Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

“People who visit on Feb. 1 are in for a treat,” said Anne Tracy, lead website content manager for the Diocese of Superior.

Born and raised in Superior, Tracy’s parents, Tom and Lynn, are still members of the Cathedral of Christ the King parish. The Tracy children – Anne, James and diocesan seminarian Dan – all attended Cathedral School.

“For anyone familiar with the old website, this will be a much different experience. We’ve gone from a ‘digital bulletin board’ to a more modern-type website,” she explained. “Don’t let the redesign scare you.”

User experience and simplicity were major goals of the project. Tracy said accessing information from the website shouldn’t be more difficult; it may just take a minute to find the new route to information.

Starting her employment with the diocese in July, Tracy was tasked with coordinating a website redesign project with the web host eCatholic. The hosting platform carries over from the former website, but the look, feel and organization of the website was in need of a refresh. eCatholic – a website hosting and building company, by Catholics and for Catholics, was contracted to do much of the technical and design work, with Tracy helping to facilitate and manage the project while adding her expertise to the final product.

Tracy has been working in digital marketing for six years, ranging from corporate consulting to church ministry marketing. She only works part-time for the diocese, working full-time for Our Lady of Grace in Edina, Minnesota.

The process included meeting with those that worked on the diocese website in the past, major stakeholders including Bishop James P. Powers, and reviewing website analytics. Tracy shared that Bishop Powers – who often acknowledges his lack of tech-savvy – saw the need for the project to better serve the diocese and prepare for its future.

She was particularly pleased with his comment at the end of one meeting, quoting him verbatim: “‘I’m pumped.’”

“Through these conversations and analysis,” Tracy said, “We were able to determine what most people used the website for, what information was most important to communicate on the website, and how we wanted to represent the diocese online.”

While Feb. 1 is the go-live date, in the world of digital communications, a website is never done.

The main focus for this phase of the project was to update fonts, colors, images and styling. Visitors will see the biggest changes to the homepage and site navigation menu.

The next phase of the update will take different sections of the website and give them a more in-depth refresh.

“That said,” Tracy added, “If anything looks out of place or still out of date on Feb. 1, don’t worry, we’ll get to it, it’s just a process.”

She explained that website content tends to build up over the years and certain pages need regular updates or removals. Over time, the diocesan website came to amount to about 1,200 pages. The current plan is to greatly simplify the website, get content in order, and ensure everything on the website is updated. The process includes working with more than 15 individuals at the diocese to review and edit their content.

Tracy concluded, “We hope that the updated look and feel bring some delight to our visitors and an impressive welcome mat for those new to our diocese.”