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- Project: Website redevelopment and migration to the new cloud service platform
- Duration: 8 months
- Technologies: React, NodeJS, Postgres, AWS, NestJS, Redux, Bootstrap
- Target audience: Coaches, parents, students, and others interested in school sports events
SchoolDuels is a media website company covering all the high school sports in various American states. They provide media reporting and cover scores, schedules, and all the content for this field, empowering high school sports fans to form aware and powerful communities.
The Сlient was looking for ways to revamp their website that, at the time, did not support desired functionality and lacked attractiveness for end-users. They wanted to facilitate the management of the site, engage more users in submitting schedule and score details, and, finally, grow their audience.
The Client’s Request
SchoolDuels was motivated to shape a unified and informative online space across Maryland state, providing actual data on high school sports events. The company asked Velvetech to refurbish their existing website so it would turn to a mobile-friendly format and provide a better user experience.
As a result, the scope of work included website redevelopment to achieve initial goals and facilitation of schedule and score data processing. It was clearly important to have a convenient system for publishing game details. Our mission was to make it transparent, smooth, and simple.
What We Did
It was agreed to move across the project iteratively, following the best practices of Agile development methodology. According to the main goals of the project, we divided the implementation process into several key parts
- Website redesign
- Cloud migration
- Admin panel design
- API creation
- Data collection and upload
- Forum feature addition
Website Redesign and Cloud Migration
Velvetech redeveloped the website based on the Client’s requirements and mock-ups. At the beginning of the project, our team created the necessary development and deployment methodologies that allowed new functionality to be added without a hindrance.
To comply with the initial request, it was necessary to ensure better performance and scalability. Plain and simple, we supported flexible cloud migration to AWS without causing downtime.
Admin Panel and API Creation
The previous version of the site caused some pain while working with the admin interface. Therefore, it needed a brand new start. Using NestJS as a platform for the backend development enabled designing a fresh admin panel and introducing new features. The logic of data upload remained unchanged, but the process became more efficient.
Learn more about Website Development Process
Another issue to tackle was API creation. Apparently, it was essential for generating more potential for the website converting it into a practical and efficient platform. Additionally, its creation would enable the company to build a mobile app in the future if there is a need.
Data Collection and Upload
It was agreed to keep the core principle of the schedule collection process as it mainly contented everyone. Schedule details are collected in the form of excel files followed by the parsing process and mapping of the data.
However, there were some unwanted mistakes in the previous flow. The same game schedule details could have appeared several times. It was the right moment to avoid this issue in the refurbished version of the site. Thus, our team applied a new logic to track duplicates and eliminate errors of that kind.
Before publishing the results to the website, the admin panel enables making easy adjustments if necessary.
As the preceding format of collecting scores implied no visible structure, it became vital to systematize the process and make it plain. Previously, it was only possible to receive results by sending SMS manually to the coaches. Those texts contained open-ended questions that led to incoherent answers without any links to appropriate games.
The improvements included the automation of sending messages and creating a score web form to facilitate the entire flow. After the changes took place, the system started sending SMS automatically with a link to a web form that contained a few fields for scores input and comments.
Presently, the process is nothing but painless. Three hours after the start of the game, all the coaches involved in it receive messages with a link to this form, fill it out and submit the results. The system collects the answers with structured data tied to a certain game. It is then approved by the system administrator through overlapping and after that uploaded to the website.
This fresh approach to data collection and its publishing eliminates superfluous errors and inaccuracy of results. On top of that, it streamlines the process and enhances its efficiency, saving time and making the system more transparent.
Forum Feature Addition
Finally, Velvetech implemented a forum feature for the website, improving user engagement and increasing participation in SchoolDuels online community. That also provides value in boosting the website’s content and fun for visitors.
When the Client encountered the problem that some coaches were omitting SMS notifications and the games with no scores were piling up, it was an obvious signal for the team to tackle this issue. Velvetech carried through the concept of the Missing Scores Report – the idea the Client came up with.
A button click in the admin panel generates a list of games with missing scores that goes directly to the corresponding school and athletic director or coach. One of them completes the information and uploads the data directly to the website with no need for approval. This functionality has successfully handled the occurred matter. It has enabled filling the gaps and keeping the website up-to-date.
Missing Coaches Details
Similar to the previous challenge, we discovered that the database occasionally lacked other important information. The system requires valid contact details of coaches to enable the continuous flow of schedule and score data collection. In real life, personnel changes regularly – new people come on board, some of the staff leave or switch their phone numbers.
Velvetech provided the solution for that issue by building the Missing Coaches Report. Whenever contact details are missing, the system administrator generates a form and sends it to the athletic director of the corresponding school. This person then updates the details.
Another moment that caused light turbulence was API development. Due to the strict time limits and amount of previous system data to be migrated, we had to be very careful and highly efficient at the same time.
Our team overhauled the old system to support its scalability – moved application logic to separate services without changing the core. That left us with the absence of troubles, typical when building the application from scratch.
It was important for the Client to keep sports fans involved and loyal. Accordingly, it was important for Velvetech to have the Client content and fulfilled. As a result of our work, the new website came to light. It has equipped SchoolDuels with improved performance and user engagement.
Any website visitor can now become a registered user. It takes only a few steps to start participating in school sports discussions. Implemented forum feature allows users to post relevant information and score results.
Coaches feel the benefits of using the admin panel when working with schedules and scores, admitting it as a much faster and intuitive system from a user flow perspective. All the target audience, including parents, are pleased with the site that has received a new look designed by the third party.
Multiple types of users are pleased with the new site, both because of its content and backend functionality. Velvetech LLC took pride in their work and effectively removed roadblocks. Customers can expect a professional and energetic partner.
Velvetech is excited about working with SchoolDuels on additional features for the website. Developing crowdsourcing functionality is the next phase of our collaboration. It will streamline scores collection and upload process. Every registered user watching the game will be able then to contribute to scores input.
Velvetech is looking forward to helping SchoolDuels improve their system, automate the process of schedule upload, and, eventually, empower connections with their audience.
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