Each recreation center has a website trying to attract students away from their competition. Establishing a stand-out website is really no different than designing a product. It’s about meeting a customer need, creating thoughtful designs and providing excellent value. Your website is going to stand out if you can meet the needs on all these different levels.
Jeff Hunt, director of campus recreation at the University of Maine, explained how standing out was the main goal for their university’s website. They understood how many students would be looking to their site when making a decision on which school they will attend, and they wanted to make it unique for their audience.
“The main purpose is to make information about our facility and services easy to find and to stand out as a unique University of Maine resource,” said Hunt. “We want to stand out as an attraction to potential students.”
One main way University of Maine recreation center’s website stands out is through their online sign-up options. Their WebTrac program can be used to renew most membership types and lockers, enroll in activities, reserve a racquetball court, pay off balances due, check your visit history, view the transaction history on your account and much more. Having this option online makes it a much quicker process for the members.
“We wanted to have online registration as a way to lower the barriers for folks,” said Hunt. “We are all now used to online purchases, it is now an expectation. Registration for our programs increased with online capacity.”
Using your website and visualizing what a first-time visitor would notice is a good place to start when aiming to make your website more user-friendly, according to Hunt. He also noted the importance of sticking to your main goals you have for the site and trying not to stray from those. “We run from a university marketing template, but we emphasize three main items: the visuals, ease of navigation and availability to print schedules of classes.”
Your website is an extension of your brand. You wouldn’t want to send a bad representation of your rec center out into the world, so keeping your website design in mind is key. Your site plays a major role in how your brand is perceived so giving it a little extra thought it worth the time and effort to ensure your viewers get what they deserve.