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Canadian Paralympic Committee

Using technology to inspire and enable disabled Canadians to become involved in sport through programs delivered by Canadian Paralympic member organizations.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization whose mission is to lead the development of Paralympic sport in Canada and, enable athletes to reach the podium at the international Paralympic Games.

www.paralympic.ca - To increase their medal count and resulting federal funding, the organization needed to grow by attracting and engaging future successful athletes with physical disabilities.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee website provided important and relevant overall information but the organization determined that it required additional functionality targeted to prospective athletes, to make the growth a reality.

Objectives

The Canadian Paralympic Committee was using Drupal for its website. The content and site architecture provided news and information about the foundation, programs, resources and athletes. However, the website had little targeted information or functionality to help engage, promote, identify and propel athletes to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games.

To better recruit Para-sport athletes and future Paralympians, the site required additional functionality. The organization needed to create custom tools, integrated into the website, that enabled web visitors to find a sport suited to their ability. Once a sport had been found, athletes needed to be able to find an appropriate Para-sport club located near them that operated at their desired level of competition.

The tools required a user friendly and intuitive interface. And it needed to integrate with the existing website’s architecture, framework and backend systems.

Goals

  • Raise awareness and attract athletes to Para-sport
  • Build an online tool for the Paralympic.ca website that allows future athletes to identify a sport suitable to their disability
  • Provide information about Para-sport facilities, coaching and expertise
  • Filter facilities based on user location and Paralympic sport available
  • Use existing Drupal 7 website and infrastructure from Paralympic.ca
  • Develop a user-friendly, intuitive interface
  • English and French capabilities

Solution

The solution involved building two custom tools able to handle the new functionality. With “Find a Sport”, a user starts by selecting a general disability type from the interface and then uses additional filtering to query for a deeper, more specific sport suggestion. This tool was created using a multi-level tagging structure to provide the detailed filtering. Contextual information for the individual sport pages was also pulled in to provide a more informative user experience.

For the “Find a Club” tool, Google’s Geolocation API was used to determine the user’s position and facilitate the mapping feature. The tool uses the user’s geographic proximity to sort through the clubs database, and provides an alphabetical listing of sports facilities within the distance range. Further filtering is performed using the taxonomies to determine club type (national, provincial or local). The listing delivers a link to the club page, providing a description, map, sport, club type and contact information.

Links and contacts to external clubs are self-managed, allowing site contributors to login to self-update and manage their profiles and their club’s information.

Results

The new filtering tools have facilitated growth in numbers of Canadian Paralympic athletes by providing the Canadian Paralympic Committee with a new means of recruiting. Potential athletes are able to use the tools to determine the sports they can play and locate an appropriate local club for training.

The website benefits from using a single, streamlined process to handle both the “Find a Sport” and “Find a Club” tools. The committee has the ability to re-use the functionality for other applications and configurations. As an extension to this project, an additional tool to allow site visitors to “Find an Activity” (lessons, training guides and other athlete resources) is currently in the works. There has also been interest from other sport organizations in using the “Find a Club” and “Find an Activity” functionality.

Work for the Canadian Paralympic Committee further continues with the team engaged to provide extra informal consulting, create additional functionality on the front page, and migrate the complete site to platform-as-a-service hosting from Acquia Cloud.

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