Redemption Church

Redemption Church is a multi-congregational church with 10 locations throughout the state of Arizona. Eight in the Phoenix area, one in Tucson and one in Flagstaff. Launched in 2011 Redemption Church now has 8,000 weekly attendees.

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Background

Since 2011, Redemption has been through three different website redesigns. The first website made was for the launch of the church. Soon after a mobile version and desktop redesign were added because of the growth of the church and it’s changing needs.

Redemption Church is very unique in that it is not a “multi-site” church where there is a live-stream video of one preacher at one location into every other church. Each congregation has it’s own set of staff and lead pastors/preachers that help lead that congregation and teach on Sundays. Redemption Church is also decentralized. Meaning that each congregation believes the same things, same mission, has one person on the Redemption leadership team and is very relationally connected, yet still very unique to its context and community it’s set in. There is however a Central Staff set in place to lead HR, Design, Communication, Finances and Pastors.

Goals

A large part of redesigning the website for a third time was to have more of a central presence for Redemption Central Operations and it’s culture. More and more churches and networks throughout the US and world want to know about the church and how they do things from a structural vision. The previous version of the homepage did not give a good representation of this and how Redemption functions. When someone visited the homepage, they were then prompted to visit one of our congregations subdomains. These congregational sites were very similar with much of the same information, content and did not give each congregation much freedom to add unique content about it’s location and ministries.

The church needed a homepage that represented Redemption Church as a whole, along with 10 subdomain sites for all of the congregations that were built on the same structure, yet very customizable for the needs of each community and attendees at each location. Redemption Church needed a fully responsive site in order to move away from the mobile version, give visitors a clear picture of Redemption Church holistically, implement a beautiful viewing experience around the brand styles that had been updated, provide quick and easy ways for people to learn more about the church, and to create an audio and video sermon library that was easy to find and use.

Research

In our initial research we talked to stakeholders and users of the website to find out the main reasons for the redesign and what areas were needed more attention and detail. We did extensive interviews at each location by asking staff at each congregation to interview their attendees on why they use the Redemption website, pain points, and what they felt could be improved. We were attempting to find the “why” behind the jobs that each visitor needed to get done by visiting the website. We used this feedback and information to assess previous pain points in our old website and structured our new layout with solutions that we believed would solve these issues.

We looked at 18-25 year olds, young families and older families as our target audiences. This influenced the design and layout of our early design decisions. It was challenging to balance the influence and needs of the stakeholders with the needs and feelings of our users. But I think we got to a great middle ground in meeting both needs and goals.

We found more and more people using their phones to tithe, access and listen to sermons, and needing to find out service times and locations while they were driving on Sunday mornings or throughout the week to events. Getting a whole family with kids in the car to visit a new church can be, for lack of a better word, challenging. The easiest, simplest and quickest option was needed.

Here is a sitemap flow of the website:

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Design

My role was to direct the project and create the UX and IA throughout the website, as well as give direction to the development team in making changes based on our goals and our user research. I worked to communicate everything between the Leadership Board, development team and leads at each church location. Redemption Church partnered with Whiteboard to create the WordPress backend and to design the visual interface of the site (through the UX research and UI mock-ups and direction that we created).

Through the WordPress backed, we were able to come up with some layouts that are customizable based on the needs of each congregation and priority throughout their pages. Some of the subdomains have the similar layout structure for certain pages that need to be the same on all sites like staff pages, sermons, giving and more. But most pages had a customizable layout that gives freedom to each location to update and change on their own.

We wanted the overall aesthetic of the website to be beautiful, practical and within our brand styles. The imagery used is AZ specific and we quickly moved away from classic church stock photos of people in community for many reasons. People felt that when they usually come to a church website they are coming for the purpose of finding a community to be a part of and worship with. Seeing photos of people in community, laughing together and other related images created a barrier between people actually visiting. They felt that everyone already knew each other and that they would be the only ones who were not connected.

Throughout the structure of the site and it’s pages we created a z-pattern for readability and quick scanning. Each section of the desktop browser has 2-3 columns of content that can quickly be digested and understood. These sections also have customizable colors and backgrounds that line up within our brand colors and layouts. This gives the editors the ability to change the feel of pages to match the type of content they are placing on the page.

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Outcome

The outcome was a beautifully designed site which uses atomic design principles to create increased congruency within our current branding strategies within Redemption Church. Mobile access increased by 20%, we had countless other quantitative date increase, and we saw bounce rate decrease as well. Through our communication on the website: new sessions have increased by 30% as we reach more users through other communication campaigns and initiatives. The sermon audio and video libraries have worked great and create a pain-free listening and viewing experience within the browser. We’ve had wonderful positive feedback from our users and how easy it is to listen to sermons, tithe easily, access information about Redemption, and get directions to each location.

Other Projects

Various digital and print projects for campaigns, events and brand communication.

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For more information check out Redemption Church.