ACC Website Gets Much Needed Redesign

The Atlantic Coast Conference Website has a whole new look after last week’s relaunch of theACC.com. The site, which is part of the CBS College Sports Network, was in dire need of a makeover, since it had not undergone a redesign since 2006.

“The site as a whole really needed to be a bit more modern, upbeat, fresher, just something that was more with the times,” says Heather Hirschman, Website coordinator for theACC.com. “There are also some new capabilities that allow us to implement and utilize our video in better ways.”

The new site features an enlarged video player and expects to gradually increase its amount of ACC video content available on the site. TheACC.com now uses CBS College Sports Network’s SilverLight player to run its primary new video, in addition to the Adobe Flash Player that it still uses for its Video Vault content. The relaunch also enables videos to be embedded directly into the rotating alerts gallery on the main page, which allows viewers to find and watch video right from the main page without having to navigate to a separate section.

CBS College Sports Network is also working with Hirschman and company on further incorporating SilverLight. The eventual goal, Hirschman says, is for theACC.com to resemble what CBS has done with the NCAA’s video site at NCAA.com/video.

“The key is making video a more integral part of the site,” he notes. “When we have appropriate video, we will be able to embed that into the rotating photo gallery on the main page so fans can watch it right from there. We’re trying to incorporate the SilverLight player more and more in order to do that. We want people to see video instantly when they visit our site and then stay to watch more.”

Hirschman offers the recent ACC Swimming and Diving Championships as an example of the new site’s expanded capabilities. The event, which runs Feb. 17-27 at the University of North Carolina, is being streamed live along with expert analysis on theACC.com through CBS College Sports. Highlights and features from these competitions will then be produced by the ACC video staff and put up on the main page.

“Right now, our video is a bit limited because we don’t have a whole lot of appropriate video content, but events like [the swimming and diving championship] give us a chance to feature some great video on the site,” says Hirschman. “We’re really going to start taking advantage of [the new video capabilities] over the next couple weeks.”

In addition, the new site features a pair of downloadable tools: the ACC Toolbar from FreeCause and a new desktop communicator from NewTier. Both tools link fans to the improved GameTracker, the expanded ACC Video Vault, the ACC’s e-mail newsletters, the ACC Store, and direct links to the conference’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.

“We’ve really tried to streamline things,” says Hirschman. “There’s always been a bit of a learning curve for fans to learn where everything is, but we’re just always looking for new ways to tie our fans into the site.”