The Open Design & App Development
Formed in 2004 and based in St Andrews, The R&A seeks to engage in and support activities that are undertaken for the benefit of the game of golf and, despite deriving its name from the members’ club, is separate and distinct from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
The R&A organises The Open, golf’s oldest Major, along with a number of other amateur and junior events, some of which are sanctioned by other golfing bodies. In addition, The R&A assumes responsibility for the administration of the Rules of Golf with the consent of 152 organisations from the amateur and professional game, and on behalf of over 30 million golfers in 138 countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
Historically, Lightmaker has worked on not only the main R&A sites, its sister properties and of course the flagship Championship sites but has extended its relationship to produce award winning applications for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone.
Lightmaker in partnership with Endava, worked together in 2014 to further enrich the experience for golfing enthusiasts around the world by adding and improving functionality both on the main desktop site and its mobile version.
Lightmaker was faced with the challenge of unifying the disparate video players that were inherent within the old site so that users had one interface to view the content each from disparate streams be that live, VoD or radio.
There was a requirement to promote other streams within the player which was achieved using an ‘in-player’ alert functionality (for the 3 hole channel, @theopenlive and BBC stream) thus enabling The R&A to achieve its core viewing and commercial KPI’s. Geographical content restrictions added to the complexity so the player was built to cater for notifications based on a fan’s location and deliver content that was rights approved. Social sharing was integrated to allow fans the ability to promote content to their friends.
Other features include a new way to browse tee times and a hole statistics section allowing users to view how players are playing certain holes on the course and how each hole fares against another. The ever popular “Course Live” functionality has been updated in conjunction with the course guide so that fans can track golfers as they play the challenging Links course at Muirfield.
With weather reports integrated within this section it adds to a comprehensive live graphical view of the Championship. Flyovers and course information also form part of the Course Guide plus there is also the added benefit of player’s perspective on each of the holes.
In parallel, Lightmaker redesigned the mobile site for the Championships to enhance the user experience and bring it in line with its desktop equivalent. The main objectives were to offer a more personalized experience for visitors to view and engage with content and players of their choice. Retaining a fan’s attention by increasing time on site was key and this was achieved by improving the navigation and access to content. Scoring for The Open also needed to be presented in the quickest and simplest form whilst fully utilizing the broad range of data available.
As a result the Mobile Site features the latest news, leaderboard updates, a course guide with live stats and ‘Course Live’ (see above) and integration of external Social Media content.
Results have included The Open Championship 2010 which won both the 2010 Pixel Award for Apps and 2010 People’s Champ Apps award and The Open Championship 2011 which received more than a quarter of a million downloads and was ranked #1 free sports app. Furthermore The Rules of Golf app was selected as an Official Honoree for the Mobile Sports category in the 15th Annual Webby Awards.