Consistent design matters

Every so often, a tournament looking to join the TourneyCentral family calls up and says something along the lines of:

We’re a very different tournament and we wany you to design a totally different web site for us. We want to look and act different than everyone else in your calendar.

When pressed, they admit that:

  • They have soccer teams apply
  • They accept soccer teams to play
  • They schedule two soccer teams against each other to play in a match to see who is the winner
  • They keep score to see who advances to take a trophy
  • They accept advertising and sponsorship
  • They are basically running a soccer tournament where they need to get large numbers of players, parents, coaches and fans to a field at a particular date and time.

So, I ask, what sort of “different” did you need? Well, we just want a different LOOK, we want menu choices to be different, we want to do our own thing.

But the irony of the matter is your guest teams don’t want you to do your own thing. They want to know how to read about your soccer tournament, they want to know how to apply easily, they want to know where the schedule is posted, they want to know how to find the scores. In short, they want to know, not guess.

Recently, I ran across this blog post that explains the whole point rather nicely. In short, a hotel decided that they wanted to be different and were going to design their hotel room card keys with the branding DOWN and the swipe strip UP. Anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel knows that the strip goes down, you look for the little arrow and insert the card with the arrow pointing toward the door. Because this has been standardized, if it doesn’t work that way, you would think it is broken, just like the author did. Valuable time and hotel resources were wasted on a customer who didn’t “understand” the hotel difference. I suspect that there was more than one confused customer on every night the hotel entertained guests.

Our Advice: Different is good, but focus different on where it makes the most sense for a soccer tournament; on your competition, your game format, the helpfulness of your staff, a high level of guest service, great pairings, etc. Different with your web site only adds to confusion and increases your tournament costs and, in some instances, drives a team away. If you hide the front door, how do you expect a team to enter?

A system like TourneyCentral has been “battle-tested” and gives teams a level of comfort that they are entering a well-managed soccer tournament. When they see that top graphic, top menu, side bar and look and feel of a “TourneyCentral” site, they know immediately they are in good hands. (a word of caution, we have developed such a solid brand over the past ten years that many events are copying our look and feel… look for the Powered By seal at the bottom)

We continue to change and add new features to make your event stand out, but we do it in subtle ways to keep that high level of comfort and trust your guest teams have with your event.

Be different, but not weird. Different is good; weird just costs your soccer tournament time, money and teams.

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