There are many different kinds of websites out there. Some are simple, some are fancy; some give information, some sell products. You get the idea. While many internet aficionados extol the virtues of building a “community” around your brand or your products or your story, every once in a while we get a project where that truly is their primary goal. The mission of the Chapel of Saint John the Divine is to create and grow a faith-based community that serves the students and families at the University of Illinois.
A Matter of Style
Even among church websites, there can be a wide spectrum of design choices. Some stay sparse and minimalist, while others aim for flashy and entertaining. The concept for the Chapel fell somewhere in between. We kept most of the structure of their old website, which was largely text-based, while enhancing the look with larger spaces for visual elements. We moved their navigation to spread across the top of the website in order to make things easier to find. We took our typography cues from a book that’s very meaningful to attendees at the Chapel — their Book of Common Prayer. In the spirit of embracing community, they reached out to one of their own to photograph their space, guided by the parameters set in our new design. Most importantly, we built their new website on WordPress rather than straight HTML, which gives their staff the ability to add and change content much more quickly and easily.
The finished website is easier to read and navigate, which is our primary goal. It’s embellished with warm, inviting photos and textual elements that mirror one’s experience in the Chapel’s physical space. Communication tools have been enhanced, as well. Detailed contact forms help parishioners find volunteer opportunities and pledge financial support. Site visitors can subscribe to the Chapel’s email newsletter, and can even listen to select sermons from past services and a variety of daily prayers thanks to a seamless integration with SoundCloud. And information is easily and beautifully accessible on devices of all sizes.
“Community” encompasses a wide variety of experiences, for very different types of people. Highlighting this shared space and making shared experiences easier to find and join go a long way toward enhancing daily life for the members of the Chapel. Mission: accomplished.