USMB launches new website

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User-friendly design will better connect USMB family

By Myra Holmes

A new USMB website, launching June 3, offers an updated look, user-friendly access to information and new resources. The new site can be accessed at www.usmb.org.

Lori Taylor, USMB webmaster, says the old USMB website, while innovative in its day, was becoming outdated. Goals for the new site included a more contemporary design and easier access to information. In addition, the site offers new resources to inform and inspire individuals and congregations as they seek to live out the USMB mission of seeing individuals, families and communities transformed by Jesus Christ. 

Easy access to information

“We wanted our viewers to be able to find information they are looking for easily and to access that information within one or two clicks,” says Taylor. “Whether people are searching for information about our Mennonite Brethren history or looking for an article they remember reading in CL magazine two years ago, our hope is that they will be able to navigate our website quickly and easily without the frustration of digging through layers and layers of information.”

Navigational tools at the top of every page are designed to be user-friendly. “At any time you can jump to a new department, find a church, check out the events calendar or sign up for our two newsletters: Snapshot and C-Link,” Taylor points out.

Information viewers can find on the new site includes various resources to connect the USMB family and equip them to pursue mission together. The Mission USA pages will feature profiles of current church plants, news from church plants and prayer requests about current and developing projects.

A new feature, USMB Pulse, will provide updates on how USMB is pursuing its mission, stories from others in the USMB family and resources for individuals and congregations as they serve.

“The hope is that the USMB Pulse will be a source of encouragement as together we ask God to use us to transform lives,” says Myra Holmes, USMB social media coordinator.

Viewers will be able to easily connect with USMB social media outlets through a Facebook feed on the home page and quick links to the USMB Facebook page, USMB Twitter account, CL Facebook page and Mission USA Twitter account.

CL Online improvements

CL Online will provide access to current articles from both Christian Leader magazine and C-Link, the biweekly electronic news digest. "We’ve designed CL Online to highlight current news in our USMB family and ministries, while also continuing to provide readers with the opportunity to read Christian Leader articles on their computers or hand-held devices,” says Connie Faber, Christian Leader editor. 

One improvement is that C-Link readers will now be able to access all of the stories in each issue of C-Link directly on the website instead of having to return to the C-Link email as they have in the past. “I am pleased that this new website will be more convenient for C-Link readers," says Faber.

As on the previous website, readers can comment on C-Link and Christian Leader articles but now comments will be screened prior to publication.

“The opportunity to dialog online about Christian Leader content is an important feature of this website,” says Faber. “Today’s readers are not only receivers of news content but contributors to the process of telling a story. We want our website to be a place for people to connect and shape the content of our online magazine.”

Contemporary design

All of this information is packaged in a viewer-friendly design. Taylor is especially pleased with the cityscape background on each page, which she says serves as a reminder of the USMB mission statement, “especially as it relates to being on mission right here in the cities and towns of America.”

Slideshows on the home page and several department pages include photos of real USMB people as they live on mission. Taylor says, “Our hope is that seeing these photos will prompt our viewers to connect at a deeper level and pray for the people and events represented in these photos.”

Partnering with IES

Taylor and USMB staff worked with IES, Inc., a website redevelopment company that specializes in educational & Non-profit websites. Their location in Bakersfield, Calif., near the USMB West Coast office, was a plus as Taylor worked with IES staff to achieve USMB goals.

Early in meetings with IES, Taylor learned that her key point person, Luis Albertson, attends Laurelglen Bible Church, a USMB congregation in Bakersfield. She says, “Because Luis has such a passion for our website and our USMB family, he and the IES team went over and above in creating a beautiful, functional design while working with our budget limitations.”

Taylor says it has been satisfying to work with the IES team and USMB staff to make the new site a reality, and she hopes the site will serve the USMB constituency well.  “My hope is that our USMB family finds the new website more user-friendly and attractive, which in turn will create a desire to visit more often, learn more and stay more closely connected to what God is doing in our local congregations, in our cities, in the USMB family and ultimately in his kingdom everywhere.”

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