In a move designed to improve efficiency and reduce frustration for users, NCAA.org and NCAAConnect have been merged into one site. The new NCAA.org features better navigation and improved search. The improvements also eliminate the need to segregate membership-directed materials to a separate, password-protected side of the website. Everything members need to conduct their business is available via this one site. While some familiar options — such as the NCAAConnect e-mail update — will temporarily function differently as new features are fully developed, the changes are a necessary part of a strategic initiative to better meet the needs of the NCAA’s various audiences.
“We’ve been working on this change for some time now,” said Dana Thomas, director of web communication. “We knew we needed to improve the site. So, we did our homework and came up with a plan that we think will make ncaa.org more visually appealing and easier to use for all of our audiences."
“We’re excited about where we are going and believe our users will like what they see.”
The new site brings about some big changes and some small ones – here are the most important:
- The new NCAA.org combines the formerly public and password-protected sides (NCAAConnect) of the Website into one site that does not require a login. The single-source login will still be used to access applications (LSDBI, RSRO, etc). Users can access these applictions by clicking on My Apps in the menu bar.
- The site is designed with a membership viewpoint in mind, so that content is organized either by each division. To address prospective and current student-athlete needs, the site provides a new entry point for them (Student-Athltes) that directs visitors to information on playing college sports, maintaining eligibility, and scholarship and leadership opportunities.
- The merge brings together relevant pages and other content currently on the public side and NCAAConnect in a way that provides better navigation and easier search functions.
Learning to Navigate
As you look from left to right, you will notice that the navigation moves from a basic level of information to an expert one.
- The About Us section is written for the general public who want a better understanding of the NCAA.
- The student-athletes section will provide information for prospective student-athletes and parents and will also explain what makes being a NCAA student-athlete so great.
- The Division I, II and III sections are where colleges, universities and conferences in those divisions will find information, various forms and relevant items to conduct business.
- And finally, the My Apps link will take members to single-source sign-on where they will continue to access NCAA applications like LSDBi, RSRO, and reporting functions where they always have found them online.
Why are we creating a new NCAA.org?
With NCAA.org and NCAAConnect, we were trying to serve the public and the membership with different platforms. In doing so, we ended up doing a disservice to both. This reboot addresses many of the problems about which our customers on both sides of the divide have been rightfully complaining.
Does the new website function better?
Absolutely. We understand that the NCAAConnect password function made it difficult for membership and the national office staff to get business done. On top of that, the navigation was confusing and the search function was almost useless. We knew these were areas that needed to be overhauled. With the merge, we’ll continue to use a single-source login to access applications such as LSDBI, RSRO and others. The new CMS improves the search function dramatically and the navigation is based upon research and membership feedback. These changes alone should make the new site much better for everyone who uses it.
Will the website change again?
Slightly. Right now, the new website is being rolled out in two phases, focusing first on function, then on form. This is the launch of Phase 1, or function phase, that focuses on ensuring that all previous website content is migrated and accessible on the new site. Phase 2 will launch in the summer of 2014 and will focus on additional site design and features.
How will members find relevant content on the new website?
The new website is organized in a way that connects more closely to our members, rather than be organized as a national office site. Members coming to the site will find content organized by divisions and content related to student-athletes’ needs. Content is further organized by relevant categories, such as governance, championships or health and safety. This makes browsing the site to find content more logical and simplistic. In addition, an improved search feature makes finding specific pieces of content easier.
Will users have a chance to provide feedback on the new website?
Yes! This is a big and important step. We need everyone's input to make sure we get it right. The new website will be on display near the NCAA Convention registration for membership to provide additional feedback. Stop by and see us in San Diego!
If I have trouble finding content on the site, who should I contact?
Send a note of what you are seeking to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will promptly assist you.