SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010
Anatomy of the Redesign

by Joel Lamp

Welcome to the new and improved JUDolphins.com.

We are proud to roll out the new look and all the new features on the website. This project started in April with the goal of sprucing up the look of our site while increasing our ability to bring visitors closer to the Dolphins than ever.

With our last relaunch, we were the first Atlantic Sun Conference program to build a video channel into the front page of the website. In the latest redesign, we wanted our video channel to be one of the biggest features on the site – and now you can click on a video in the story window as well as visit the video library at the bottom of the front page.

Since our last relaunch, this crazy thing called social media came onto the scene.

Now, people are tweeting, facebooking, skyping and connecting in so many ways that it has allowed us to spread the gospel of the Dolphins to fans in so many different ways that make it easier for the fan to follow.

Seeing that trend, we have built our social media offerings into the DNA of this site. Each sport page has the Twitter accounts (click to here to view our social media offerings) of all those that contribute to that sport, with the front page showing the most recent tweet among the JU accounts.

And then there is the incorporation of the blogosphere into the site.

Last year, we piloted a program of student-athlete blogs and they received rave reviews. With that success, we will be building them prominently into each sport page with them being featured more in the front page headlines.

The final new feature that will be rolling out in the next week is the “Jacksonville Experience.”

Thanks to the NCAA’s decision to outlaw the distribution of the annual media guide to recruits, the media relations staff at JU has been working non-stop to create an online version that works in the recruiting world.

Last year, JU was one of the schools that opted not to print media guides and went with an online version only. The “e-magazine” look was nice, but in my meetings with the staff to discuss them, I felt like we were pigeon holed into the idea of it being a “media guide” and that it has to be in a book form.

So, we started thinking outside of the box and developed our microsite idea. Each sport will have a microsite that highlights each program with an eye-pleasing graphic presentation with plenty of video thrown into the mix.

The focus on video will allow us at JUDolphins.com to bring you new stories and unique features more than previously. It also allows us to stay with the growing trend in college athletic websites moving towards video, while we continue to bring you those great stories and features you’ve come to trust from JUDolphins.com.

There is a lot of talk these days about college athletic sites "being their own media" and not depending on coverage from the local television stations and newspapers. Our goal is to merge the two - we won't sacrifice our coverage in the mainstream media, but we're also committed to making JUDolphins.com your first stop for everything about the Dolphins.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments – because if you’re not visiting the site, then we’re not doing our job.