In 2014, Rogers assumed control of the direction and implementation of the GameCentre LIVE product, the live video streaming service for National Hockey League (NHL) games in Canada and the United States. In our second year, we were looking iterate on the features of the NHL mobile app, and to revamp the website for GameCentre LIVE in a number of ways:
- Implement a new, simplified website layout to explain the product’s features and pricing options
- Convert the site to the WordPress content management system, allowing all text displayed on all pages to be editable by GameCentre LIVE staff when copy changes are required
- Improve the usability of the product by introducing a Schedule page with direct links to begin watching games, including a Game Of The Day highlight feature
- Add a Support section that was highly flexible in the content that could be placed within it, with a search feature to allow customers to quickly find answers to their questions
Despite managing one of the largest teams of WordPress developers in North America, I try to not automatically jump to the assumption of WordPress being the best choice to be the basis of a new website. Initially, we considered use of Webhook and other similar static page generators, but our more complex site requirements (single sign-on with NHL.com, data retrieval from the Sportsnet Stats API) nixed that.
Ultimately, we made the decision to go with building a WordPress site where all page content right down to section heads and button text could be modified in the site’s backend. Use of WordPress also allowed us to use top-notch plug-ins such as Polylang, Redirection and Yoast SEO, which all come together as extremely user-friendly tools to allow non-technical staff to efficiently administrate to the website.
I led the technical architecture of the website, bringing in Eric Parlier on contract as lead developer, Brian Skene as design lead and Godwine Lee doing QA duties for the site. The site was launched successfully and on time, and has quickly became what we were hoping it would be: More than just marketing materials for the product, but actually also the primary method for how users of the product find live games and replays to watch, simplifying that process for a great many people.