TR: So, tell us, why is the UUA working on a new website?
CM: Well, as anyone who has gone to UUA.org recently can tell you, our site could use a refresher. And UUA.org is really the front page of Unitarian Universalism – it’s the first thing that shows up on Google searches, it gets over 1 million visitors a year and 90% of those visitors are finding our site for the first time. So improving UUA.org is a key part of reaching out to new audiences.
UU leaders all over the country also use the site every week for worship resources, religious education curricula, and more. We’re making the site simpler, cleaner, and easier to navigate and better features so that these professional and volunteer leaders can do their jobs better.
Overall, we’re creating a stronger foundation for the future of our online work and ministry. Our new site is on a great, open-source platform called Drupal that will make things possible which we never could have imagined on the current site.
TR: Wow! Sounds like a lot of work to make it happen.
CM: No doubt! Every staff group in the UUA has been updating their pages, and the Web Team in particular has been working all out for months.
The project is happening in three phases, with the first phase planned for February with the launch of the new site. We’ll be adding features, retooling menus and other things in the months after launch in Phases II and III.
TR: So what can we expect when the new site is launched for Phase I?
CM: The first thing you’ll notice is our awesome new design, bringing the UU brand identity to life. There will be a great new homepage featuring people, stories and congregations, and updated info for first time visitors (our “who,” “what” and “where”).
We’ve got a new site-wide theme-based tagging system that will help us connect content and resources that have always been limited to their own silos – Worship Web submissions, General Assembly workshops, UU World articles, Tapestry of Faith activities and more.
Finally, look for a bunch of great new pieces on Worship Web, which is one of the most heavily-used sections of UUA.org.
TR: What’s your favorite part about the new site?
CM: It’s so much more visual, so much more personal, it’s telling the story of our faith in a compelling way. Right now, our site is basically an enormous filing cabinet. The new UUA.org has so much possibility for dynamic content, connection and inspiration. It’s really going to make UU’s proud for this to be their homepage.
TR: I can’t wait to see it!
CM: Well, no IT project is perfect right off the bat, but remember our February launch is only the beginning! We look forward to hearing from our users and continuing to improve their experience as we envision what is possible on the new site. We always talk to congregations about the importance of having a great web presence, so we’re trying to practice what we preach. As soon as we go live, you’ll be the first to know, Tandi!