Case Study, Web App
Clipped In: Web Scraper for Cycling Events
October 2016 – Present
- Technology Stack:
Web Scraper for Events
Clipped In’s CEO, Sarah Muench, started working with us at Topflight Apps when her previous developer was transitioning away. When we first began working together the top priority was to develop a new and more powerful web scraper.
Cycling hasn’t quite been brought into the modern age of the web and Clipped In plans to be the spearhead using technology to give the cycling community everything it needs to grow. A huge part of that growth is being able to give users a single place to find and register for events.
There are several major organizations in cycling that have their own events calendars. These organizations are official sanctioning bodies like USA Cycling (USAC) and the Oregon Bicycle Riders Association (OBRA). In order to serve the cycling communities interested in events from those sanctioning bodies as well as from a couple other event sources s event sources , we developed a web scraper that parses the events pages from USAC, OBRA and other cycling web sites and presents them as events on Clipped In.
To build the scraper, we created a WordPress plugin that both processed the incoming information and also structured the incoming data to work in tandem with a 3rd-party WordPress plugin called Events Calendar Pro.
Redesign & Search Improvements
Since the scraper was in place, Clipped In has a massive and continuously updated stable of categorized events that the users can search through. However, the default search system that was in place didn’t make good use of the tagging information that the scraped events have. We were finding that erroneous or very loosely related events were being given in search results.
All of the events are tagged by the type of event and a sanctioning body when relevant. Sarah noticed that the search was returning results that were not really relevant. Instead of providing results most relevant to a user’s query, it would return a jumbled set of results that were even distantly related.
We customized the search algorithm to provide only highly relevant and targeted results which are still geolocated to the user. Now if you’re looking for USAC events in Arizona or any other state on a Track or Road – Clipped In will find everything coming up that is nearby to you.
In order to improve the overall appearance as well, we’ve worked closely together to plan and develop a much improved UI and search interface. We are currently putting the last bits of polish on this and will expect this to be released December 2017.
IN THE END…
In the time we’ve worked together, Clipped In has become the largest cycling events website in the nation with the steady stream of scraped events. As of this writing, Clipped In is the only cycling hub in the nation with geolocated search across multi-sport events and major sanctioning bodies like USAC, USAT and OBRA.
Many new cyclists across the country have found the detailed information they need to break into the world of both competitive and recreational cycling. Clipped In boasts easily accessible free articles to help even the greenest cyclist find what they need to get clipped in and find a place to ride and meet local cyclists.
In the end we have helped and continue to help find new and better ways to keep Clipped In at the top of the cycling event world.
Topflight Apps develops natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence software for healthcare and commerce. We specialize in telehealth and EHR-integrated mobile applications.
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