Supports Interactive

Project Details

Year Developed: 2013

Project Type: Website

Languages Used: PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript, MySQL

The Background

Football Manager is one of the largest simulation games on the market, selling over one million units every year. It also contains one of the most vibrant, passionate and dedicated fan communities of any PC or console game. These fan communities are housed on a multitude of websites, all offering their expertise on different areas of the game.

The Brief

Up until the inception of Supports Interactive, each Football Manager community site was either a WordPress site or a web forum (or a combination of the two). This caused innovation of the community to stagnate and audiences of these sites to fall.

Supports Interactive was created as a reaction to this. A bespoke solution requiring multiple different areas for visitors to enjoy. Interactive features include:

  • A “challenges” area where players can rank themselves against others, by performing tasks in the game.
  • A “careers” area where players can write about their experience of the game.
  • An area for players to post videos of their game, showcasing their favourite goals, which other players can vote on.
  • A downloads area for players to download files to enhance their game.
  • A Facebook style wall for players to share news with their followers
  • Custom made web forum
  • A direct message system, with multiple participants.

The Design

Design of Supports Interactive was carried out in Photoshop by a third party. Each area of the site had a different design depending on the content. The design was then sent over to us to code.

The Development

Supports Interactive was a website where every area had to be bespoke as nothing like it had existed before. This presented numerous challenges. Firstly, creating a web forum from scratch was a massive undertaking and required a lot of testing to ensure the security of the site was maintained. The design was also image intensive, so we used a single image sprite to optimise loading times. We were in constant communication with the designer to make sure our code matched the original Photoshop designs as closely as possible, sometimes employing clever design tricks through CSS to reduce the file size of each page.

Great care and attention to detail was paramount as we wanted to make sure visitors not only enjoyed using the website but would return frequently. A lot of areas utilised AJAX page loading via Javascript to create a seamless experience for visitors.