Constituent body for Rugby Union in the county of Northumberland.
Northumberland RFU is the county constituent body for rugby union in Northumberland. It supports 22 local rugby clubs and provides management of the Northumberland County rugby male and female teams, from age grade to senior levels.
The county had planned to upgrade its website for some time. Their old website was outdated and struggling to hold the amount of content required. Northumberland RFU also wanted to use their website to increase engagement with playing-age individuals and move some time-consuming manual processes online. Most of the old website users were in the 50+ age demographic, so emphasis was put on user experience and making the new site accessible and easy to use for all.
During initial meetings with the client, we identified that there were a lot of manual tasks that could potentially be handled by the new website. This would provide a substantial cost and time saving for the client.
We were also aware that the user base for the old website was ageing so the new site had to be easy to use for individuals with low levels of IT skill and experience. This together with the requirement to engage playing-age individuals provided a challenge in that the site had to appeal to users of all ages and abilities.
We designed this website using a lot of white space across its pages, complimented with large and easy-to-read fonts. This helped to make the site easy to navigate for individuals in the older demographics whilst also appearing modern and spacious to satisfy younger tastes.
We used NRFU’s bright and contrasting band colours of green, red, and yellow to bring attention to call-to-action features such as buttons and content filters. Again, this was to deliver an easy-to-use experience for the website’s visitors.
The news section was placed central on the homepage to better serve playing-age visitors who may be looking for the latest updates. Social media posts now refer to these articles via a link. We also spent time building out the club pages which give a snapshot of important contacts, league tables, results, and travel information for each club located within Northumberland RFU. Beforehand, users would have to navigate multiple websites to gather the information that is now readily available on a single page.
A huge part of this website project was to better manage forms. Before, NRFU would receive and manage forms through email and printing prior to seeking multiple approvals amongst the management team. This process was inefficient and time consuming for the county due to there being over 20 forms and multiple workflows with different access levels and signoffs.
We were able to build online workflows into the backend of the website where the user can access and complete forms online. Once submitted we programmed the forms to send to the responsible person within Northumberland RFU who had the authority to sign off. On some of these forms, there are three levels of approval and we delivered a system where the entire form process is handled digitally. This has saved NRFU hundreds of hours of time per year, not to mention the paper savings. There is added functionality that informs the user through the approval journey, and clubs can now access their approved forms through a dedicated online folder accessed through the website. This has greatly reduced the amount of time that the county has spent managing the process and responding to club requests.
The site is also fully responsive to mobile devices. This means that if a club needs to fill out an injury form, they can now do it via their mobile phone pitchside. Previously these forms were printed and manually completed sometimes days after the game had finished.
We delivered a website that not only looks fantastic, appeals to all age groups and engages the client’s key audiences, but we were able to add a huge amount of value in managing workflows and documents so that the client could concentrate on what they do best.
Now that the new website has been launched, we continue to provide support to Northumberland RFU. Their site is protected by an Aspire website maintenance, security and support plan to ensure that the site not only displays correctly but protects the data of its users. We also assist with graphic design and social media management activities on a day-to-day basis.
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