First Church of God, under the direction of Bishop Timothy J. Clarke was in need of a new website. The site would be designed to communicate congregation events to members and prospective visitors. The design needed to appeal to the current congregation — which was made up of individuals, families and couples who have been there for a couple of decades. Bishop Clarke also wished to bring in new individuals and not only appeal to them but educate them.
Normally I am not the user, but in this case I was. I fit into at least one target group.
Over a month I conducted research. I then combined the data I collected with personal testimonies from website users. I met with key individuals who helped make the church function on a daily basis: ministry leaders and those who worked on the church’s staff.
I then structured a site map that would make sense to someone who was already familiar with the church and its structure. I created another site map for someone who was knowledgeable of the general practices of a Christian church. A user group was missing however: those who had never been to a church. I grew up in church, so I was too far removed from that perspective to know where to begin or what questions to ask.
I decided to bring on my friend and fellow graphic designer for the project. Travis had never been to church, and to help me brand the various ministries for F.C.O.G. he needed his own understanding. With his help, an additional perspective was added and we were able to construct a site and labels that would help someone who has never been to church learn about F.C.O.G.
Further research was done on the way F.C.O.G. wished to be perceived and the way it was actually run as a brand, a congregation, and a church. It was desired that the church had its own identity separate from Bishop Clarke.
The personas I created entailed details of the type of devices and interfaces each user would use on a daily basis. This helped to provide a guide for the way the information should be structured and how the interface should look. I used Axure for the first time to create a clickable prototype from my paper drawn wireframes.
Avoiding the plastic, bubble look, I satisfied the current congregation with graphics that appealed to the character of the church and the congregation that made it while keeping up with the internet trends at the time to appeal to the new, younger generation. The terms, labels, and navigation were done in a way to help new visitors find their way through the site while mimicking the actual structure of the church as it ran. I believe I found a happy medium to educate those who didn’t know a thing about church and/or F.C.O.G. and keep the interests of those who did.