It can be a challenge to build a new website for one of Jacksonville’s largest and most beloved signature events. It’s even more of a challenge to go from research, content planning and copywriting to design, development and launch within a condensed timeline. But our creative team loves a challenge – and our digital director, Jack loves the Gators – so they were truly excited when we were called on by the City of Jacksonville to build the new Florida-Georgia website.
With the game in our rearview, we know that over 84,000 fans turned out to cheer their team on, and nearly 20,000 of them discovered the new website throughout the weekend to search events, research transit and parking, explore the history of the rivalry, and keep tabs on the score. Our full team (special mention for one Mr. Jack Twachtman, our amazing content strategist) contributed to the launch, but I asked two of the project’s key players – Grant Nielsen and Jack DeYoung – to share a few of their thoughts and give our readers a sense of what went into this build.
What did it mean to you personally to play a key role in creating a new website for one of Jacksonville’s largest annual events?
Jack: I grew up in Gainesville, Florida and I lived and died by the success of the Florida Gators. As a result, I was both ecstatic and terrified to be tasked with writing the copy for the Georgia-Florida website. I was very aware of what this game means to people and I wanted to get it right.
Grant: It was very rewarding to continue our work with the City of Jacksonville on new a project that draws this much attention. To have a hand in the continued growth and betterment of a storied event in my city made it mean that much more.
Other than the condensed timeline, what was your biggest challenge on this build?
Jack: The biggest challenge was combining the grandiose tone befitting an event of this magnitude while still conveying important logistical details. The City of Jacksonville provided a great deal of information, so a lot of our work was contextualizing and organizing all of the details.
Grant: The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to convey not only the scope but the variety of the weekend’s activities. It was important to present Florida-Georgia as “an event for everyone” while using our digital team’s research to prioritize loads of content and present an efficient, impactful user experience.
Overall, were you pleased with the final product?
Jack: We’re all proud of a finished product that captures the essence of the game and provided the fans with all the information they needed on gameday.
Grant: I really love the final product, and I think our larger team was proud of what we were able to produce. For a larger site, it’s very easy to navigate and responds well on all devices.
If anything, what do you see yourself doing differently for the 2017 website?
Jack: If I have to write copy during another category 3 hurricane, then I’ll leave town to do it. Freaked out cats and falling trees don’t exactly make for an environment conducive to writing website copy.
Grant: Over the last few years, we’ve really seen mobile usage start to dominate site traffic. I would like to reapproach in 2017 with a ‘mobile-first’ mentality to further improve user experience.
It’s reasonably safe to assume that Jack will work cats into the conversation whenever possible, and Grant will always be working toward mobile-first, but that’s it for Florida-Georgia 2016! We hope you enjoyed the weekend and found the website to be helpful and user-friendly. We look forward to revisiting this one in 2017 when we work on another win for the City of Jacksonville and this amazing college football tradition.
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