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LeagueApps Roster Expands with Gautam Chowdhry Joining the Product Team

Company News, LeagueApps Team, Press

Gautam Chowdhry recently joined the LeagueApps team as the squad’s new “Point Guard” and Director of Product Management. Gautam has over 12 years of experience building web based software products. He’s built, managed and launched many types of products in his previous roles, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems, Content Management Systems (CMS), eCommerce Products, and Digital Marketing Tools. Plus, he is also a co-founder of DC based sports league and the sole architect behind their leagues management tools. He’s a tech guy with hands-on league management experience.

Check out our Q&A with Gautam below to learn a little bit more about his background and experience.

Q: How’d you join the LeagueApps team?

Fate! I received a call from a member of the LeagueApps sales team. We had a great conversation about sports, technology and business.  The conversation quickly transitioned to a sort of recruiting effort, as LeagueApps had an open position on their product team.

Q: You told us LeagueApps is your “Dream Job.”  Explain that!

About 10 years ago my friends and I started a small recreational sports league that had 50 people in it.  The league has grown to have over 10,000 players.  As a software professional I designed and built the software that powered the business – basically building a “LeagueApps Lite” on my own.  Much of my free time was spent developing use cases, building data models, and writing code to develop the system.  Working for LeagueApps has turned my hobby into a full time job.

Q: What’s your role with LeagueApps and what of your is most exciting to you.

I enjoy solving problems – with technology.  As the Director of Product Management it is my job to drive forward product features and enhancements. I envision ways to make LeagueApps more effective and efficient. I am also really pumped about building the next generation of tools, which will focus around exciting new technologies like eCommerce and mobile. These are the type of technology that will make a huge difference in the league experience for both organizers and players.

Q: How will your background in both software development and local sports organization be helpful in your role?

I’ve been building web based software products for the past 12+ years, and have worked in many roles during that time. I have thorough understanding on how the software development process works. From brainstorming ideas, working with people to refine those idea, to designing the technical architecture, and ultimately building the final product.  As a sports organizer I know what it’s like to be on the ground. I have shared in many of the same experiences that our partners have faced.  I know what it’s like to manage registration, run tournaments, create schedules, update standings, order t-shirts, deal with rain delays, schedule makeup games – and the many other logistical challenges of running a league.

Q: From your own experiences, what was the hardest part of organizing sports programs? How can software help?

Growth – It’s a good thing, but is also very challenging at the same time.  When you are small you can get away with a lot. You don’t need permits, you can send group emails from your own inbox, you can accept payments on the field, etc .  Once you get to a certain size all of that becomes a logistical nightmare.  And you end up being more of a paper pusher rather than a sports enthusiast. Technology can automate many manual & labor intensive process making you more efficient.  This allows you to focus your attention on your sport – or they many other needs of your growing league & business.

Q: What’s the best part of running your own bocce league?

There is no shortage of ball jokes.

Q: What are some of your other interests besides sports and technology?

I love music, cooking, photography and spending time with my family.

Q: Anything else to add?

I am thrilled to be a part of the LeagueApps team. As the team Point Guard, it’s my job to make everyone else better.  The team is full of All-Star players which makes my job that much easier and more fun. I look forward to working with our team and our partners to make a great product even better.

How we think about browser support

Product News, Tech Specs

Not all browsers are the same; and they do not all behave the same. Some users understand this, but definitely not all. So, let me break this down a bit first. As internet users, there are myriad browser choices we have to surf the web: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Konqueror, etc. But, just because these options are available, doesn’t mean they all work or behave the same. This is an understood fact of building for the web, but it’s something that we, as software builders, should try to do a better job of: educating the user on browsers and why any website is the same across different browser. We won’t go into that here, but if you’re interested, check out these results on Google.

Here are a few links to a more in-depth article on browser issues and how to upgrade them:

Plus, it’s not just the browser that can be different; it’s also the operating system (OS) a user is on: Mac versus PC, as well as the version of that OS. So, why write about this? Because we want to do a better job of educating our partners and their users about this issue. Here’s a little rundown of how we approach this at LeagueApps:

What browsers we support

Browsers we supportWe support Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera

For your public sites, we support all major, modern browsers. But what does that mean? It means we support Google Chrome (10+), Mozilla Firefox (4+), Apple Safari (5+), Internet Explorer (8+), and Opera 12+. And, for every release we do, we test every scenario in these browsers in as many instances of them as we can. However, we highly encourage all of our users to use Chrome or Firefox, but whatever you choose we suggest you turn on auto-updating of your browser. This allows you to always have the best version of the browser, and mainly to have the highest confidence in the security of the browser.

