Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

NEW UCG.ORG Website to Launch

April 7, 2015

2nd Quarter 2015

UCG.org to Re-launch with Responsive Design and Other Improvements!

The Internet team at the United Church of God is always looking for ways to improve our visitor’s experience. Over the past several months we’ve been very busy building something that we think you’ll love! We’re very happy to say we’re almost ready to unveil the new UCG.org website!

Why a new website?

The Internet is constantly shifting in capabilities, browsing habits and tons of other factors. We like to stay as current as we can—so that we’re ready to give an answer when people are searching for God’s truths. We’ve thought long and hard about the best way to organize the new site, what it should look like, and how it will function. We didn’t want just a face-lift. We wanted a change that can be expanded and improved upon for years to come—with a strong backend and thoughtful organization. We think you’re going to love it!

What Can I Expect on the new site?

  1. New, mobile-friendly responsive design

    beta ucg site

    Beta sample of new UCG.org home page

We’ve redesigned the site from the ground up to make it more accessible on your smart phone, tablet, television or any other device that you use. A responsive design means the site should be accessible no matter what screen size you’re on at the moment. Over 50 percent of our traffic is from mobile phones and tablets now, so it is important to us that everyone has a seamless experience when they visit the website.

  1. More deliberate focus on presenting who we are as a Church

The Internet has changed really quickly! For years the strategy was to put as much content on your homepage as possible so search engines could find your site and make sure that visitors could find the information they were looking for. With advances from search engines this isn’t the case anymore. We’re planning to move all gospel-preaching content off of the “United Church of God” section of the website, and really focus in on who we are as a Church.

We’re going to give visitors a much clearer way to find a congregation near them and a really good idea of what they can find when they get to services. We’ll show them our outreach efforts, sermons, and even invite them in to watch a webcast Sabbath service so they can answer God’s calling.

  1. More deliberate focus on presenting the gospel message
beyond today

Beta sample of home page for new UCG.org Beyond Today media section

Just because you won’t see all of our media content on the “United Church of God” section anymore doesn’t mean we’re shifting focus. The new “Beyond Today” media section of the website will be better than ever!

With the coming magazine name change from The Good News to Beyond Today, our gospel message will be more findable and more robust than ever. Beyond Today is not just a television program anymore. Beyond Today is a place where people can find all the wonderful truths of God’s way of life in tons of different ways—videos, Bible studies, blogs, booklets and study aids—and all mobile-friendly and accessible to millions around the world. With a clear focus on our gospel-preaching effort, we’ll have the opportunities to reach people in many new emerging markets and emerging devices.

  1. New Congregation Websites

Along with the other changes we plan on slowly rolling in our local congregation websites, with tons of new features. All the sites will be searchable and findable inside the main UCG.org site now, which means a seamless experience for the user and a much better interface for the local congregation website helpers. All posted sermons given in local congregations will be findable on our main UCG.org website for everyone to hear, and we have a lot of great things in mind for those as well.

  1. New Members’ Website

In Quarter 3, we also plan on integrating the members’ site into the new UCG.org. It will provide a much more seamless experience for our members looking for pertinent member content.

Other Changes

We’ve also been keeping an eye on feedback from users and we’re deciding to sunset a few things.

  1. Simplified user accounts without in-site friend requests or messages

Friend requests and personal messages in-site will not be in the new website. We found a vast majority of users are not using this functionality, and there are many other options for interactivity on the Internet today.

To replace messaging we will allow any user to configure their account with a contact form so others can send them an e-mail message. All e-mail addresses will be obscured for privacy on UCG.org and the function will be able to be turned off. This lets site visitors drop a note to their favorite UCG.org authors and start to build a relationship right away. You should archive any messages you wish to keep now because when the site rolls over you will not be able to access the archived messages.

  1. Look for us on other devices you use!

The future of the Internet is having your website’s content on whatever device someone uses—be it a smart TV, set top box, wearable, phone, or something we haven’t even considered yet. We’ve built the new site with this in mind and hope to jump onto emerging technology as quickly as possible. Our Roku channel is the first example of this, but we want to make sure we’re available on streaming devices everywhere that people have a question about the Bible.

