Athletic webpage receives makeover

By Timothy Bladel – Staff Writer

With a constantly evolving Internet, web sites must stay updated in all the major web innovations. St. Ambrose University’s sports page now has a slicker look that feels less stagnant.

St. Ambrose University sports information director Brian Thiessen says that the SAU sports web page was long overdue for a transformation.

“This is my sixth year as sports information director, and it [the site] hasn’t changed much at all since I’ve been here,” he said. “Things move so quickly these days, so you need to keep things fresh.”

When asked who the site is targeted to, Thiessen made it clear they didn’t leave anyone out.

“We hit all the groups,” Thiessen said. “We hit the parents, the student athletes, the high school and junior college potential recruits, the alumni. You never know who will be looking at it.”

SAU’s new sports page has a modern, decked-out-in blue look with some of the trappings one may expect from a collegiate sports page.

The first thing visitors will likely notice is the “Fighting Bees” header. The new site has rotating news headlines with large corresponding photographs. One of the latest headlines read, “Deal named MCC Player of the Week after hitting game winner vs. Grand View.”

Visitors of the site can find recent headlines, news archive, recent scores and upcoming games clearly marked with links and sidebars. Game Central is where visitors can watch or listen to live games and get updated statistics. There’s even a link for the SAU Hall of Fame page.

Thiessen does most of the content updates, along with work study and grad assistants who send him content such as photographs and story ideas. Dan Tomlin does the cross country and track content.

“We update constantly,” Thiessen said “That’s probably my biggest job here, whether it’s a score or something else to update.”

The old SAU sports page was hosted by the university. The developer of the new site, SIDHelp, also now hosts the site for the university.

“They do a lot of NAIA websites, they do everybody in our conference, the Midwest Collegiate Conference,” Thiessen said.

Director of online strategy and web applications, Adam Bickle, had a lot of input on the site’s design. SIDHelp’s customizable browser application allows Thiessen to place additional content whenever needed.

“We just added social media links for each team, Facebook and Twitter,” Thiessen said “We’re hoping to do more with social media. We are eventually going to do a featured athlete (section). And KALA and SAUtv do a lot of the broadcasting.”

It’s not always easy to define success for collegiate sports sites. Thiessen wants people to find the site easy to use, and that past rosters, records and statistics need to be readily available for anyone who wants it.

SIDHelp’s web interface is making it easier to accomplish this.

“I can update scores from my phone now,” Thiessen said. “I can be home or anywhere to update the content.  Before I needed a web editing software. It’s just so much easier because I don’t have to be in front of a certain computer.”

Thiessen is clearly excited about what the site means for SAU sports. In a time when web pages consistently become stale, having the power to change things will keep the site looking new.

“It was just time for a fresh look,” Thiessen said.

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