Written by Jase Clamp
Monday, 30 August 2010 00:00
New Website Launches
We recently undertook a new design / layout for the Perry Stone Ministries
website. The ministry has grown radically over the last few years in regards to the amount of traffic the website is recieveing. We were priviledged to be able to recieve much of the feedback that users provide on the website. We took this feedback in combination with analytics to enhance the usability of the website.
Here are screenshots of the old vs the new:
While viewing the Google Analytics statistics for the website, we noticed that three times as many people were clicking to view the current week's manafest video as any other activity. We decided it would be best to move this feature from the middle of the page to the upper left. The eye scans from upper left to lower right so placing it here, higher on the page would make it more accessible. All of the video for VOE is served via the Sermon Network. The module on the front page integrates with the Sermon network so that the title and thumbnail shown on the page updates automatically from week to week.
We also made the fader larger. The fader highlights current specials, events and initiatives. It's the only motion on the page and since the ministry is heavily associated with video production, we felt this area should be larger and more impactful.
There are two main videos that reside on the home page also, a welcome message and a monthly web-only video. The old website contained these videos in small video players located directly on the page, we changed this so that the videos would play in popup windows in enlarged format. We know that 9 out of 10 people would try to enlarge the video anyway so we took care of this ahead of time.
We added a general welcome text area. Although most people who visit the website already know what the ministry is about, it's a general usability practice to still include this overview text on the website.
We were quite excited about the middle area below the welcome message. It contains the most recent new articles on the website. VOE produces excellent custom written content for their website from month to month. These articles center around various topics such as prophecy, ministry news, messages from Pam Stone and feature message from Perry. Over time a great resource of archives has been built up. We refactored this part of the website to be arranged in more of a blog format. The articles are put in their relevant categories and the most recent are shown on the front of the website. For those who do not want to keep revisiting the website for updates, they can subscribe to the VOE RSS feed using a feed reader such as Google Reader. The archives are now searchable through the website's built in search engine, which also will tie in with all of the products in the store, providing 100% coverage to search all items within the website.
We also made enhancements to the navigation of the website. We seperated out main options such as the online store and contributions into their own menu items so as to make them more accessible. We included some convenient buttons in the header also to serve as shortcuts. On the left and right columns and in the footer we also included buttonized shortcuts to features such as the current magazine and poll.
The ministry has recently begun utilizing Facebook and Twitter in order to let viewers know when new content is available. We chose to make these links availalbe from the ministry home page also.
Many more optimizaitons were included that are not so visual in nature. We enhanced the URL (web address) format of the website. Before it would use id numbers in the web address to identify the area or article within the website to show. We changed this to be more of a friendly format that uses actual article titles in the web address so it's more easily recognizable.
Finally we drastically increased the speed of the website. Much of the static content is now being cached
We were extremely pleased with the way the design upgrade proceeded. Again we were fortunate to be able to utilize user feedback and improve on many of the areas they highlighted. We're excited to be able to continue to assist Voice of Evangelism in accomplishing their mission via the web.