The Essex Rebels are a basketball club based at the University of Essex, Colchester, offering a full programme of events and an end-to-end pathway from the Rebels Roadshow schools outreach programme through to senior professional teams. The Rebels’ women’s team compete in the Women’s British Basketball League, the top level in Great Britain.
While the Essex Rebels had an established social media presence, their old website was merely a page extension of the University of Essex website. This lacked the flexibility required to showcase the team and their players, fans and game schedules at their best.
The Essex Rebels came to us with a clear list of requirements for their new site:
- It should be independently hosted, with their own chosen domain name
- Members needed to be able to update the website as and when required – this was vital
- The site needed to complement the Essex Rebels existing impactful branding
In addition they needed have the new site up and running before the start of the next basketball season, to ensure players, teams, fans and the media were excited, informed and ready for the opening games – a tight deadline.
Planning For Success
The first step in evaluating The Essex Rebels’ digital needs was conducting in-depth interviews with key staff from digital, marketing, ticketing, commercial, operations, IT and the executive leadership team. This gave us complete, objective 360-degree view of the club’s existing architecture.
This included looking at aspects of the operational side of the business such as aspirations, objectives and performance targets. We also took a deep dive into the fan and partner requirements such as the responsiveness and performance of mobile and web applications, league tables, ticketing and event management integrations.
Building A Game Plan
With their digital vision and strategic pillars set, we focused on detailing the technical functionality and designing a stand-alone website that would serve the team for years to come.
Basketball is the second most popular participation team sport among young people, according to Sport England data, partly due to high levels of ‘street cred’ the sport has, and is an excellent vehicle for engaging with children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.
The Essex Rebels gave our team plenty to play with in terms of branding and powerful imagery. We were able to create impactful, easy-to-navigate designs whilst ensuring functionality supported the administration of the site, with game schedules of each team and an RSS feed of Basketball England.
Aligned with the Essex Rebels recognisable brand styling and their vision to inspire children and young people to achieve their full potential, we designed the site with careful consideration for the full breadth of visitors both online and to the Essex Sport Arena.
Importantly, we had to meet stringent WCAG AA accessibility standards, ensuring the website accommodates all users regardless of impairments – whether physical or environmental.
Information is easily accessible with intuitive navigation to key areas such as sponsorships and scholarships. The back-end of the WordPress CMS was also designed to make updating news, game information and team profiles as simple as possible for in-house staff.
The Rebel Way
Home to the curious, brave and bold, where exploring new ways of thinking and pushing boundaries isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected. Much like the Essex Rebels, our development team are committed to excellence in everything they do.
The new website was launched ahead of the agreed deadline with initial results outperforming expectations. Providing a new level of marketing autonomy, control and management efficiency, the Essex Rebels’ new website will help them achieve their vision to enhance lives by making a positive impact on the wider community.
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