First phase of website redesign can be seen February 1
Newcomers to Unitarian Universalism as well as seasoned congregational leaders will get more from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s website, UUA.org, starting this morning.
Parts of the website have been redesigned with these two groups in mind. Debuting this morning, February 1, are two new pages––a re-envisioned home page primarily for visitors, and a new resources page for lay and professional leaders of congregations and those actively involved in UU life.
The website underwent a complete redesign in early 2007. The new changes take that process a step further, said Deborah Weiner, director of the UUA’s Office of Electronic Communication. “In 2007 we didn’t have access to the kinds of information about who uses the website that we have now,” she said. “We now have a much better understanding of what our users want and find most helpful, and our goal in making these changes is to deliver these tools, along with improved access to information, to our audience.”
The home page formerly had sections for visitors, members, and congregational leaders. Now it’s devoted almost exclusively to those seeking information about Unitarian Universalism, which makes up 85 percent of all the traffic to the home page.
Weiner said, “We have an amazing opportunity to reach out to people who are trying to find out more about Unitarian Universalism. And just as in our congregations, where extending a warm welcome to guests makes a huge difference, we have an opportunity to welcome our website visitors. We have redesigned the home page to deliver on that opportunity, to provide the resources inquirers need and want, and above all, connect our visitors to a UU congregation near them.”
The new home page includes video clips so that visitors can see Unitarian Universalism in action, as well as read about it. Other features include two “find a congregation” links, and icons for social media sites that allow visitors to connect with Unitarian Universalism in different ways, including Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds. A list of “most viewed” pages on UUA.org also appears, and the page also offers the first paragraphs of several news stories that demonstrate UU principles in action.
Congregational leaders who have been accustomed to starting with the home page to find information will now want to go first to the new resources page (www.UUA.org/resources), said Weiner.
It includes a directory of recommended resources—those that are most in demand by leaders. Leaders seeking information on a particular topic can click on that topic and see a page with multiple resources. For example, someone clicking on “accessibility” gets a page with information about accessibility issues.
Also on the resources page is a most-viewed section, UU news, UUA staff blog items, and a list of upcoming events. A “recently updated” section helps leaders keep up with new resources that have been posted. The page also has links to various social media and RSS feeds to help UUs connect with others and stay updated on UUA.org items.
Mark Steinwinter, the UUA’s director of Information Technology Services said a second phase of changes that focus on search, navigation, and overall information organization, will be done by mid-June.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.