The Games Development function of the GAA is concerned with promoting Gaelic games through school coaching events, Cúl Camps and blitzes. It is considered one of the most important elements of activities within the GAA. This is because much like other sporting organisations such as FIFA and UEFA, the GAA are responsible for promoting grassroots participation by engaging young people to begin their endeavour of developing an interest and participation in games, thus growing the popularity of the sport. In 2017 Cúl Camps recorded an attendance of 142,467 children (up 20% on 2016), which makes the camps, on a per capita basis, one of the bigger child promotions in the world of sport.
This element is managed by 350 GAA-employed coaches who are called the Games Promotion Officers (GPOs) or Games Development Administrators (GDAs). Their role is to plan events, record attendance in a timely manner and provide reports and with such a plethora of events, and an unreliable system in place this is not an easy task. The GAA is funded by a mixture of commercial revenues (sponsors, gate receipts and TV licensing) but also via state-backed funding. For this, a greater level of reporting accuracy and the ability to audit was required. The unintended consequences of poor data collection resulted in lower participation levels being recorded which impacted funding for the GAA from national governing bodies.
The future success of the GAA depends on their ability to attract young people to their games, to have them continue to play as they move through adolescence and adulthood, and then, later, to have them involved within aspects of the GAA.
To encourage the role of a GDO within the GAA organisation, Dawson Andrews implemented a user-focused, intuitive and aesthetic solution which focused on measuring attendance at games and providing a reliable reporting module. The design team prioritised their efforts on a user interface upgrade that was decluttered, responsive and visually appealing for main users. The advantages of this would appeal to the user who will use the application and may not be fully cognisant of all the features. This would also reduce the amount of training a user would need to use the application. The development team focused on delivering elements which could be utilised by all users with differing technical capabilities. The important features included allowing attendance figures to be recorded pitch side, offline mode in the event of no signal and cross-platform accessibility which is an industry standard. The reporting module collected data from a more accurate set which could be published and presented to national governing bodies who would allocate the sufficient level of funding respectively. The implementation of these features was essential for the success of the project.
Working closely with the client and understanding how they do their job we were able to streamline their processes and remove a large amount of their daily admin work allowing them more time to perform their duties. Fergal Condron
Lead Engineer, Dawson Andrews.