The Miracle League of Manasota

GravityFree

Written by GravityFree
on Friday, February 3rd, 2017
in Case Studies

Field of Dreams

Founded in 2012, the Miracle League’s Sarasota chapter delights in sharing the power of organized sport with handicapped all-stars throughout the Manasota region. Regardless of their physical or mental challenge, each player is given the chance to step up to the plate, crush the ball and run the bases. It’s a big day for all involved: volunteers, friends, family and spectators, not to mention a great memory for the athletes themselves. No shortage of smiles in these dugouts!

GravityFree has been a proud associate since the league’s inception, producing a pair of information-driven websites in that time and providing the organization with a firm, active online identity. We count the most recent redesign among our favorites, boosting the league’s image to new heights while providing an exceptionally easy path to crucial information.

A Vibrant Identity at Play

One of the most striking aspects of the greater Miracle League is their jubilant, energetic logo. It’s a wonderful match for the boundlessly optimistic spirit at play on the field, and translating that emotion to the screen is vital to the organization’s character. Bearing that in mind, we were careful to carry over the unexpected combination of purple, orange and blue seen in the logo. To maintain a sense of clarity and legibility, we emphasized a soft shade of purple above the others, but look closely enough and you’ll see dots and dashes of the other shades scattered around the layout. The orange creeps into the bright, dashing gradient atop each page; the blue serves as a constant call to action.

Likewise, in the interest of consistency, we employ a serif headline font that’s a close approximation to that seen in the logo. For clarity’s sake, and for greater versatility, this font is less condensed and uses a thicker stroke, but the tone remains constant. For body copy and navigation links, however, we extend the brand with a friendlier, more playful sans-serif with a bit of a spring in its step.

Driving the Data in

Like a well-organized scorecard, a website with large amounts of text-rich content must be subtly designed and thoroughly efficient. In the Miracle League’s case, we’ve accomplished this by way of a heavy emphasis on information flow, in lieu of elaborate page decoration. In other words, big, clean chunks of content with as little visual clutter as possible.

And this site’s ease-of-use doesn’t stop at the face it shows to visitors. By harnessing the powerful (and popular) WordPress platform, assisted by several key customizations, we’ve enabled the client to completely manage the site themselves. Easy content management, a rock-solid platform and a great-looking layout. That’s some starting lineup!

The Camera Don’t Lie

Information may be the Miracle League’s online focus, but the web is an inherently visual medium and nothing tells a story quite like a quality photograph. Particularly so in this case: once you’ve seen the smiles these faces, you’ll instantly understand the kind of great work that’s being done. It’s a key to capturing the energy and optimism that abounds at each Miracle League event.

Thus, we’ve really stretched to ensure that such photography gets its chance to shine. In addition to the clean layout and abundant white space, which really enables bright, colorful action shots to shine, we’ve allowed important photos to break the grid and stretch edge-to-edge in the browser, maximizing the size of each image and granting an extra dash of essential emphasis. In cases where text overlays the photo, we’ve applied a rich color overlay to improve contrast and legibility. Even in spaces where one might not expect imagery, we’ve sprinkled dashes of ambiance from the baseball field. Soil, a wooden bat, the backstop fence; each of these textures evokes a memory for former players or fans of the game, which helps to place them on the field right beside the players.

Information with a Single Click

For a relatively small site, the Miracle League of Manasota delivers a broad array of valuable content. Naturally, the first order of business is the most important one: driving potential donors, players and volunteers to the information they need without hesitation. We accomplish this with heavy, obvious calls to action and clear, direct language on each page. No muss, no fuss, no confusion; just answers. Elsewhere, an uber-simple, highly skimmable game schedule ensures that nobody misses their next big chance. A bird’s-eye visual guide to Miracle Field gives visitors a glimpse of the league’s unique baseball environment and explains how it’s a perfect fit for every player. And, of course, the association’s wealth of video content is given ample room (and a theatrical dimming of the lights) to tell its story. So much to see!

Browse From the Desktop or the Bleachers

As with all of our current sites, The Miracle League is designed with a persistently responsive design philosophy in mind. What that means, simply, is that it does more than just shrink the desktop site to fit a smartphone or tablet. We’ve carefully optimized the layout at several key resolutions to best prioritize and capitalize upon the unique quirks, benefits and limitations of every potential screen size. Through the use of innovative new markup techniques, we’re able to pull smaller images to fit smaller screens, so we aren’t killing a user’s monthly data plan with one jumbo-sized graphic. Text blocks grow more focused and concise. SVG icons and custom webfonts ensure the text and graphics look great on every screen… and will continue to do so regardless of the shapes, sizes and resolutions Apple and Google decide to introduce in next year’s models.

Bring it Home

This one means a lot to us. We aren’t just proud of the design and the functionality, we’re flattered to be involved with an organization that brings so much good to so many deserving families. The Miracle League is a great example of humanity at its finest: kind-hearted men and women working together to brighten another’s day, asking for no greater reward than a warm smile and a big hug. If our aid has progressed that cause by even an inch, we feel validated. And there’s always room for more volunteers. Why not stop by MiracleLeagueManasota.org today and discover how you can help, too?