If you are helping out with your church website, it can be exciting to begin coding and designing. However, there is something very important you need to do before you start implementing your incredible vision for the church website. It’s not as attractive as getting your hands dirty in code and Photoshop, but it is far more important and it will save you time and hassle latter on.
You need to sit down and chat with all the stake holders.
You’ll be amazed at how many people are (or consider themselves to be) a stakeholder in your church website. In a large church, this may include people who are responsible for different ministries within the church, but it also includes people who have strong opinions about how the church site should look. This second group can be large within small churches as well as larger ones, in fact it may even be bigger in a small church.
In this meeting it’s important to discuss:
- What the purpose of the site is going to be?
- What is good about the current site (if there is one)?
- What people want to see in the new site?
- What new functions are important?
- What ideas, themes and design factors should be considered?
All this is really important to do at the outset as it will help make sure everyone who wants to be heard is, and that you vision aligns with the church’s vision. If you don’t have a meeting like this, you can end up having some unpleasant meetings later on when someone points out a fault in what you have done (either a valid point or non valid). By having these conversations early on, you make sure that you consider all the different voices and truly reflect the churches character, needs and wants. This will help you justify your decisions later on when people look at your drafts and final product.
With our church, we arranged a meeting including the leadership team and one of the members who has made some great graphics for the church. We discussed a few ideas and themes before agreeing on a few ideas and new features that we wanted, some of which I suggested, some other people suggested.
Finally, we shared our design and the reasons behind it in a notice at church. This helped show people that we had carefully considered our changes and lead to few complaints, and improvements. In addition it raised awareness of the new redesign and members seemed to feel pretty proud of the new design.
However, I had actually started to code before we held this meeting as I was eager to get going. Some of the things we kept, but there were a lot of elements I ended up undoing upon feedback. This might have been avoided if I had waited.
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