The Church at Martinsburg: Website (2009) The Church at Martinsburg: Website (2009) Logo

Project Overview

People looking for a new church often base their decision to attend (or not) on whatever information that they can find online about the church.

For a new church in Martinsburg, WV, the website was going to be the primary method of outreach and connection.  This meant the look, feel and ease of navigation was of utmost importance.

The clean look reinforced the brand. The navigation directed newcomers to relevant information. The CMS allowed the church to manage much of the upkeep.

Project Details

Launched in May, 2009, the Church at Martinsburg website is the centerpiece of all marketing efforts.  This required a site developed to allow the church leadership to maintain much of the information on the site.  Built on the ExpressionEngine (1.6) CMS, church leaders and staff are able to add news, events, daily devotions, add supplemental study material and modify static content.

The site integrates Yahoo! Maps to provide directions to weekly Community Groups, PayPal to allow online giving, and a flash media player for audio archives and video testimonials.

The site has also been used as an outlet for streaming of messages when inclement weather has not allowed services to be held as scheduled.

The versatility of the site design has allowed for easy rebranding of event specific pages (participation in a burger cook-off and a community wide egg drop).

Top to Bottom

The Church at Martinsburg Website (May 2009)
The layout of the site was designed to give the most important information a prominent place while still providing quick access to the destination areas of the site.

Destination Areas = Site Utilities.  In the upper left of the site you will notice a gray tab hanging off of the browser window.  Internally, we call these site utilities and they contain quick links to destination areas of the site.  In other words, areas that repeat visitors will want to visit frequently or at least at regular intervals.

This area includes the following:

In addition to the utilities in the top left of the site, we also have two quick links in the top right.

Primary Navigation

The primary navigation of the site is limited to the most important information.  Links include Connect, Events, About Us, Resources, Contact and The Gospel.  These are the most import pages for people to explore the Church at Martinsburg and each provides links to allow the visitor to dig deeper into our site and our church.

Primary Content

For the primary content section of the site we have chosen a two column layout with the main content of each page on the left and navigation related to the content of the page in the narrow, right hand column.  For maximum readability we have used dark text (black and dark gray) on a white background.  Active links are CaM green to allow them stand out from the body text.

Recent Content

Beneath the primary content area, we have a Recent Content area.  The recent content area is where you will find all of the recently added news, links, events, etc.  We have divided the recent content area into three sections; Upcoming, News and Media / Downloads.

Sub Navigation

The sub navigation is a persistent navigation which is found on every page within the site.  It acts as a site map, allowing access to nearly every section of the site without having to search.  Additionally, it provides contact information for those that need to contact the church.  This section has been divided into five sub-sections; New?, Connect, About, Resources and Contact Information.

Homepage Content

One other area of note, in which the site deviates from the layout described above, is the homepage.  Since the homepage is the first point of contact for most visitors, specifically those who have received a handout with our web address and type the URL directly into their address bar, we wanted to increase the impact of it while still providing links to relevant and important information.  We didn’t want just eye-candy.  We thought about a flash element, but that can decrease accessibility for those with screen readers or are on mobile devices.  Instead we went with a bit of javascript and css in addition to standard HTML to create the Welcome to the Church at Martinsburg graphic.  The graphic features four images each linking to a different section of the site and does it in a way that has impact.

Conclusions

We feel like we’ve created an accessible and easily navigable website, that validates and is based on web standards, that should render well whether you are accessing the site via an old browser like IE 6, a modern browser like FireFox or a mobile device.

  • Published: 09/12/2010
  • Viewed: 3536 time(s)
  • Categorized: Web Design,
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