As team works on website problems, more reports are welcome
This is taking much longer than expected — and we want your thoughts.
That’s the word from church leaders trying to remedy problems with the national United Church of Christ website.
The UCC simply launched its redesigned site too quickly, they said.
“We are keenly aware of the many issues requiring resolution related to the premature launch,” said Chief Strategy Officer Cheryl Williams. She is on the staff of UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer. She stepped in in February as interim leader of the UCC’s communications team.
“I want to personally apologize to users of our website,” Dorhauer said. “We work hard to set a high bar of excellence here in the national setting. We have assembled some of the hardest workers and most competent employees we could hope for, and excellence matters to us.
“I failed to meet that level of excellence in this instance, and for that I am truly sorry. I ask for your patience as we do the best we can to finalize the work of building a user-friendly site we can all be proud of.”
Problems needing solutions
Since going live in December, Williams and Dorhauer said, the site’s growing pains have included:
- Pages and sections of the old site that still haven’t appeared.
- Text and image problems.
- Access issues for staff members who need to post information about their programs.
- Subscribers dropped from newsletter lists.
“The redevelopment of ucc.org is quite frankly still in process,” Williams said. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience and disruptions this has caused the church and the public. We want to assure our audiences that we will ultimately present a site that regains the level of confidence you have grown accustomed to over the years at ucc.org.”
How to report trouble
Users have been reporting problems and asking questions. That’s helpful, Williams said. At her request, the UCC web team just posted a new “under construction” box on the home page. It invites users to send their reports to one place.
“We are asking those who engage with the site and encounter an issue to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” she said.
A team will read and prioritize every email, she said. Not every message will receive a personal answer. But users “should be confident in knowing that all such items will be moved into the resolution pipeline for speedy action,” Williams said.
Who’s working on it
More help is on the way, too. Until now, the burden of migrating content has fallen on:
- A few members of the Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communication staff, and
- Cornershop Creative, the vendor that designed the site.
Now Dorhauer and Williams have brought in OrgStory, a St. Louis-based consultant. The firm has worked with the UCC on past branding and General Synod projects.
OrgStory will assist in “triaging and resolving” issues, Williams said, “and making certain that essential content is present and available.” She estimated that will take four to six weeks.
Then, she said, OrgStory will concentrate for “two to three months” on the site’s structure. She said the goal is to make the site “increasingly user friendly and wayfinding much simpler.”
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