An Up-to-Date Website: Application

Reaching your audience is crucial to keeping your audience. This applies even more to the internet, where our attentions are pulled in so many directions. The second of the three A’s (Audience, Application and Accessibility) shows how a few design and content elements make a huge difference in reaching your audience. While specific audiences require specific applications, there are some commonalities that work for all. Let’s look at those today.

Show, don’t tell
Yes, we’re reading more and more words online these days—on Facebook, blogs and Twitter, that is. When it comes to websites, however, a picture still says more than a thousand words. Don’t tell viewers your church focuses on youth. Instead, show it focuses on youth. Show images of young people on your home page. Use images liberally. Edit your text liberally.

3-click navigation
The same two rules apply today as in the past: Keep navigation simple and use the 3-click rule. Users should be able to go anywhere on your site within three clicks.

Use the right font
San serif fonts, namely Arial and Verdana, have long been the preferred choice for online reading. Without tails at the end of each letter, they present the easiest reading from a computer screen (as opposed to serif fonts which are the easiest to read on a printed page).

But times are-a-changing! We now have Georgia, a serif font developed specifically for the web. This is an easy-to-read screen font and has become very popular in today’s websites, including this blog.

Frequent content updates
The days of putting a website online and never touching it again are over. Viewers now want updates and they want them often. An outdated, old-news website is an absolute no-no. Many designers now create sites with owner content management systems (CMS), thus enabling church personnel to easily update their own information.

So, now you’ve applied design and content elements that reach your audience. Next, we’ll make sure your site is accessible to your audience.

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Three Things for an Up-To-Date Website (You do have one, don't you?)

Asking if you have a website is hopefully a needless question. Being without one is comparable to Jonah refusing to go to Nineveh—if that’s the case, you really should consider life inside a whale for wasting such a God-given opportunity.

That said, what makes a good website for today’s online presence? Think three A’s:  Audience, Application and Accessibility.

Audience

Identifying your audience is a crucial first step. It determines the look of your site and the message you want to convey. But let’s back up: In order to identify your audience, you must also identify your goals. Here are some possibilities:

Church promotion
If your goal is to promote your church, to whom are you targeting the promotion? Potential new members from the community? Families? Professionals? Tourists passing through? Your website style and content should match that of your audience and their needs.

Member communication
Is your primary goal to unify your membership? Nurture their faith? Increase their awareness of what’s happening at church? If so, who are your members? What are their ages, their careers, interests and life situations? For mechanical purposes, what are their online capabilities? Are they tech savvy? Do they have high speed internet?

Outreach
Now, more than ever, the internet offers the widest, quickest access to the greatest masses. Is spreading the gospel is one of your website goals? If so, the world is your audience and you must assume zero faith knowledge. No shop talk allowed!

That’s it for now. Next we’ll look at applying design and content elements to reach your audience.

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USIDF: Milk, Cheese and More!

usidf

Cheese is one of my greatest food pleasures. As is ice cream. And yogurt. And, well, any dairy product, for that matter. So when Deb Boyke from the U.S. National Committee of the International Dairy Federation (USIDF) wanted a new look for its online presence, I was more than happy to oblige.

As a subcommittee of the International Dairy Federation (IDF), Deb wanted to relate their site to the IDF’s, yet maintain an identity of its own. She also wanted to make a bold, attention-getting statement, one that communicates the up-to-date marketing and research in which today’s U.S. dairy industry is involved.

My job was to create a home page and subpage template that the organization’s inhouse webmaster would then maintain. For its design, I utilized IDF’s blue, teal and purple to create a relationship. I then energized it with a large splash of milk and USIDF photos. Technically, I coded the pages in CSS according to the W3C accessibility standards (a policy I practice in all my web design). This enables the USIDF, a national organization, to more effectively communicate it’s message to all viewers, including those with disabilities.

And now, off for a bit of cheese and crackers…yummm!

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What’s With the Name?

So, what is with my business name?

I admit the name Adunate (ä-doo-NÄ-tay) is a bit foreign. And yes, it’s usually mispronounced and draws a few questions. But that’s okay. It offers me a great opportunity to explain its concept and the work I do for my customers.

Adunate is Latin for “unite, or integrate” (for all you linguistics out there, it’s actually the imperative tense of the verb adunare). Successful visual communication integrates both words and design, and as a writer and graphic designer I specialize in both. I unite words and design for all your communication needs.

Adunate works for other reasons as well. Like, it puts me up front in the alphabetical listings. And adunate.com was an available URL—a major feat nowadays. And finally, after all these years, I get to use the Latin I studied in high school!

Adunate.

ä-doo-NÄ-tay.

Adunate: Uniting words and design for all your communication needs

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