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14 September 2008

The Bare Essentials

A few months ago we set out to make some changes to the information architecture on Not because we had to, but because it was the perfect time to. First, the site has been growing over the years - slowly putting on extra pounds that needed to be worked off. And second, because in October we will open our first external campus and the site needs to reflect the new One Church Where You Are initiative.

Information Architecture
Take one look at the home page and you'll immediately see a few differences: The old site had numerous menu picks - some which were hidden as subordinate page links. The new structure removes all sub menus so all menu picks are visible all the time. We also removed the small icon driven menu at the bottom of the sidebar. Most of these links were absorbed into the main menu and the search element was moved to the top right of the page. Two larger graphic links (media player and streaming messages) now exist in their place. These are two of the most used parts of our website - thus the prominence given to them.

The other thing that you'll notice is how the traditional menu structure changed from a list of available pages to a list of action terms or Things To Do. Kem Meyer was the driving force behind these changes and talks more about the process here.

Campus Map
The other big change was in the multi-site functionality. With a new campus opening, the site had to reflect this and be able to direct people to appropriate information based on which site they frequent.

When you choose Where We Are from the menu or Campus on the flash element a map appears to give a quick look at the available campuses. Pick one and you are taken to pages just for that campus.

Other Additions
You may stumble across new pages like "Read blogs" and "Subscribe."

And then there are the things you might never notice like the fact that numerous pages have been boiled down into a few pages and the footer has been updated.

All in all it was a massive project for those involved. But a great team can do great things.

I love the new look and can't wait to hear the feedback. I'm hoping the changes create an amazing user experience and that people will find it even easier to get what they need from the site.

Thanks to Keith & Team from Aspire!One, Kem, Lisa and Jeanna for the hours of dedication to this change.