Building an online home for the Center for Christian Study

The Center for Christian Study at the University of Virginia has successfully created a physical environment where hearts and minds are transformed in the midst of the challenges of contemporary culture through facilitating wise discussion of the Truth. They wanted to encourage the same in the online environment. That’s how Rhyme & Reason got involved. Through research and conversation it was understood that the Center’s hopes and dreams were to create an engaging online community that would effectively communicate its mission and vision, while providing resources for the college as well as the community and inviting dynamic conversation. Not a small task, but one that we were certainly excited to take on.

As a non-profit, religious organization, it was important for our team to focus on designing a modern site that was sensitive to the content and the audience. With that said, some of our challenges lied in developing a dynamic site that allowed for the sharing of information and opinion, but was careful to remove any risk. Therefore, blogs and discussion forums were created for public use, but require users to login and register before they can comment or post.  This precaution is important for any site, but especially beneficial for one like the Study Center. There was also a great need for ease-of-use and up-to-date information on both the client and audience side. R&R was able to develop a site that utilizes a content managed backend that allows the client to login and edit content as needed. The back-end isn’t the only place where ease-of-use and up-to-date information comes into play. The target audience is able to gather information quickly and easily from the moment they land on the home page. Courses, lectures, small groups and upcoming events are highlighted in a scrolling slideshow on the top half of the home page, while regularly updated News is available through the news/events feed or the Twitter feed. Quick links can also be found throughout the site to usher constituents to pages specific to their needs.

The objective of the site was to offer the community that the Study Center has so beautifully created an online touch point. One that can provide information, education and support even when someone is away from the warm embrace of the Center. Through branded imagery, social capabilities and downloadable resources, I believe R&R was able to achieve that goal. Visit http://studycenter.net to learn more about the Center or just take a peek of some of the unique elements we used in the creation of the site.

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