!

Smaller Tweaks and Enhancements

We also tackled a list of smaller tweaks based on your continued feedback. Some of these included usability enhancements on signup pages and registration confirmation messaging, as well as bolder alerts and warning notices for key actions within the manager console.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

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