The American Trail Running Association (ATRA) enters the current technology decade with its newly designed website, www.trailrunner.com.
Recrafting the site for a relaunch was the largest initiative undertaken by ATRA in 2014. With the support of ATRA’s board of directors, ATRA’s online marketing director Richard Bolt enlisted the Portland, Oregon-based 33 Degrees Design Studio and its principle, Ted Marshall, to conduct the redesign.
Says Bolt, “Designing a new website is pretty easy these days but the new trailrunner.com is more than just a cosmetic refresh. We had to build the new site on an entirely new and future-proof platform as well as migrate to a new web host. And, we had 20 years of event data to format and rationalize so it’s useful for our site visitors.”
ATRA has been tracking trail races and collecting data on events since 1996, the year the nonprofit was formed. That comprehensive event calendar boasts more than 6,000 entries including many races whose contact may have not kept the event data current with ATRA. On the new website, visitors can use the event database to find historical events and hopefully be inspired to bring them back to life.
“We’re really excited to provide even more information about all the events in our trail race calendar,” says Bolt. “On the new site each race will have its own webpage with photos, maps, social media links, historical information, course records and more.”
And the event data alone was the most challenging aspect of the site, according to Marshall. “Determining how to integrate ATRA’s massive event catalogue into the website database posed many challenges and proved to be the most interesting aspect of the project,” he said. “We had to explore the process by which the event catalogue would be updated, along with the software and database integration that needed to be established for this to be a seamless process. The result is an integrated system that ingests and displays the event catalogue and allows others to submit new events with ease.”
In addition to the calendar, there are new components to the site. “Your new trailrunner.com experience will include more than just an event list,” explained Bolt, “There are entirely new sections like Trail News, Partnerships and meet our Board of Directors. Our Trail News section will contain original stories, race reports, equipment reviews and more. In building the new site we really wanted to inspire our users as well as provide useful information.”
To that end, the new site contains many, many more trail running images including large, bold, full-screen photos on ATRA’s most visited pages. Through a partnership with several well- known trail running photographers, ATRA is able to showcase epic trail running imagery from around the U.S.
One of the goals of the new site was to address the changing technology. According to Bolt, “Our old site was simple and effective but only useful on a laptop or desktop computer. The new site is fully mobile ready so you can look up events and read articles on the go with your favorite Smartphone or tablet.”
Adds Marshall, “ATRA’s commitment to bring their event catalog and trail news content to mobile devices resonated with me. I focus on developing websites for mobile devices, such as Smartphones and tablets, which made working with ATRA a natural fit. By providing an optimized viewing experience on all devices including Smartphones, tablets, and computers, gives ATRA a platform to expand their reach to more people now and into the future.”
“In total, it’s been a seven- month process and we’re pretty proud of the result,” said Bolt. “We hope this one-stop shop for trail races will become your favorite place to find news about the sport we all love.”
Asked to provide the user friendliness on a scale of one to ten with one being easiest, Bolt says, “We hope it’s a solid ‘1,’ but launching any new website invariably brings up unanticipated issues. We welcome any and all feedback from our trail running friends so that we can make the new trailrunner.com even better and more useful.
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Want to submit your trail running event? Fill our our event submission form.