case study

Irish Runner relaunch

Project details

  • Date —  31/05/2023
  • Client —  Athletics Ireland
  • Project —  Irish Runner relaunch
  • URL —

What was required

Athletes Ireland in the past have published a popular monthly magazine; Irish Runner. Distributed with the Sunday Business Post this publication dedicated to the running scene in Ireland also has an online edition. With the ceasing of the print edition an opportunity arose to redesign the website. Primarily the original website was purely news focused; the new version required additional content such as full screen galleries, equipment reviews and a members only area. The latter would help engage new readership and enable ‘member only’ content. A calendar of Athletic Ireland events, plus displaying the current merchandise was also required.

Some examples

Project insight

As with all projects carried out by chriscdesign, WordPress was used as the CMS. This open-source software is easy to develop any website with a huge number of plugins (code to add extra functionality) available that will pretty much solve any requirements. In this case the only plugins of note were Advanced Custom Fields and Gravity Forms. These are a standard installation to any project I take on. The latter with Repeaters, Galleries and Flexible Content Field allows me to create custom content blocks outside of the standard WordPress fields. More precisely it give the power of managing content without having to worry about code or layout.


The site is driven by news stories. The three most recent are displayed as full page images with headlines overlaid. Using swiperjs, they fade from one to another.

With a diverse range of articles over several categories the main news page dynamically creates a series of top four articles from each categories which collapse on mobile into individual swiperjs carousels. Then links to individual category index pages. If a new category is added and moved this all handled automatically. Articles can be shared with built in tools to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Custom Post Types

Both these sections on the website are built using WordPress Custom Post Types. The advantage here is the ability to separate content types more easily and retain the ability to create post type index pages with ease.

Galleries are built using the ACF Gallery field. The Gallery field provides an interactive interface for managing a collection of images. A new gallery is created (custom post type), images are then added via the standard media addition and cropped to the correct size. The field type allows the addition of captions and the ordering via a simple drag-n-drop mechanism. Once published, on desktop a full screen gallery is generated using the swiperjs library. On mobile a scroll approach is used. Experience has taught me that users are trained by social media to scroll down on their smartphones.

Equipment reviews are a new departure for Irish Runner and was an excellent way to leverage ACF custom fields such as repeaters and put them into a custom post type. The very nature of a review required additional information such as ratings, price and pro and cons. ACF made this a breeze. The author just creates a new review, they add the information via an intuitive UI and just publish. The CMS then takes off everything else.

Seeing what next race is next for any discerning athlete. Eventmaster is used by clubs and Athletics Ireland to create races across the country. Conditional logic is used to display the imported data; if then race date is greater than today then it is no longer displayed. Depending on the event date, different displays are used for each event. Overall it is clear to the athlete when the race is on.

Merchandise is managed by their partner, JFSports via a Woocommerce driven site. Rather than replicate this on Irish Runner a simple layout was designed that displays all the current products with prices and link to the JFSports page. On the homepage three randomly selected products are displayed either on a grid for desktop or with a carousel on mobile.

The Runner’s Connect is a members only area of Irish Runner. It is intended this area will grow with special offerings and exclusive content. It’s free to join and is used as a way to engage with the athletics community. Prominent messaging is used across the site to encourage signups. Once a member has signed in, all of the messaging is removed and the site becomes personalised.

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