In October of last year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ran a media campaign right in the heart of New York City, in Manhattan, to raise awareness of Mormonism and encourage those who were curious to visit Mormon.org. What the Church found was quite interesting.
“Because our advertising ran entirely in out of home placements, we noticed that a significant number of Mormon.org visitors were viewing the site on mobile devices,” said Ron Wilson, senior manager of Internet and advertising in the Missionary Department. “This information was used to present a plan to the Missionary Executive Council who approved the development of an engaging mobile solution.”
The engaging mobile solution that ICS and Bonneville Communications came up with redirected mobile users to a new Mormon.org website. But when they realized it wasn’t optimized to fulfill the need they were looking for, ICS recommended responsive design for the best user experience.
Responsive design is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience – such as easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to tablets to mobile phones.
“Mormon.org’s ultimate goal is to provide content to everyone, everywhere, regardless of the device they may be using,” said Katrina Kennedy Archibald, a front-end developer of the website. “We want people to have the best experience possible when they are accessing our website content. We found the best way to do that was through responsive design.”
Left – Mormon.org on the desktop; Right – Mormon.org on a mobile device. There’s just one site, but responsive design allows the site to display in optimal ways according to the device. Note that the responsive design shown here is not live yet -- it will be released in October.
International demand also encouraged the Mormon.org team to look for ways to optimize content on mobile devices. The Church found that more Church members outside of the United States are accessing the available content from mobile devices, not desktops.
“As we release international versions of Mormon.org, we need to do mobile well,” said Katrina. “We need to be giving people the best possible experience.”
To test the responsiveness of the site, the Mormon.org team also received help from the talent and involvement of LDSTech community volunteers.
“The community is an amazing asset in the testing process,” Katrina said. “We have gotten really great input from them. We plan to have volunteers test even more in the future because the community has so many more devices than we have at Church headquarters. We need them to test it as much as they can.”
The number of mobile devices, especially with Android, can be daunting. When you also include the variety of languages, carriers, locations, and Church units, the possibilities multiply. Community volunteers can provide a lot of help to the Church in testing on their own devices.
By providing the gospel message more optimally on mobile devices, Ron said they are helping with the Lord’s command to have the gospel go forth to all the world.
To learn more about Mormon.org, visit www.mormon.org – either on your computer or mobile device.