The new Temple Beth El website was presented at the August meeting of Temple Beth El’s Board of Directors. After some lively discussion and appreciation of the work involved in creating a new website, the Board approved the first phase of the roll-out of the new website. There is now a homepage button on the old website which will bring you here to the new website’s domain. The next phase of the transition will involve moving the new website to our permanent bethelsp.org domain. This should be voted upon at the September Board meeting and thus this change will occur after the High Holidays when the technical details can be arranged.
As you see, the new website looks quite different from the existing Temple Beth El website. It is modern and has a clean and simple design. When you arrive at the new home page, the first thing you see is a full screen image of our beautiful stained glass windows, along with our name, tagline, social media links, and a menu at the top with our contact information. This image stays for a while and then fades into other images, ones that show pictures of our clergy and congregation, interspersed with scenes of Jewish life and our newly remodeled building. Then, as one scrolls down the page, you have various items that you would expect to find on a homepage – who we are and what we feel we stand for, a few more photos that you can click on to see a full screen version, a selection of upcoming events from our calendar, a series of announcements, and a “slider” showcasing our clergy with snippets from their biographies. Following this, there is information from the Union of Reform Judaism, with a button that will take you to their podcasts. Finally, at the bottom of the page is a “footer” (incidentally, just like the header at the top of every page, you will see this at the end of every page) which has our social media links, a URJ logo, a back-to-the-top button, a few essential menu links, and again our contact information.
The new navigation system is simple yet multifaceted. The main navigation menu is at the very top and stays there as you move down the page. The menu names are mostly simple action words, Home-Explore-Connect-Pray-Worship-Learn-Give-Act-Posts. Once you click on these, you are on an introductory page for that menu action word, which has a layout of all the submenu items that are available to click on, either from the menu bar, or from the page image itself. Finally, there is what are called, very descriptively, “breadcrumbs” – Hansel and Gretel fashion – as a way to find your path back home. Perhaps it is better to show these three navigational options in picture form:
The pages that you will find under the menu action words are there mostly for informational content that does not change, or at least not very quickly. For example, the Torah School information for the current calendar year, which is only updated once yearly, is located under “Learn.” Everything else, such as announcements, informational news about events and programs, articles from the bulletin and elsewhere, weekly Parshas, etc. will be found under “Posts.” Indeed, much of the content of the website is found there. There needs to be a way of organizing this amount of material, and fortunately there is. Posts are organized by categories as well as by date. Categories include announcements, our Cantor’s column, our clergy transition, our congregation, our Educator, our leadership, news, Parshas, our Rabbi’s review, Religious Action @TBE, Sisterhood, special events, Torah School, updates, website, worship, and our youth groups. This is located to the right side on many of the website pages, as you see here:
And a final reminder about using the new website on small devices. On your smartphone and often on a tablet, depending on the size of the screen and the orientation, there is not enough room to display a menu across the top of the page. So, the top menu bar is replaced with a menu that appears when needed from the right side of your screen. How does one get to that menu? It’s called a “hamburger,” which is a symbol consisting of 3 horizontal lines stacked one upon another, hence the name hamburger. When you touch it, the full menu will come onto your screen from the right.
Here is what that looks like on a full page:
Here is what that looks like on a page that is scrolled down with a condensed header bar at the top:
And here is what appears after you squish the hamburger:
Thanks! And please enjoy your new Temple Beth El website. If you have any questions or comments, or even a compliment, please feel free to contact one of the members of your website committee.