The Virtual Reality of a Growing Church
Hope City is a young Christian fellowship in the Joplin area with a clear focus on adapting to congregation need. Because Hope City occupies temporary facilities as they grow, they want a virtual Welcome Desk where people could meet the church, get involved, and find opportunities to worship. They need more than just a pretty site they could build through online design programs. They need an attractive, powerful website with optimized function for the user experience.
Though they are still a young church, they are determined to invest in the best. They approached Midwestern Interactive to work through their goals and let us do our thing. With the creative liberty they were offering, how could we not say no?
User Expectation, User Need
Midwestern Interactive developed a site built on basic web design, but with customized design to the church's big picture goals for communication. With church leadership, we determined a hierarchy of information for both church members and new comers who visit the site as follows:
Getting Here (service times and location)
What to Expect (sermon series, ministries, news and events), and
Immersion in the Church (news and events, service opportunities).
Then we got to work.
The user's first interaction with the site spotlights service times in the top left corner. This information is also repeated at the bottom of the page, where users are accustomed to find information. Also at the bottom of the page is an imbedded map users can interact with on mobile devices. If the user is only there for time and location, that's quickly taken care of.
Sometimes the user wants more, so the site has clear navigation options as well as relevant content up front. The front page provides a Starting Point, so they don't have to self-navigate unless they want to. On the Starting Point page, users find quick information to help get them in the church and involved.
A video from the current sermon series is the first large content item presented on the Home page.Regularly updated videos gets the user to interact with the site. These videos also give the user a level comfort before attending in person.
A navigation bar is available both in top right for user expectations of New, Events, Giving, and Log In, and at the bottom of the first screen for individualized topics aimed at getting users to the services. Hope City keeps users aware their church is active, growing and changing through regular News and Events postings.
Hope City has a talented team of artists who produce quality video and sound. They want people to be able to access these videos and sound files anytime, anywhere. The site not only provides video and audio, but also includes notes and follow-up content in News and Updates sections. Then Hope City can publish these sermons on social media outlets.
Every page has a "call to action" to contact for more information, sign up for their newsletter, and find Hope City on social media. No matter where they are when they decide to engage, they have that available to them immediately, decreasing the risk of losing them before they make the step.
Responsive Church, Responsive Design
User-focused navigation also guides our responsive design. Instead of developing multiple sites for multiple devices, we create one site that will adapt to the user's browser. As the site is translated to smaller screens and windows, the most important information will remain spotlighted, while less important information will be shrunk, hidden in links, or eliminated altogether.
Growing Church, Growing Website
Because the church has a temporary meeting space, they need a reliable online source that reflects the church itself. And just as the facilities must accommodate church growth, so the website must adapt to the changes.
Midwestern Interactive values on-going relationships with organizations and businesses. Especially when the client trusts us with their goals and needs. We're looking forward to walking alongside Hope City as they grow.