We also take an analytical approach to everything we can here at LeagueApps, and browser support is definitely one. By  looking at recent (~2 months) data in Google Analytics, we can see what browsers are users are on.

For the public-facing site

In this last sprint, we added in a message/notification for all users who are using Internet Explorer versions older than 8. Users on these browsers get a message about their old browser and that by using this, they get a less than stellar browsing experience (across the whole web). It also suggests updating to the most recent version of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer available for their OS.

Our current browser usage for the public-facing site on desktop is as follows: Chrome at 38% (of which 80% are on 30 or higher), Safari at 25% (all users are on 5 or higher), Internet Explorer at 18% (of which 70% are on 9 or higher), and Firefox at 12% (of which 80% are on 24 or higher).

For the manager console

We added the same thing here, but we targeted all users who are using Internet Explorer versions older than 9. We decided to do this with the hopes of getting those users who are using those browsers to opt for a better browsing experience. We know how important the manager console is to your business, so by opting for a better browser you will give yourself a better experience while doing what you need to for your business.

Our current browser usage for the manage console on desktop is as follows: Chrome at 48% (of which 80% are on 30 or higher), Firefox at 20% (of which 80% are on 24 or higher), Safari at 18% (all users are on 5 or higher), and Internet Explorer at 12% (of which 80% are on 9 or higher).

I’ve seen this before…

Have you ever been doing something in one browser, and had issues with that task? But, when you switched to a different browser, the issue was gone? We’ve all come across this before, and that’s exactly what we’re am referring to here. All companies who build software for the web have to deal with this issue; and it’s something we wanted to bring up and keep our partners informed about.

Future plans

We also want to add in support for other users that are on older versions of non-Internet Explorer browsers. By doing this way we can provide the best possible experience to all our users. However, we also just wanted to let you know we do extensive browser testing before pushing updates to the live sites. And by doing so, we give the best effort we can to make our application work in as many browsers and OS’ as we can — but there are just somethings that an older browser does not handle well. We give our best effort to make the site still usable for older browsers as well, knowing that these users just won’t get the same experience on LeagueApps, nor anywhere else on the web.

Need help, or have a question?

Hit us up; that’s what we’re here for. This is not the simplest concept for everyone, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them.

More Flexibility with Program Settings

Feature Highlight, Release Notes, Value of LeagueApps

We just released a new set of features that offer more flexibility with program settings.  These updates are designed to give you the versatility you need to run your programs effectively and efficiently.  Here’s an overview of the new release.

Staff Registration

We recently added the ability to create and  customize your own program staff roles, and assign members into these roles.  In this release we expand that functionality.  The following features have been added to the system:

Program Staff Self Registration
A member can self-register to a program as a staff member on that program. Additionally, they can create a team while doing so. This enables a “coach” to register and add a team, or a referee to register into a program. Other use-cases include volunteers or assistant coaches joining a team.

Program Staff Invite Team Players
The designated “primary”  staff member on a team is authorized to invite players to that team.

Program Staff Team Payments
The registration payments system has been updated to allow the “primary” team-assigned program staff member to participate in team payments, if settings are set that way.

When creating/editing Staff Role definitions, you can specify permissions for each role (see below). Read the help article for more instructions on how to configure staff registration.

Age Restricted Programs

You can now set age groups for individual programs. This program registration setting allows you to restrict registrants by an age range. For this to work properly, you must require Member Birth Date at the site level. You can also set an effective date for age restrictions, which means you can allow someone to register if they will be of age by the program start date.

Click here for more details on how to configure age restricted programs.

Program Selection Filters

We’ve enhanced the ability for participants to filter and find the program that meets their needs. The following features have been addressed:

Program Filters in Registration Flow
During the registration process when you are required to select a league, players can now filter by the following: Sport, Season, Days of the Week, and Location.

Program Filters in Leagues Discovery
On the League Listings page on your website, players and potential players can now filter leagues by the following: Sport, Season, Days of the Week, and Location.

Additional Items

A number of minor tweaks were made to the system as well, including updates to the HTML content editor, admin console labels and design, and burst handling for high concurrency registration.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.  We have many more features in the works and cant wait to share them with you.

 

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