Eventing at NC State Website
Eventing is a horse sport that can be most similarly referenced to as a triathlon for horse and rider. It is a form of English riding, and the pair competes in three disciplines – dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country. The Eventing Team at NC State was formed over the summer of 2016 by Sarah Davidson, Matt Jenkins, and Ashley Hall. I joined the team during its start that summer and ultimately started running the team, promoting fundraisers, planning team bonding activities and meetings, and taking over the design of the website and social media that October. I was elected as vice president and social media chair for spring 2017, and was president and website media during the 2017-2018 school year, followed by social media chair in fall 2018.
When I took over the website, one of the founders had gotten it started in a way that was simple and said what it needed to, but did not convey what the team was about on a professional level. My job was to take it to that level, and to push our teams to one of the most known out there, if not by roster, then by design of our media.
I began researching other equine-based websites, especially other collegiate equestrian teams. The United States Eventing Association’s website has a page dedicated to all the eventing collegiate teams, including their team websites if they had them, and I used this resource to my full advantage. From each website, I went through all their pages and figured out what I felt did or did not work, making lists as I went, and did unofficial user testing of their sites with other members from my team, to determine what they did and did not like and what was easy to use as well. At the time, I didn’t know the terms “User Experience/User Interface Design”, nor the importance of user testing.
From there, I began implementing the different aspects of the websites that were repeatedly brought up in a positive way, and were easy to use organizationally. Our team had reached out to a graphic designer by that point as well, and we now had an official logo we could include on all media and gear, which was exciting. Part of the creation of the website, beyond just looks and college colors, was making the roster as appealing and useful as it could be. I knew that potential undergrads and team members would be looking at this website so I wanted it to be professional yet friendly, allowing for a community of riders that could get to know each other. I interviewed each of our current members to get member bios going, and in doing so found my leadership skills improving as I got to know each and every one of them and their needs and backgrounds.
To go with the bios and the idea that we want potential members to know our team is like a community, or a family, I took my camera with me wherever we went and photographed our different events, accomplishments, competitions, and trainings. This allowed for our website to have a heavy photo presence which we noticed the other websites we had used for reference were lacking. Finally, after a couple months of putting everything together, our website had a general layout, theme, and look. I updated it for four years, and it is now under use of the current Eventing at NC State team.