First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, MA Website
Date: Summer 2017
First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury came to us with a problem: their website was hard-coded HTML and no one on their staff felt comfortable editing it, so it was always out of date. They needed a Content Management System and a fully refreshed design. Additionally, they wanted to make sure that their website better served their ministry, highlighting the most important aspects of their church and helping them to engage with their community more effectively.
The church, like many New England congregational churches, is located at the center of town and sits at the head of a large, open green (which is actually owned by the church). This served as a source of inspiration for our design. The layout of our home page is weighted at the top by a four-column accordion slider echoing the church's mission statement ("to come together as Christians to serve God by studying and listening to the Word and living by Christ’s teachings. We are committed to reaching out through prayer, caring, sharing and fellowship").
Below the fold, the design is spacious and open, anchored by four "feature" boxes in each corner with a central column featuring upcoming events and major announcements.
Critical to this project was creating ways for visitors to connect directly with church leadership and join church programs through the website. We accomplish this through forms embedded in the site. We took two approaches here. First, for some forms we opted to take a "conversational" style using Typeforms. These forms were made to flow seamlessly with the design through the use of a common color scheme and typography. This method felt particularly appropriate for the "pastoral care request" and stewardship "online pledge" form.
In other cases, a more traditional form (using Google Forms) seemed the most appropriate tactic. Examples include the Sunday School and Youth Group registration forms, for which we felt users had a set of expectations about the type of interface that made a more traditional form the best fit.
Finally, a significant part of the design of any church website has to be focused on introducing the church to new visitors. We took the approach of following a "FAQ's" type format on our "First Visit" page, taking care to ensure that all critical information was located on this page so that no additional clicks were necessary.