Mountain Park’s main design concerns were for a clean, open look and feel. The design is based on today’s larger monitors (the previous site was designed to accommodate 800×600 resolutions), with plenty of white space to help the content breathe.
A light palette of greens and blues was used for their sense of calm and peace and their symbolism. They are both symbols for life: blue in that water is necessary for our life, and green in its connection to Spring and the growth and fertility associated. Calm, peace, life, and growth, these are offerings of the Christian faith and an important part of Mountain Park First Baptist’s communication.
Site Structure and Navigation
Mountain Park felt that first-time visitors to the church are the primary audience for the site, followed by church members needing access to church resources, forms, and supplemental materials. The navigation is designed to greet the visitor first (“New to Us?”) and guide the user through an introduction to the church (“Who We Are”), and its ministries (“Ministries”). The navigation then begins a transition to member-focused items. “News and Events” appeals to both visitors and members while “Resources” is an easy place for members to get to the items they need. Finally, the “Contact” page gives users the information needed to contact the church, as well as an online form to take care of their contact needs immediately.
Other Design Considerations
Through analytics on their previous site, we knew that the bulk of the website traffic was coming from Internet Explorer browsers. Since the majority of in-use versions of Internet Explorer don’t support the most modern web standards, the design was kept clean and minimal to keep the site running optimally in these browsers.
The site was built on WordPress as a content management system to allow easy content edits and extensibility as their needs change. As of launch, they don’t have a blog, but they were in discussions about incorporating one.
Still, the blog functionality is leveraged for a special section of the site: “Upcoming Events.” Mountain Park didn’t want to use a separate, integrated calendaring application such as Google Calendar to manage upcoming events, so a WordPress custom post type was used. This allows for native integration into the website as well as simple supplements such as the Upcoming Events widget. The Events post type allows for an event title, summary with all the functionality of a WordPress post, start and optional end dates and times, location, and quick details. The Upcoming Events page then lists events in order of start date and time. Any events that have already passed do not show. The Upcoming Events widget works the same way. Each event listed on the Upcoming Events page also allows for easy integration with desktop calendars that support .ics files (Outlook, Calendar.app) as well as Google Calendar. An RSS feed specific to the events is also available for users with RSS readers.
The image slider on the home page is managed easily on the back end, and a lightweight rotator is available for implementation in content on pages, also easily managed through WordPress.
Mountain Park wanted a little more fine control over their pages, specifically a way to add page-specific banner images at the top of pages. Functionality was added to allow the specification of the image, whether the page title should be laid over the image, and, if the page title should be overlaid, should the title use a light font color. Now any page can have a custom introductory graphic.