UCG.ORG To Be Revamped
June 1, 2010
The new face of UCG.ORG
We’d like to bring you up to date on important plans now underway for our main Church Web site: www.ucg.org. The media department has started on an exciting new project to revamp UCG’s Web presence. The ideas expressed below are still in the development stage, and functionality is still being decided upon, but, they will certainly give you a good idea of some of the functions we plan to implement. Once completed, our ucg.org Web site will incorporate some of the most current options available to Web users today, including social media functionality and a very good search tool.
Our Web design team involved in the project includes Aaron Booth, Tom Disher, Michelle de Campos and Mitchel Moss. In addition, the work of the Church’s Information Systems department will be invaluable in making this happen. The I.S. area is headed up by Richard Kennebeck, and he uses the talents of Paul Wasilkoff and Chris Stewart as well.
Programming languages and server configurations are still being discussed, but in the coming weeks they should be finalized. The whole project is a huge undertaking, but the benefits will far outweigh the time and manpower needed to implement it. The ucg.org Web site will be very different from what you see now.
Rewritten from the ground up
Our Web site systems are being re-written from the ground up to improve usability, navigability and reach to the general public. The new site will bring all content produced by UCG under one roof in an attractive and easy-to-use format. Information will be viewable in many ways—sorted by topic, author, publication or date. The site will contain many dynamic pages, not only static HTML pages. Each user will have a very flexible UCG Web experience.
Information will be organized topically and tagged with keywords. Each of these keywords will bring users to a landing page that will show them all other content with similar keywords. For example: if someone is searching for an article on faith, clicking on the keyword will bring them to a page full of material on that subject—including videos, articles, blogs, sermons, Bible lessons, Bible FAQs and commentaries. This added feature will help those new to the truth to easily find the answers to their questions. The new site will also have a much more robust search function that will allow visitors to find information easier.
The new site will give us the opportunity to bring in the blogs of our staff writers, which will also be found on the topics and tag pages. Bringing in content from all of our publications and all of our blogs means that people who read our content will no longer have to go to many different Web sites to read The Good News, World News and Prophecy, Vertical Thought, and blogs by staff writers. They will have an all-encompassing site that will streamline their user experience.
The new site will be optimized very highly to improve our Search Engine Optimization(SEO) efforts. This will help increase our exposure online so that more people can come to learn the truth. Social media tools will also be incorporated into the site so users can easily share content on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks.
The publications will still have a home page on the new site, so none will be left out of the loop. For example: going to gnmagazine.org will be automatically send users to the new landing page for The Good News, which will retain all the features that we now have—but gain so much, much more.
In addition, users will be able to create their own accounts on the site. These accounts will give them the opportunity to comment on articles and add articles to a list of their favorites. They can find these favorites easily by accessing their account page. This will help people keep a record of the articles they like. Also, leaving comments on an article will be helpful for the writers and other readers. It will be a great opportunity for users to ask questions and connect with the writers and other Web site users.
While this project will take considerable time to fully develop, we are excited about its many applications, as well as its potential to give the United Church of God a more established Web presence—helping us in our continuous mission to both preach the gospel and prepare a people. No doubt, many more features will be added as the project unfolds, and a few may be eliminated perhaps. But, overall, you get the idea.
The home office Web development team would appreciate your prayers for the success of this major undertaking—one that promises to bring many benefits to our online readership and preach the good news of God’s Kingdom more effectively.
Interim Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services