Before this year, anyone looking to learn about Hillsdale Chargers athletics had to use the “Athletics” section of the school’s website. That all changed September 26 with the launch of a new and modern home on the web for the Chargers.
“The old site was lacking in many, many ways,” said Brad Monastiere, who was in charge of the old site and spearheaded the push for a new one. Monastiere serves as sports information director for the College.
One of the biggest structural changes with the new site is that it is now a separate URL from the main school website. This was intentional, as was the design of the site, in an effort to remove its association with the school’s current website. This change brings Hillsdale in line with the current practice of other schools, which separate the athletics department from the “.edu” address of the main site.
Some of the benefits of the new site are immediately visible on the homepage: it now has over 60 links to various aspects of Hillsdale’s athletics, up from 20. A three-paned box gives quick access to current information about seasonal teams. When you go onto an individual team’s page, the box changes to reflect this. Standings, results, and schedules are all right on the site. Embedded video is now possible, giving the school a much “wider pallet” to inform about its programs. Each team now has a feature video, created by sophomore Genna Hilgenbrink. These videos seek to give recruits and fans an idea of the people and facilities at Hillsdale, and include interviews as well as game footage. The new website even includes a mobile edition, bringing more traffic to the school and making it easier for anyone to look up information on the go.
Many changes are visible to the casual user, but it is what goes on “under the hood” that is perhaps more important. Although the site was designed in-house, the final code was written for the school by PrestoSports, a company specializing in these kinds of athletics websites. Because of Presto’s underlying architecture, the schools they do websites for can share information and resources automatically. Since Presto even manages the site for the GLIAC, standings and results from other schools are updated instantly on Hillsdale’s site. The process to update Hillsdale’s own site, which previously took 10 – 12 steps, can now be completed in three.
Monastiere has many plans for the site’s future, including live webcasting of sporting events, which should be available around 2013. He also plans to include newly-created archive pages with sports information and records from the history of Charger athletics, and to give club and recreational sports more prominent space on the homepage.
Bill Gray, the director of marketing for the school, thinks the new site “gives a better reflection of Charger athletics,” while introducing an athletic feel that wasn’t possible with the old site.