Episcopal Church website redesign aims to ease navigation

July 6, 2008

Easier navigation, better search functionality, and a more modern style are a few of the changes visitors will see upon entering the newly redesigned Episcopal Church website.

To be launched on July 8, episcopalchurch.org highlights the four Mission Centers that now encapsulate much of the staff of the Episcopal Church Center as they continue to achieve new levels of service and collaboration.

"With the change to the organizational structure here at the Church Center we felt that the website needed to reflect that," said Michael Collins, director of Digital Communication. "We've changed the entire look and feel of the home page and we've also created new pages for each of the four mission centers including their areas of mission and their staff."

According to Wade Hampton, art director, visitors will immediately notice how the style of the website has changed and incorporates "a broader color palette." He also said that the work, which began in late March, was aimed at making the site "more inviting and welcoming."

"The basic idea was to bring as much of the information that visitors would find useful to the forefront to spark interest," he explained.

Collins explained it as bringing "the most viewed sections" of the site to "one place where you can find pretty much everything you need."

Mary Brennan, mission communication officer, said that the redesign was important because it is the place "where seekers come to find out about the church." She continued, "It is the place where members come to find out information on their particular areas of interest and it's the place where people keep up with how the Episcopal Church serves God and the world."

"One of the most important things we've done is address issues site visitors have had with the search function," said Collins. "You can now search and clarify exactly what type of information you are looking for. You can also eliminate certain areas like news articles and just focus on websites. We know this was an issue many people have had and think that the refined search functionality will make searching the site much easier."

Calling this aspect of the redesign 'Phase One', Collins explained that the work on the website "is on going."

"'Phase Two' begins in the next few weeks as we import all of the content that we are keeping into mission center specific templates that reflect the new look and in many cases new names of mission areas," he said. "We expect 'Phase Two' to take us into the fall. Phase Three is the mission centers defining their own online identities and branding."

"I give great thanks for the dedication and creativity brought by the Digital Communication and Mission Center staff teams to this important work," said Canon Robert Williams, director of communication at the Church Center. "Our hope is that the redesigned website will serve as a helpful resource for the whole Church and the wider public."

---Daphne Mack is a correspondent for Episcopal Life Media and is editor of Global Good and Put Your Faith to Work

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