What Works Online
What do you do at FAITH Catholic?
I've been with FAITH for almost four years. I design and develop websites for dioceses and other Catholic organizations. I think of myself as a creative problem-solver, incorporating great design and valuable content to build a website that gives the user a flexible and meaningful experience.
What do you like about Web design?
I like the fact that design and technology are always changing. In 2005, I was building websites for one platform – desktop and laptop computers. Now I design for desktops, smartphones, tablets and many more types of devices. It's a great feeling when an idea begins to take shape and you see your vision become a functioning website.
What Catholic and other websites do you think are good and why?
My local parish, St. Robert Bellarmine in Flushing, Michigan, has a nice responsive website, which means the site adapts to a device of any size. This flexibility makes it easy to check on current events, Mass schedules and the news of the day, whether I’m at home on my computer or using my smartphone. I like Smashing Magazine, a website for professional designers. The website is clean and easy to navigate, but the content is what keeps me coming back. The articles, blogs and resources keep me informed on what’s new in the design community.
What tips do you have for other content evangelists?
When thinking about updating or redesigning your website, remember it is important to have a plan or a strategy before you begin.
What goals do you wish to accomplish with your website? Do you want parishioners to participate more in parish ministries or events? Do you want to educate visitors about your parish school? What do you want visitors to do once they are on your site?
Having a plan or strategy involves content as well as design. It is not enough to put a new skin on old content. After you determine your strategy for evangelization, it is important to tailor the content to your overall goals and then design the website accordingly. Remember that online users scan a typical Web page rather than read every word. This means that when I design a Web page for other content evangelists, it must be easy to read with short blocks of text and eye-catching headlines.
Can you tell us your conversion story?
I was baptized Catholic in 1968 but raised as a Protestant, so it wasn’t until Easter Vigil 2014 that I became a Catholic. I have always had a strong spiritual connection with God. I went to Sunday school and Sunday morning/evening and Wednesday services for 14 years, until my parents divorced. As a young woman I thought my faith community would have embraced my damaged family, but I found that not to be true. Feeling hopeless, I was upset with God. I didn't understand why God had abandoned me, but even in the turmoil of my youth God was always with me, protecting me from the evils of the world, speaking to my heart. God brought people into my life that would guide me to him. I found the true meaning of faith when I started working at FAITH Catholic. I work with the most amazing, loving and creative people whom God has brought into my life. My three-and a-half years at FAITH have been a blessing. Working side by side with the FAITH team is what made me decide to attend the RCIA program. You could say I’m a perfect example of how FAITH works to evangelize!