In my Senior Capstone project, I will be redesigning the website of the official website of the Navy Day Regatta. The Navy Day Regatta is a rowing regatta hosted by the men’s and women’s rowing teams at Saint Joseph’s University every October, usually on the second Saturday in October. The regatta attracts hundreds of clubs and thousands of athletes, and it consists of time trial racing, or head racing. The aesthetic of the regatta website has not been updated since 2014 or 2015, and the layout and design of the website shows its age.

Updating the design, aesthetic and layout of the Navy Day website is a worthwhile endeavor because the regatta is a significant source of revenue every year for both rowing teams at Saint Joseph’s, and having a more modern website that is not only easier to use, but nicer to look at as well could help contribute to one of the more important events the teams run.

As a member of the men’s rowing team at St. Joe’s, this project grabs my interest because it is an opportunity to combine my academic studies throughout my time on campus with my role as a student athlete for this school. The coaching staff have wanted to update the website for a couple of years, but have not had anybody on the team with the necessary skill set to do so. Both myself and my coaches saw the opportunity to finally revamp the Navy Day website present itself, and it will not only benefit me in the sense that I will get to put the things I’ve learned to use, but it is a chance to give back to a program that has given me so much. 

In addition to the personal connection I have to this project, it could help with my professional goals as well. I would like to enter the profession of sports information, particularly in collegiate athletics. A not insignificant part of that job is managing website information and layout, which I have already begun doing for Athletics Communications. Completing this project would show that I can not only manage information on a website accurately for an organization, but I can help tweak and tune up aesthetics if needed.

My vision for the Navy Day website is a sleek, simple design that allows coaches, competitors, and parents alike to be able to access all the information they need, including regatta rules and registration, directions, parking, results, and more. A simple experience is sometimes the best experience, especially when it comes to registering for, finding, and logistics for a medium sized regatta like Navy Day. The current website has five different tabs aside from the home page, and some of them are cluttered and contain information that can be condensed. 

Two examples that I have in mind are the websites of the Head of the Hooch Regatta and the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA).

These two websites have great designs that are modern, appealing, and contain a lot of information without cluttering up the home page. I intend to mimic the simplicity of these websites, as it would clear up the mid 2010s blog look of the current Navy Day website. The regatta does not have a whole lot of sponsors that I am aware of, so the sponsor page will be absent.

 I like the resources page from the ACRA site, and feel like a lot of the map stuff on the Navy Day site would benefit from a page like this. I like the way  the Head of the Hooch site has all of the tabs at the top, but the most important ones below the big picture in the middle of the page. 

Ultimately, my vision combines elements of the two sites and is a unique blend of the two.

My prior experience in web design comes in designing my own website in the Web Design class I took last fall. I thought that if I had fleshed the website out more after the course, I could have done a lot more with it. The design of my website is sort of like a beta version of what I would like the new Navy Day design to look like. Obviously it would be a more advanced design, but the foundation and design vision are there.

Image of portfolio website from web design class

The current project would be similar in design in the sense of the layout and the boxes, but there would likely be pictures with text on them on the new site instead. 

The new design would be a challenge for me because it would be a significant step up in quality of design compared to my Web Design project, but since there is much more on the line than an html project, I think I will be able to get the job done.

Redesigning the Navy Day website would implement a large portion of the skills and concepts that I have learned through the Communications department by showcasing the design, web design, inclusivity, accessibility, and other things I have learned along the way. I would use Canva to play around with color schemes and such, as well as the basic knowledge that I have of a DSLR camera to potentially take photos used for the website.

In order to complete this project to the best possible standard, I think getting a couple of photos of some races that I’m not participating in to use on the website would be ideal. All things considered, my DSLR skills are underdeveloped for a four year Communications major. I have focused a lot of my time on the writing aspect of my journalism tasks, rather than photos. 

However, I am taking a Photojournalism class this semester with Dr. Bhayroo from the English department, and I am essentially relearning the basics of the DSLR, and eventually learning how to shoot action shots in sports. I think that doing research on different camera functions and lenses to shoot the ideal photos needed for the website would benefit my project. 

A potential obstacle I could encounter during my project could be if my coach wants something done a different way than I’m doing it, but I think that he trusts me enough to let me do as much of the work uninterrupted as possible, since nobody on our team aside from me has the ability to redesign the website.

A general timeline of the project this semester would look like this:

Weeks 4 & 5 – Final research, color scheme choice, and content plans: 

This phase would involve doing more research on websites I’d like to model mine after and find out what works, what doesn’t work for the Navy Day Website. This phase would also involve the choice of a color scheme for the site. This faze would also involve confirming with the coaching staff what exactly they want on the website in terms of content. I would also create a sketch of what I want the pages to look like.

Weeks 6 & 7 – Lay the foundation for the website: 

These weeks would be when I start creating the website itself. This stage would involve me laying out the basics structure of the website, setting up each page I would want on the website as a whole.

Weeks 8-12 – Putting content where it belongs and shooting photos to use for the website:

This stretch of roughly a month would be when a bulk of the content work for the website gets done. I would put together all of the pages, format the home page so it’s simple and easy to navigate, and shoot some photos from different spots and angles along and above the river to use for the website.

This stage would also include finalizing all the things needed in terms of accessibility for the website.

Weeks 13-14 – Implement final design choices/color schemes/pictures:

At this point in the project, the last thing left to do would be to implement the last of the visual design aspects. These would include any final pictures, aesthetic changes, or any other design changes.

Week 15 – Final preparations:

By this stage, the website should be just about complete. The week before the presentation would account for any minor things that need to be changed.