BAFANL design

So today I posted a preview of the new BAFANL website on the leagues forum. There is a deadline in place (30th March) and I know what I want to have done to launch the site before that date. In my last post I talked about the thought process behind the site. Now the key backend parts I mentioned are up and running allowing lots of cool things revolving around fixtures to happen with dynamic standings tables and fixture lists that can be thrown into any page fairly easily.

The design of the site is based around a wordpress theme called Arras which is perfect for this kind of site. The theme is one we used between August and October last year for the site but it has now been ported over. It has good styles for dealing with all types of news and can be adapted for other pages easily as well.

The idea behind the site is still to allow users to get the information they want as quickly as possible so at the top of the page in NFL.com style we have a list of the coming week's fixtures, eventually when you click on one of those it will take you to details of that matchup, if its in progress you can get score updates and after the match it will contain any images or video that has been submitted for that event.

Below that we have the menu, I wanted a way for users to be able to quickly go to any team's page. Clicking on a level gives you a list of every team playing at that level sorted by division making it really easy to get to your team's page along with the standings and schedule for that level.

Team pages will contain key information, all news/media tagged for that team, a map to their home ground with a button to get directions. Then a sidebar with their fixtures, win/loss count and important contacts like the head coach.

We want to make it nice and easy for newcomers to find out how to get involved so that features clearly on the menu with categories for different levels of participation.

I also wanted to make the most of everyone's social media, all the team pages have that teams twitter feed, a link to their facebook page and website so that fans can easily interact with them. The home page sidebar has a list of all the teams in the league to help keep you up to date with everything anyone does.

There is still a fair amount to be done and not all of it will be running when the site goes live, the plan though is to go live with a top front end so that the user gets what they want and then work on the underlying CMS to make the user privilege side and management of that lovely content get to the level that I want to see it at.

Tasks before live:

  • add a volunteers page
  • add link to league CRS on homepage
  • links to BUAFL/BAFA/BAFRA/BAFCA
  • Get team finder up to scratch
  • hook up adding of articles and images
  • use that to populate the featured articles boxes
  • Rudimentary search based on tagging and basic data
  • Finish adding features to team pages
  • Create RSS feeds
  • Tidy the theme up a little more
  • Make the upcoming games bar horizontally scrollable

Any comments on the general design are gratefully received.

My aim all along has been to make a site fit for the league and feedback is the way I can ensure that will happen.

The demo site with rough edges and all can be found here

If you would like to see the admin CMS let me know and I'll point you in the right direction (I have the data all backed up anyway). I have a week to go but will be putting nightly updates onto the dummy site (on the nights I am actually working on it). I am sure I will be posting again before the thing goes live.

Bafanl week 18 fixtures

South Wales Warriors @ Bournemouth Bobcats – Division 2 West
London Warriors @ Coventry Jets – Premiership

Cambridgeshire Cats @ Leicester Falcons – Division 1 Central
Manchester Titans @ Doncaster Mustangs – Division 1 North
Colchester Gladiators @ Ipswich Cardinals – Division 1 South
East Kent Mavericks @ Sussex Thunder – Division 1 South
Lincolnshire Bombers @ Chester Romans – Division 2 Central
Lancashire Wolverines @ Sheffield Predators – Division 2 Central
Milton Keynes Pathfinders @ Bedfordshire Blue Raiders – Division 2 East
Kent Exiles @ Watford Cheetahs – Division 2 East
Carlisle Border Reivers @ Edinburgh Wolves – Division 2 North
Dundee Hurricanes @ West Coast Trojans – Division 2 North
Bristol Apache @ Berkshire Renegades – Division 2 West
London Blitz @ Bristol Aztecs – Premiership

Bafanl week 17 review

With the new bafanl website having issues at the moment. I felt I would publish this week’s review on my site and the old bafacl site.

One of the weekends biggest results saw Glasgow knock the Clyde Valley Blackhawks from the playoff picture and in doing so they completed a double over the Blackhawks that should now see Glasgow finishing third in Division 2 North. The Tigers made the most of home turf to put in a great 30-6 result. Over in Shropshire, Revolution finalised their qualification with a convincing 49-6 win against Staffordshire. Meanwhile Essex won their closing game of the season against Maidstone to stay 8th in Division 2 and also gain a playoff position despite the two teams ahead having not yet reached that milestone.

