When it comes to redesigning a website, Carolina Panthers fans occasionally know what they’re talking about


Chris and his fiancée, Lindsay, take in a Kittens game.

8/26/2021

CHRIS HAMPTON THRIVES ON DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, the Carolina Panthers, and reading good books. But nothing energizes him more than tackling a problem — “breaking it down and solving it in a way that is often unique.” That’s a big part of his job as director of web and database administration at the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Recently, his group was charged with overhauling the conference website. “We knew we wanted to modernize our site,” he says, “to make it brighter, more user-friendly, and most importantly, ‘app-like.’” 

Out came the problem-solving skills. After months of planning the changes in a conference task force, Chris says, “I saw that bringing in a team would better suit our needs. Brick River had most of the redesign built in no time after our original talks.”

A web developer himself, Chris threw his own solutions into the mix. When Brick River recommended using a third-party search engine, AddSearch, Chris took things a step further. He applied AddSearch to all sections involving lists of topics. “Now, if you go to any of our lists —  News, Resources — you have instant sorting, searching, and filtering.”

The resulting site is as app-like as they come — with dynamic search, social sharing, and well-stocked sections for news, events, and resources on topics like anti-racism and leadership development.

If you are engaged in a big redesign project, Chris offers this advice:

  • Don't forget the small things. “Even if you don't think anybody ever looks at the tiny little details of where things are, how they look, and how they act, they do.”
     
  • See how the site works from different perspectives. “Load the page on a mobile device and an ultra-wide monitor. Ask someone tech-savvy and someone tech-averse how they experience the new features.”
     
  • Let designers design. “I could always go to [Brick River’s] Barbara Gomes with my technical ideas, and she would design them in a way that looked stunning and fit with our design scheme. I lack a lot of design, and Barbara really managed that."
Reflecting on the site’s transformation, Chris says he and his team achieved just what they set out to do. “Our site is something we are proud of now, and hopefully it is doing what we designed it to do — equipping and resourcing local churches.”

Problem solved.