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University of Richmond Synchro

A brand new look

The University of Richmond (UR) has a long history of synchronized swimming. In 2018, the UR Synchro team celebrated 50 years of establishment and an 11th place win at the Collegiate National Championships. As an alumna of this team, I volunteered to give the UR Synchro team a much-needed facelift. The team has varied in size from 3-15 girls over the years, yet they consistently place in the top 12 most years - even when competing against varsity teams. My goal was to give UR Synchro the professional look and feel that they embody every day.

Website Redesign

Screenshot of the old website with very old styling

Old Website

A very basic informational site without much branding, and a need for updated technology.
Mock-up of the new website landing page

New Website

The new site embraces UR's varsity sport branding and provides a much nicer user experience. It is also responsive so it is mobile friendly, unlike the previous site.

The challenge

There is a lot of static information on this page, so the challenge for me was to make it interesting and engaging even though the site isn't like to change on a regular basis. In the end, it was most important to me that it had the look and tone of a varsity sport website and that everything in the site was easy to find and use.

My approach

In order to provide the best design, I did an analysis of some of the major university varsity sports web pages.

I spoke with the coach of the team early on in order to get her thoughts on what should go into the site.

I had a strong vision of how I wanted the new site design to look and feel, and I knew that Axure is a very powerful tool for high-fidelity, true-to-reality prototypes.

After showing the prototype to the coach and the current team, I made some updates and started handing off the design to the developer.

Together with the coach and the developer, we determined that the best overall experience when updating the site would be to keep myself involved. So I learned GraphCMS basics in order to accommodate change requests.

Since completing the project, I have kept an open line of communication with the coach in order to ensure satisfaction and meet the needs of any updates.

Special features

As a club team, and a sport that faces unique challenges with recruitment and NCAA funding, UR synchro relies heavily on donations. I added a "Give" button to the navigation bar to help alumni and interested parties have easy access to a contribution function.

Due to the time-intensive process that is updating a website, UR Synchro has transitioned to posting a lot of updates on its social media pages. I included a social media plugin on the home page to help sync the various platforms (on the live site, this is still a work in progress).

The team doesn't currently publish results, but since they always do so well, they have something to be proud of. I added a results page for them to share their accomplishments (to go live after the end of the season).

The roster now features pictures more prominently, and allows visitors to sort the team members to better find team members. I have also created an alumni page - which links back to the current roster page - that is more organized and sortable.

The Solution

Below is a screencapture of the final product. Click the image to open the live site!

Screen capture and link to the new live website

Results

Aayla completely redid our team's website. She was creative and professional, and we ended with an incredible product. We are grateful for her meticulous work on something that had long gone ignored. Aayla was also very communicative as we completed the process. A million thanks to her!

— Asha Bandal, UR Synchro Head Coach
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