Every website exists for a purpose. It is a part of a website designer’s job to make this purpose come to life by maximizing the use of the website’s layout, colors, specs, and features to bring out the message a website wants its users to hear. Doing this is definitely no easy task and the top three qualities you will need in your purpose-finding journey to the world of web design are:
- Skill (The Medium)
- Motivation (The Force)
- Knowledge (The Substance)
Among the three, we’ll be talking more about the third quality today – Knowledge. We say knowledge as if we’re about to talk about a universal breakthrough. Don’t worry; we don’t plan to get that serious. What we’ll be teaching you though are basic know-how’s in eliciting purpose out of your website design. And today, we’ll specifically tackle church websites.
After all, when one speaks of purpose, there are no better exemplars than churches – right?
In order to bring out the purpose of a website in your design you first need to have an in-depth understanding of the following:
What The Website Is About
Of course, you’ll never come up with anything appropriate if you don’t know what it is you’re designing for. Consult with your clients and ask them about their expectations of your work.
What kind of website they hope to get out of you?
What kind of feeling do they want the website to exude? Should it be happy, empathizing, fun, welcoming, etc.?
What message are they trying to get across? And how do they want this message delivered?
After so many years of designing for other people, I’ve already come across very difficult personalities. It would feel as if everything you do falls short of what they had in mind. However, this is usually a result of poor designer-client communication – I learned this the hard way, really. So I don’t want you to go through that anymore, if at all possible. Long story short, you simply need to know the waters before you dive right in.
In the case of church websites, it is important that you:
- Understand their beliefs and where it is rooted from.
- Identify their objectives or what they wish to achieve.
- Evaluate if it’s a job fit for you.
The third point is very important. If the job isn’t for you, then you really shouldn’t take it. Some people say it’s unprofessional to not know how to separate your personal and work ethics – I beg to differ. Like it or not, our actions are affected by the way we think. So if you’re personally not up for it, your work will lack something very important – heart. And I think it’s more unprofessional to deliver a crappy job than just politely declining it.
Who The Website Is For
Next, you also need to meet the people you’re designing for. Not “meet” in a literal sense (that can take forever) but more of just knowing the group better, learning how to be in their shoes, and all that. If you are able to personally identify with your target viewers, you begin to see things in their perspective – and you begin to think alike. If you’re able to successfully do this, designing the website will feel more natural – and easy!
You can read this article to help you really get into your role!
What Function The Website Serves
Lastly, you also need to understand what kind of role the website is aiming to fulfill in society. Is it a website that provides information? Is it an educational website? Or, is it a social and recreational platform wherein a specific organization can meet and communicate online?
All websites exist to fulfill a specific personal or social function. Wikipedia is a data-driven website so it does not need a distracting web design. Pinterest on the other hand, is an online image bank so it doesn’t really need more designs to stand out. Meanwhile, Disney’s website plays with colors and film posters, true to its fun and entertaining nature as a business.
But the question still remains.
When you think of a church website, what goes into mind?
Well, I most certainly won’t tell you what to do. If you are to take anything from this article, it should be this: Ask, listen, and understand. Only then will you be able to bring out a website’s purpose in your design!