Colorado Springs, Colo. (December 16, 2020)—After several months of development, and with the help of many players in the ultimate community, USA Ultimate unveiled today its new official website. The launch marks the organization’s first major overhaul of usaultimate.org since 2010.
The new front-end site was built and developed by Andy Lovseth, website developer and longtime U.S. National Team and Seattle Riot coach, and co-designed by Lovseth and Colorado Springs-based designers, The Good & Simple Co.
With revamped navigation, a focus on mobile friendliness and a clean, dynamic look and feel, the front-end website targets an audience of new players and fans while balancing the need to serve current members.
“Our focus for this iteration of the site was on new players and spectators,” explained Lovseth. “So many people still don’t know, or misunderstand, what ultimate is. We want kids to get excited about playing, parents to feel confident that ultimate is a safe and fun activity, and coaches, organizers and school administrators to fully understand that ultimate is a worthwhile investment of their time and energy.”
The current back-end system consisting of event calendars, team databases and various administrative functionalities for members remains in place at play.usaultimate.org, but will receive some design upgrades in the future.
When starting the design phase of the new site, analytics showed that 76% percent of visitors to usaultimate.org were visiting the page for the first time, and a remarkably high 60% bounce rate meant they were not engaging with the site for very long. A continued, strategic goal of increasing the awareness and credibility of ultimate, along with statistics such as those and input from the community, helped guide the creation of a data-driven, visually appealing and more functional front end.
The site leans heavily on media content – including a video archive of more than 460 games, highlight reels and promotional pieces – to introduce new users to the sport and illustrate the majesty of ultimate. Feature videos produced by videographer Nathan Kolakovic and best-in-class still imagery from UltiPhotos and its cadre of photographers pepper the site with content aimed at exciting and inspiring a new generation of players and fans.
“Most every page is an opportunity to highlight players from across our community,” added Lovseth. “Visibility and representation of all the shades and shapes of people who play is critically important to nurturing our community and growing the sport.”
An initial test of the site’s navigation last fall asked more than 300 new and existing users to review basic elements like intuitiveness and ease of use. A beta testing process occurred last month as 120 players, coaches, organizers and other members of the ultimate community were invited to provide a second round of feedback, resulting in a variety of updates and revisions.
“Although the site is now live, it is by no means a finished product,” commented USA Ultimate Managing Director of Marketing, Communications and Brand Andy Lee. “Now that it’s in the public domain, we invite players and other members of the community to visit the site and provide us with feedback that will help us refine it and make it better. The initial input we received from members was critical in all phases of the site’s creation: navigation, design, content, etc. We also acknowledge that there are a few missing pieces, like archives, Hall of Fame and other important parts that will be the focus of an immediate ‘phase two’ build this winter.”
“The website is an important investment for the organization,” added Lovseth. “The site isn’t a static artifact cast in the amber of 2020. It will be iterated and improved upon in the months and years to come. We’ve built, and will continue to build, flexible tools for the staff to create first-rate digital content that attracts new athletes, parents, coaches and organizers.”
“This was truly a team effort, and I’d like to recognize and thank all of those who contributed in some way to the new site,” said Lee. “Andy Lovseth invested a remarkable amount of time, energy and passion into this project, as did Stacey Waldrup and Larry Melton on our membership and marketing teams at HQ. A variety of player-led working groups, volunteers and members who gave their input along the way, as well as content providers like Nathan, UltiPhotos, Ultiworld, Fulcrum Media Group, CVM Productions, Tino Tran and others in our community whose work is featured on the site, all played a role, either directly or indirectly. Erica Baruch – our equity, diversity and inclusion consultant – provided constant feedback and suggestions to help us continue keeping an EDI lens on everything we do. Finally, the team at G&S – Jeremy Reeves, Jeremy Worley and Martin Drexler – brought a fresh perspective to the table and were thoughtful and smart resources.”