Catholic Herald staff
Out with the old, in with the new.
With the arrival of the new school year and autumn, the diocese is launching a new, mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website with more than 1,000 pages of content.
The site can be accessed at the same address as the old site, www.catholicdos.org.
Fr. Don Kania is the part-time web administrator for the Diocese of Superior. He’s been working on the new site for the past six months.
A self-taught web designer, he first started using an Apple platform in 1985. That eventually evolved into hyperlink software and html, the language used to create websites.
As he set out to recreate the diocese’s 10-year-old site, Fr. Kania wanted to be thorough – give web users enough information to find what they needed without having to call the chancery. He also focused on connecting local Catholics with the church throughout the country.
“It’s very important that we align ourselves with the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and make it easier for people who access our site to find information on the USCCB and website,” Fr. Kania explained.
The new site is also geared toward current events. The home page includes USCCB news, diocesan news briefs and an events calendar.
When visitors want information on a specific department – liturgy or marriage and family, for example – they can easily access documents and details on events and programs.
“Every department is given a lot of exposure, and it’s important that their work is highlighted,” Fr. Kania said.
Before the diocese hired a web administrator, each department was responsible for updating its own information, he explained. Over time, much of the content got “buried” online and became difficult to find.
“My mission was to get it out in the open, unearth it,” he added.
Fr. Kania also wanted to update the layout and design.
“We have a lot of photos – photos are important – and a lot of white space, so things don’t look cluttered,” he said.
Parishes also figure prominently on the new site. Each parish has three pages – one with general information, one with map views and a third with history – and Fr. Kania also developed a shared timeline on Facebook, so Catholics throughout the diocese can see what is being posted in other parishes and schools. There’s even a page on current weather conditions around the diocese and a Facebook watch on Bishop Peter Christensen.
To enable smartphone users to navigate the site, Fr. Kania also included a document download center, where all PDFs can be downloaded on mobile phones.
For Steve Tarnowski, director of stewardship and development, making the site mobile-friendly was one of the major benefits of the redesign.
“The old site was nice, but … as technology moves forward, we just need to keep pace,” he said. “We took a quantum leap.”
For the development department, that means giving supporters more opportunities to donate. Now, donors can give gifts on multiple places on the site, and they may choose one-time or reoccurring gifts.
Given the recent spate of data hacking around the world, Tarnowski also wanted to reassure visitors that their credit card information is safe.
“It is as secured as can be,” he added.
Deb Lieberg, diocesan chancellor, is impressed by the wealth of knowledge available on the new website.
“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “That’s the first place I go for any news in the church. I’m excited for people to see it.”