We look forward to everyone’s feedback as we start rolling the project out live. You can expect the first round of updates sometime in Quarter 2 of this year, and more improvements throughout the rest of 2015. We really appreciate everyone’s prayers for God’s blessing on the project and the continued support of the entire Church.

Tom Disher—Senior Web Developer & Beyond Today Media Promoter, UCGIA

Disher-Tom

April 7, 2015 - Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , ,

17 Comments »

  1. I am happy to know the UCG is innovating and going forward in its wonderful mission of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. May God bless you plenteously in your new phase and projects. May all of them go well!

    Comment by Olavo Dos Santos Martins | April 7, 2015 | Reply

  2. Glad to see “finding a congregation” as a very easy to see, and dominant position on the front page.
    Your Friend,
    Bill Lussenheide

    Comment by Bill Lussenheide | April 7, 2015 | Reply

  3. That’s good news…..

    Comment by joan gerus | April 7, 2015 | Reply

  4. This all sounds really super! I’m quite excited. I know Tom and others have put in a ton of work over the past couple of years in further developing this website, so it’s great to get the news about this milestone and the start of the unveiling! Congratulations and mega-thanks to God for His guidance.

    Comment by Don Hooser | April 7, 2015 | Reply

  5. I am looking forward to seeing the positive improvements to an already wonderful site with very much useful information.

    Comment by Laura Roberts | April 8, 2015 | Reply

  6. Can you get the Canadian site to update their website. It does not make a good impression, especially when compared to the main UCG site.

    Comment by Hope | April 9, 2015 | Reply

  7. Bravo, Tom and the whole IT squad!😀

    Comment by Artur | April 9, 2015 | Reply

  8. Glad to see that the new website will be up and running soon. Reggie Warren

    Comment by Reggie Warren | April 9, 2015 | Reply

  9. Absolutely thrilled with the beta sample that gives us “look see” and information about the positive changes to the UCG site! Praying the LORD continue to guide and bless your efforts in helping to prepare a people and share the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.

    Comment by debbruning10@gmail.com | April 10, 2015 | Reply

  10. other than making it mobile friendly, why fix what wasn’t broken?
    and to hope–i think the Canadian site is run by the Canadian office. and its not bad either.

    Comment by Karin Halvorson | April 10, 2015 | Reply

  11. I am anxious to see the change because ucg is my most regular site for spiritual inspiration in this world turmoil!

    Comment by Filius Chalo Jere | April 12, 2015 | Reply

  12. UCG, I noticed that I can’t access my ucg.org account any more, to make comments. Perhaps this is because the site is being worked on?

    Comment by Ailsa | April 13, 2015 | Reply

  13. It is good news (pardon the pun), to hear that there will no longer be comments posted on the website articles. This was never a good idea because people were posting “their own” ideas about religion. This was harmful to people looking to our website for the truth of God. Thanks for your efforts!

    Comment by TennesseeMike | April 17, 2015 | Reply

    • I also agree with the decision to cut the comments on the articles. Great point Mike. God is not the author of confusion.

      Comment by debbruning10@gmail.com | April 19, 2015 | Reply

      • Is it because you don’t have time to address all comments or questions? Allowing people to post is a valuable way for UCG to answer and explain our beliefs.

        Comment by Saenir | April 30, 2015 | Reply

        • Saenir, people are still able to post comments/questions. It just isn’t as obvious as before. For those of us who liked to comment, we were unable to post while the site was still being worked on, but now it is operational. Comments just don’t appear on the front page of the site any more. When you click on an article to read, there are comments at the bottom that you have an opportunity to respond to, pertinent to that particular article – or you can start a discussion. You first have to log in. I am sure that the posting standards are the same or similar, though.

          Comment by Ailsa | April 30, 2015

  14. “We’re planning to move all gospel-preaching content off of the “United Church of God” section of the website, and really focus in on who we are as a Church.”

    Am disappointed to read this. Is getting new people to visit the primary goal? I had to hunt to find the fundamental beliefs now. It’s up to the Eternal to call and bring someone to understanding. This new design looks and reads like any other traditional Christian church.

    Comment by Saenir | April 30, 2015 | Reply


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