To increase its medal count and federal funding, the organization needed to grow by attracting and engaging future successful athletes with impairments. 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.
OPIN’s mission was to create a solution to better recruit Para-sport athletes and future Paralympians. The site required additional functionality to make this vision a reality. There was a need 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. It also needed to integrate with the existing website architecture, framework and backend systems.
Raise awareness and attract athletes to Para-sport.
The new site provides information about Para-sport facilities, coaching and expertise.
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 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 sports suggestion. This tool was created using a multi-level tagging structure to provide detailed filtering. Contextual information for the individual sports 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.
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 of 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 interesting from other sports 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.
The Paralympic Games, in our eyes, are the top tier of athletic accomplishment. For us, helping people to realize the competitiveness and the toughness and the strength of our para-athletes is very important.