In recent years The Archdiocese of Detroit has become a leader in the field of diocesan communications, with a talented and growing team producing some of the most groundbreaking and effective initiatives in the Church today. When they asked us to do a complete redesign and rebuild of their main website, www.aod.org we were thrilled to take on this project which serves as a digital hub for the entire diocese with over 250 parishes and countless ministries, schools, etc.
They'd outgrown their current website, which had become cumbersome, difficult to update, and out of step with the rest of their online presence. Our goal was to create a completely new website which extended their recently refreshed brand onto the web and draw together tons of threads of content and information in a practical, clear way.
A central hub: With the breadth of their web presence and the number of newly refreshed or minted web properties that the Archdiocese have launched (including some which we've been honored to partner with them on: CHSL, Catholic Schools, CSA) it was imperative that their main website connect all the pieces. We created a site brimming with custom integrations that maximized their ability to automatically and easily draw content from across their web presence.
Events and Calendars: We created functionality that allows any page to pull in and display calendar feeds from the Rock RMS instance that manages all of the Archdiocese events – and also allows any calendar to be displayed on the fly inside the AOD.org site.
News channels: The website needed to be able to seamlessly feature content from not only its own news channels but also a wide variety of other sources, including the Archdiocese's recently launched news outlet, Detroit Catholic. The final site does just that, with a simple to use system allowing editors to bring in content from anywhere on the web in seconds.
Advanced Search: Key to the new web experience is the ability to search for content. We integrated a complex search solution using Algolia which provides visitors with relevant, fast results from a wide variety of types of content. Our solution doesn't just bring in results from aod.org – it can also pull from many of the other sites managed by the Archdiocese, heralding an end to the content silos characteristic of large organizations with multiple online touchpoints.
Knowledge Base: The site integrates a Zendesk knowledge base as a repository for a majority of the detailed practical information that needs to be available online – keeping the main site focused and free from stagnating clutter.
Editor-friendly: With such a complex site, we knew that the back-end had to be as simple and easy to understand as possible. So we built it on Craft CMS - allowing us to achieve all of our technical goals and maintain future flexibility whilst specifically catering the back-end to be straightforward and easy to update for anyone.