Over the next several months, C2C will be making significant changes to its public site, including existing school websites.
Since day one, we've wanted to provide schools with a public-facing website that students, parents, and fans would find useful. For years, however, we've received user feedback telling us that we've missed the mark. Our public facing website has a number of problems that make it sub-optimal and only a handful of our 2,000+ schools use or promote their C2C website. The current C2C school sites are difficult to manage, easy to misconfigure, not compatible with mobile devices, and the design is outdated, at best.
We've made efforts, several times in the past few years, to correct some of those problems and enhance the public user experience. However, those efforts did not succeed because we have not been able to find an approach that simultaneously improves all school websites without more-or-less destroying the customizations that some schools have made. Because we allowed schools to build their own content, we've found ourselves "locked in" to the existing system and unable to make significant improvements.
Following at least a dozen meetings on the topic, we've concluded that the only way we'll be able to improve our public-facing site is to start fresh and rebuild the public system from the ground up. The decision to do so was not an easy one, as we fully recognize that some schools have put in a lot of time and effort on their existing C2C Schools websites, and starting over will surely mean that most (or all) of their work will be lost. To make up for it, we'll be working very hard to ensure that the new system provides users with a better experience and features that improve their lives.
Another reason our previous efforts to improve the public portions of our site have failed is that we've tried to do too much at once. Building feature rich websites for thousands of schools in one go, we've found, is an incredibly difficult endeavor. Our last attempt stretched 18 months and in that time the back-end system had so many changes that our public effort ground to a halt and was not able to progress. So, this time around we plan to use a more iterative approach, starting small and adding individual features, one-by-one over time.
- C2C will be taking down all public school sites within the next 1-3 months while a new public website system is created.
- The new system will be minimal at the time of launch; what we call a MVP ("Minimum Viable Product").
- New features will be added to the new public site system over time and through multiple iterations.
Besides making the effort more manageable for our developers by breaking the massive project into smaller parts, using an MVP and iterative methodology will allow us to gather feedback at each stage. This will (hopefully) ensure that we do not waste much time developing features that users are not interested in or adding functionality that users do not want. In light of that, we're not planning beyond the short-to-mid-term and the full feature set will be realized as the project matures. However, we have established a few of the major goals for the improvements ...
- The new public system should be 100% compatible with all mainstream mobile devices.
- The new sites should be universally attractive and easy to use.
- The new sites should include functionality that brings athletes and parents into the C2C workflow.
- The new public system should have fewer customization options, to reduce complexity and to avoid future "lock in".
- New "widgets" should be developed to allow C2C content to be placed on external school websites.
Additional details will be forthcoming; new information will be added to this article as it is resolved.
Please feel free to add comments, below, or open a support ticket to join the conversation. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated!
VP & CTO
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