The Website Project
In mid 2013, St. Thomas More Catholic Parish (STM) selected Upper Room Media as its website design and development partner to help build the digital component of its extremely robust and dynamic parish life. With as many as a dozen or more activities and events taking place on practically a daily basis, STM needed a modern website that could engage users on any device. Current parishioners were designated the primary target audience, with prospective parish families being the secondary audience.
Custom Design for Those Accustomed to Custom
A differentiating demographic characteristic of STM parishioners is that they are affluent, very affluent. They have refined tastes when it comes to aesthetics, be it with regard to the art and architecture of the physical facilities, or the layout and design of the parish website. So I spent a lot of time with the brand marketing team of staff and volunteers to sift through countless examples what they considered to be good and bad design. From there, I developed a live wireframe of the page layouts. By creating the wireframe directly on the development site, I was able to demonstrate how the navigation structure worked to streamline access to desired content, present the layout of page elements for all the screen sizes of the various browsing devices, and show how the various features actually functioned to enhance usability. I was also able to make changes on the fly and then seamlessly take the final version directly into the next phase of the design process.
This next phase is where the graphic style is applied to give the website STM's distinctive brand identity. The design had to be simple and elegant, incorporating a hint of the interior design of the parish church with a particular emphasis given to the parish color palette. Based on this guidance, I created a style tiles in Photoshop to show how color and other graphic elements would be applied to the website. I was able to limit the use of design images to the parish logo and light-weight repeating background pattern, suggesting the marble in the church sanctuary. Once the style tile was finalized, I applied the style to the website to produce the finished product.
Rich Use of Rich Media
With all the activities and events happening at STM, its easy to imagine that a good number of them are worth capturing and sharing. Fortunately, STM has the technological resources and creative talent to produce an abundance of high quality rich media content. To facilitate optimum usability for both those posting rich media content to the website, and those looking to access that content, I worked with the STM website team to develop a simple categorization system for managing and displaying this content.