New NCJLA Web Site

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What do you think of the NCJLA web site at League Athletics?

Poll ended at Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:36 pm

New site definitely better
3
50%
I don't care, they're about the same
1
17%
Old sites (ncjlax.org and Sportability) definitely better
2
33%
 
Total votes : 6

New NCJLA Web Site

Postby backdoor » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:36 pm

The good thing about the new NCJLA web site is the fact that it has the league information and the schedules, game scores, etc. integrated. It also has a nice design and no doubt a lot of time has gone into setting it up and populating it with information. But I have to say, for me, that's about all the positive I see. It seems extremely slow, clunky, layer upon layer of things to select just to get to where you want to go. I'm a pretty net savvy guy, but I swear, I forget how to find things on that site and it's like going to it for the first nearly every time. I have 4 different sets of passwords. I can't find the statistics. I don't think we can edit our own rosters. Poor Don, he has to reupload the roster whenever there is a change.

I certainly willing to work with it and I know it will take some time. But I think for schedules, standing, statistics, etc. Sportability was far better. Maybe you disagree. I'm interested in hearing others' input. I would suggest to the league that they consider a full survey of the member organizations to either look for their opinions or whether to go back to Sportability.
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Re: New NCJLA Web Site

Postby SkylineCoach » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:18 am

Sportability has also just undergone a total redesign for the better. For the NCJLA, it was a year too late, I guess. But its infinitely better than this League Athletics thing. I agree that the new site is way too redundant, slow, & layered.
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Re: New NCJLA Web Site

Postby picknroll » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:38 pm

It's not such a simple black and white question.

The NCJLA site has to accomplish the following:

1. Information distribution and content management.
2. Team registration, including credit card processing.
3. Game scheduling.
4. Repository of rosters, game results, and statistics.

For the last few years, the NCJLA had a custom web site for #1 and used Sportability for #2, #3, and #4.

One of the continuing complaints against the NCJLA has been missing or slow information flow. That very complaint has been voiced on this board numerous times. An updated web site was identified as a remedy to these communication gaps. Specifically a better content management system was desired so that non-technical staff of the NCJLA could directly enter content without the aid of a web master.

The NCJLA went out and took bids to replace the custom site (ncjlax.org) with a new custom site. During this process several NCJLA members pointed out that clubs routinely run content management sites using packaged sites like League Athletics and NGIN. The proposal for the custom site was really expensive (coming from you NCJLA fees). There was also concern that a custom site could quickly become obsolete and ongoing maintainence (more expense) would be required to keep the site up to date. Don Aiello graciously offered to build a prototype NCJLA site using League Athletics with a goal if evaluating if that would meet the needs of the NCJLA. This prototype ultimately morphed into the NCJLA site that you see today. The decision was made to go with League Athletics for content management and scrap the custom site project.

The use of League Athletics for content management took care of #1 on the list. League Athletics also offers capabilities for #2, #3, and #4 that were previously handled by Sportability. Now the decision becomes to use League Athletics purely for content management or also extend to the other capabilities. There are disadvantages in a hybrid Sportability/League Athletics approach. First off the NCJLA is dealing with two vendors. Also there are advantages in integrating content management to the database stuff. For example it's easier to send information out to clubs or NCJLA families if the information is in the same database as the content management system.

For these reasons the other functionality of Sportability was also replaced with League Athletics. Sportability basically lost because they could not provide a good content management system. While the look and feel of Sportability was recently changed, I still do not think that they are providing content management. Most of the large NCJLA clubs have moved away from Sportability to League Athletics or NGIN because of the lack of content management capabilities. Also the registration and credit card processing part of League Athletics is good, which is really the biggest worry for large clubs.

Most of the discussion here has been around #4 (rosters, results, and statistics). I would agree that Sportabilty wins in that area, but that may be the only area. In particular I hate trying to view game results on the new site. It's just terrible. I would suggest that we need to work with League Athletics to get improvement there. We have plenty of leverage with many NCJLA clubs using League Athletics along with the NCJLA site also.

One last point about this is integration between club sites and the NCJLA site. That was never possible before. That is now possible for clubs using League Athletics. For example the schedule info in the NCJLA site automatically gets reflected back into your club site if you like your teams to the NCJLA site. That is really nice. As rain outs and reschedules were happening this weekend all of that data got immediately updated on our club's site (which uses League Athletics). For game results we just go into the club site and enter data that gets reflected back to the NCJLA site. There's no longer a need to give out team managers passwords to the NJCLA site like we did with Sportability.

So backdoor and skylinecoach I agree with your comments, but I also understand the path that the NCJLA took to get to this new site. It makes perfect sense given the parameters that they were dealing with.

There needs to be huge kudos out to Don Aiello. He put tremendous effort into pulling off the new site. Big thanks there to Don.

Also everyone should recognize that the NCJLA is trying to address the concerns about communication through this project. Give them some credit for that and let's try to be positive and constructive in our feedback to them.
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Re: New NCJLA Web Site

Postby SkylineCoach » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:01 pm

Thanks Pick. You're right - someone did a lot of work. Thanks to Don for taking that on.

My biggest complaints come as a viewer and not necessarily a user. But the people within my club who do have to enter rosters, games, etc. basically had to do it all twice this year since we're still using Sportability for registration. Sportability has been great to us about the things you mention - registration and credit card processing - and with a merchant account at the bank is cheaper than League Athletics as well. Those percentages add up, when you're registering 300+ kids.

I know that Sportability has had customer service issues and has pissed some people off. But they've always been good to us - and now we're in the position of having to leave them, or having to double-enter everything. Neither option is really attractive...
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Re: New NCJLA Web Site

Postby backdoor » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:06 pm

Pick,
Thanks for the explanation. You're so logical at times it makes me feel like an emotional blabberer in comparison. :)

I totally understand the reasons for making the change and I think it makes sense. I've been supportive of it from beginning, exploring it when it was first put out there, trying things out and seeing how it works. For most average users (parents, players checking schedules, etc.) it's probably better, and after all, that's the majority of users, so I'm good with it. I don't mind checking two sites and, for me, as a scheduler and club manager, it's certainly more difficult.

I agree that we need to work with LA to streamline things and make is more efficient. I've had a few conversations with Don and several email exchanges sorting through stuff and asking for help. I was one of the early adopters so, I can only imagine how many calls and emails Don has to field helping people with scheduling, rosters and the like. And he's not paid to do that. He volunteered and we need to take that burden away asap.

I posted this topic because I've had a few conversations with Blake Abatte, the boys director about the site. I thought the league should get some straight feedback about it to help guide things for next season. I said I'd post something to see if we could get something rolling.
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