The Diocese of Harrisburg unveiled its refreshed main public site in March following an upgrade process.
Comments about the new Web site generally match those of Bishop Ronald Gainer: “I like it. It is fresh, and I found it easy to navigate and overall friendly.”
The site received much more than a facelift; it also has a greatly improved functionality. Joe Aponick, Director of Communications for the Diocese, said there were important goals for the Web site.
“What primarily drove the upgrade was a desire to have a Web site that was easy for people to use on handheld devices, primarily mobile phones. A large percentage of Web use is now done that way, and we very much wanted to be accessible in the ways that people are using and searching the Web,” he said
The Web site has essentially the same content as it did before the transition, but the presentation of it has been improved. “I think that people will notice a cleaner, less cluttered presentation on this site,” Mr. Aponick said.
Even though the information is similar, a number of pages have been eliminated through the use of collapsible devices referred to as accordions. The site features an improved overall search function for all content. It’s now also easier to find listings of people and places in the 15 county diocese, using maps to help find locations such as parishes, schools and diocesan cemeteries. Finding Masses and other types of services has also been improved on the new site, with the “Find a Parish” feature.
An important goal for the site was that visitors would be able to easily find what they were looking for. That is why the site navigation was important to consider. According to Mr. Aponick, “We very much wanted the site to be intuitive to the user. We did not want them to have to understand how the Diocesan Offices are structured in order to be able to find the information that they need.”
Visitors will find in many cases that there is more than one way to find what they are looking for at www.HbgDiocese.org.
The Web site is more than just a way for the diocese to present information about itself; it is a way to interact with the public, with social media integration. Visitors will find the Facebook feed for the diocese, as well as Bishop Gainer’s weekly Gospel Reflections inviting people to Mass. Links to Twitter and YouTube feeds and posts also are easily navigated. Every news page offers visitors the ability to share what they are seeing via a variety of social media channels.
The site fills many other important functions as well, as numerous diocesan events and the ability to register for them are listed in a calendar/events section. Employment opportunities for diocesan, parish and school positions can be found on the site, along with a section devoted to the important annual collections that support important ministries of the local church. These include the Pentecost Collection, the Bishop’s Annual Lenten Appeal, the Mathew 25 Collection and other giving opportunities.
In terms of the future of the Web site, Mr. Aponick indicated that the diocese hopes to continue to add additional functionality to the site to better serve the parishes, schools and faithful of the area.
Visit www.HbgDiocese.org to become more familiar with all of the good works and ministries of the diocese and share that news.