Why Simple Always Wins
It's pretty amazing how our smartphones and/or tablets are essential to our everyday. For most hours of a day we are reliant on handheld connectivity. In a society that can't seem to slow down, it seems that smartphones are keeping us engaged and connected in all the ways we want to be. People are moving fast and our handhelds are moving with us. Recent stats show on average we consume and engage almost 2 hours of content from our smart phone on a daily basis. In 2014, smartphones and tablets surpassed desktop users and the growth trend will only continue.
We know people are reliant on their devices-- so, the church must take proactive steps to be relevant on those devices. When you think about it, the connection opportunities couldn't be better and easier. The simple response is to rethink and plan your new communications, website, and app strategy for the handheld era.
With this handheld era, one of the major paradigm shifts is inspired by simplicity. Apple and others have created the expectation with their marketing and products that it's easier to do more with a tablet or phone. And, it's true. They have created the new benchmark of making complex... simple.
GO BIG WITH YOUR WEBSITE
With smaller handhelds, it's paramount that website designs move to a larger scale of graphics, buttons, type, and even page sizes. Why? Because larger scale is critical for handheld users on smaller screens. Larger web design reflects today's simple navigation and experience expectations. The vast amount of church websites out there are not compliant is this way. An older website design has simply not accounted for scalable design that works well on desktops and down to smartphones. Another reason to go big with your website design is to account for the increasing number of people who are using high resolution screens at 15, 19, and 23 inch monitors.
GO LIGHT WITH YOUR WEBSITE
Just last week, we had a website client say "if doesn't need to be on the home page, I don't want it to be there". So basically, she is bought in to the concept that simple communication equates to relevant communication. Today, it's not about quantity of messaging, audiences much prefer quality messaging. This marks a significant shift from how churches have communicated. We've had church focus groups tell us repeatedly that the church over communicates to them. In addition, these groups affirm the wish to "make it easier for me to stay informed and connected to my church." With the lighter movement, websites are expected to have fewer pages to allow for simple navigation on smartphones and tablets. The "overload of web pages" model is being replaced with fewer pages. Taller pages that are easier to skim on a tablet or smartphone is the new standard.
MERGE YOUR WEBSITE WITH A CHURCH APP
We are often asked, "how does a church app fit into church communications today?" The answer is an app should provide another platform option for your church's communications. Apps are the one tap model for connecting to all your church communication assets. So, a smart app solution would be one that integrates with your website's content assets and serves as an aggregator of everything that is current and important to your audiences. You should expect your website to easily feed media, events, announcements, devotionals, news, and blog posts to your app, while also providing easy access to registration, resources, giving, social media, and ministry connections. Don't think of an app as replacing your website, because it won't. Think of an app as another communication platform option for people to connect with your church. Some will like the "contained" presentation and experience of an app. While others will prefer the richer experience of your website. The point is to be strong in both areas to insure greater connection.