Josh worked with a lay committee and synagogue staff to totally redesign Congregation Beth Jacob’s website.
Goal-Oriented Site Development
In the initial planning stages, the congregation’s communications committee articulated objectives for the site that included:
- Telling CBJ’s Story. Create a website that effectively reflects the unique qualities of Congregation Beth Jacob, with an emphasis on people and narrative.
- Accessibility of Information. One of the site’s primary objectives is to be a clearinghouse of information for community members. That information needs to be simple for site users to find, organized as intuitively as possible, and easy to use.
- Ease of Management. The site needs to be incredibly simple to update and maintain. Synagogue staff and leadership need to be able to keep information current (and add new information) without it being a confusing, difficult, time-consuming, or technologically complicated task. Ideally, site content should integrate easily with the synagogue’s other communication vehicles (print newsletter and email bulletin, for example) so as to streamline staff workflow.
The design of the site — including a custom WordPress theme coded from scratch — reflects these goals. So does the site’s underlying architecture, which employs special templates that populate pages with dynamic content. For example, CBJ staff members can create an event that will appear on the site’s calendar as well as on the appropriate sub-pages of the site depending on simple metadata “tagging.” An event that’s been given the tags “worship” and “religious school” will appear on the Upcoming Events listing on the sidebar of Worship pages as well as on the religious school calendar. As a result, it’s easy for staff to maintain the site, and when visitors go searching for specific information, it’s current and exactly where they expect it to be.
Rich on Features, Lean on Complexity
CBJ staff and leadership also have the ability to post content (text, pictures, video, calendar events, links, etc.) via email or mobile app, and are be able to utilize user permissions to designate various levels of site updating abilities to different individuals.
Full-Service Web Development
The Motech Agency handled CBJ’s transition to a new web host, moved online forms from the congregation’s JotForm account into a new internal form-management system, and built integration with the congregation’s existing calendaring system (CalendarWiz).
Josh also provided photography for the site, including the sanctuary image on the homepage and the staff headshots.