In Division 1 the London Olympians finished the regular season in the manner they have fought the whole year taking a victory against the Hampshire Thrashers to finish with a perfect 10-0 record that gives them top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With the Britbowl also being played on home turf they can look forward to a great opportunity in the post season. Elsewhere in the South the Ipswich Cardinals did what they needed to do to keep their playoff hopes alive with a close and exciting game against Sussex Thunder. Ipswich entered the game knowing anything less than victory would remove their playoff dreams and did just that with a 13-10 scoreline on home soil. Their season now comes down to next weekend when they face the Colchester Gladiators, the team who gave them their opening game tie.

That win would still not guarantee them a playoff spot though, their fate rests in the hands of the Birmingham Bulls assuming Sussex win as expected at home next weekend. The Bulls gained a place in the postseason last weekend beating the Nottingham Caesars. If they do so again in the final week and Ipswich win then it will be the Cardinals and not the Caesars in the playoffs.

The Cambridgeshire Cats are the other team hanging on in Division 1. With victory over Oxford on Sunday they need both the Caesars and the Cardinals to lose to make the postseason while also being required to defeat Division leaders the Leicester Falcons.

A close match between the Doncaster Mustangs and the Yorkshire Rams saw the Mustangs come out on top as they have so many times this year to claim their own playoff spot. The Rams and Mustangs are very closely matched, their first leg game finished in the Rams favour by a single point. This time it finished 36-26, while the result puts Yorkshire on the back foot they are expected to make the playoffs.

In premier the playoff teams can now be finalised after Farnham lost to the London Warriors. The seeds may change but it appears that the London Blitz will gain 1st seed with the Warriors 2nd, Tamworth 3rd and Bristol 4th. If that is the case then next weekends game which sees the Blitz heading to Bristol will be a semi-final preview.

We now have five teams guaranteed the playoffs in Division 1 and six in Division 2. Both now have 2 teams fighting to break into the final spots too. In Division 1 Nottingham are the team closest to the edge with Ipswich most likely to capitalise if they fall. In Division 2 it seems Dundee are most likely to drop out as they face leaders the West Coast Trojans next week with Milton Keynes favourites to pounce.

It all builds up to an exciting final two weeks of regular season football.

Oh and I will be at the Thunder game this weekend as my local boys East Kent take on my home town team Sussex Thunder. Hmm which should I be loyal to?

Amateur Sports – BAFACL

I am now the news editor for the British American Football Association Community League website. This has led me to research all of the teams in the leagues at present. In 2010 we had 51 senior teams 25 youth teams and 16 junior teams. I would say of those about half have websites. Of those very very few have the dates for the 2011 season on their websites so far, the season kicks off in a month and as far as I know the schedule was sorted a month ago.

A lot of the websites seem not aimed at those who might come to watch them but at people who may want to take part. While this is fine due to the relatively low popularity of the British game I feel they are missing out on the opportunity to get more people interested by not having this basic information available. As an NFL fan my first thought may well be “oo I want to try being a quarterback” and so you search to find your nearest club. My personal next step would be, I want to watch them play to see what it is like. To do this I would need to know when the team is next playing and where to go. Having seen a game I might then go “this isn’t for me” or “I’d like to give this a go”. Not knowing when the games are taking place rather hampers this for me as it demands additional research and so on.

As the league owners I’m sure there is more BAFACL can do and I will be suggesting this in the coming weeks/months to the others working on the site but there is a lot that the teams should be doing to help encourage people to come and watch their games as well.

For the record of the sites I have currently spent a reasonable amount of time on the Sussex Thunder team website – which just happens to play its games in Horsham (my home town) – seems to be by far the best at displaying the relevant information. If you think your team’s site is better, let me know. If any teams want help/suggestions with their websites then also let me know.

If on the other hand you have found this blog post by searching for a team’s fixtures they can be found here (as of today)