Good afternoon Falcon faithful. As Drew mentioned in his post the other day, the website you’ve all come to know and love has undergone a facelift of sorts over the summer. Ever since we started the website back just before the playoffs of the 2012-2013 season, Drew and I knew that we wanted a clean looking site that featured great content that included good writing, good action photos, and some #HotTakes on Falcon hockey. I’m proud to say that I think we’ve delivered on those things, and then some.
As we start our third full season running the site, I’d like to point out some of the features of the new site.
- Looks – We didn’t necessarily hate the way our site looked the last two seasons, but the code it was running on was outdated and starting to show its age. With that in mind, we spruced up the front page with a near-full-screen photo of something BGSU Hockey related. We’ve also paired down the menu options with more targeted and specific options for the readers. Menu options that make sense.
- Speed – This should probably be number one on this list, but my biggest priority in the site redesign was speed. How long do you have to wait for content to load after you type www.bgsuhockey.com into your web browser? Before, that wait was both noticeable and bothersome for me, so I assume that the rest of you felt the same way. The old website was just too slow. This season, we’ve moved from a typical shared hosting setup to a cloud-based virtual private server (VPS) setup. This has netted us significant gains in terms of speed and website responsiveness. I wanted you all to have speedy and reliable access to the great content Drew, Kevin and Ryan are creating (and have created). For the tech nerds out there, I’ve attached two screenshots showing a load test of 1000 users over a 60 second period. The old site returned 13 successful hits, 3 errors and 1,112 timeouts in a minute with an average response time of 9 seconds. That means users had to wait around 9 seconds for a page to load on the old site.
A load test on the current site yields 14,131 successful hits, 0 errors and 0 timeouts in a minute with an average response time of 43 milliseconds. That’s 108,600% (thats not a typo) increase in the number of successful hits and more than a 20,000% increase in responsiveness. We hope that you can see the real world effects of our new setup. I’m pretty happy with the results.
- Mobile Device Friendly – The new site is fully responsive and works great on all sorts of portable devices: android phones and tablets, iOS phones and tablets and other small screen devices. Usability for mobile users was a key aspect of our redesign, and we feel that the new site achieves this goal.
- Sortable Photo Galleries – I’m “just a photographer,” so I care about how my photos look on the site. The old site never had a really easy way to see all photo galleries in one spot. With the new site, you can find all photo galleries in one spot. And the photo galleries are sortable by opponent, letting you pick exactly which gallery you want.
- Important Information Up Front – On the homepage, you’ll find a poll tracker, who’s up next to play, and our social media accounts. Our game recaps will also include a more full-featured stats interface and an easier to follow layout.
We actually have a lot more planned for the site as the season rolls on. We are updating our roster page to include player pages that will pull together all of their stories and photos about that player on one page. I’m planning on uploading previous seasons of my hockey photos back to the 2009-2010 season. We are looking to increase our video presence this year by streaming all post-game press conferences and some on-ice warmups on Periscope.
UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot about our new community page we are developing. We are putting together a one-stop shop with links to all things related to Falcon hockey. Pertinent social media accounts, websites and other sources for Falcon hockey info. This should be up in a week or so.
Do you have some suggestions or feedback for the site? If so, please feel free to email me or Drew or Kevin if you want to give us feedback or suggestions privately, or use the comments section below.
I’m probably forgetting more stuff, but that’s the long and the short of it. Drew may be able to chime in with more cool stuff, but for now, stay tuned. Here’s to a great 2015-2016 season.