The Catholic Standard marked the end of 2018 by launching a redesigned website at cathstan.org that will provide readers with Catholic news and commentary on a daily basis with vibrant new features, joining our biweekly print edition in serving our Catholic family of faith here in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The redesigned site showcases the articles and photographs of the Catholic Standard’s staff and contributors, along with news and columns from the Catholic News Service, an Everyday Faith staff blog and the popular blog written by Msgr. Charles Pope, a voices section with commentary by leading Catholic writers and thinkers, and a Junior Saints gallery of Catholic children’s writings and artwork.

The site highlights series, including a preview of the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama, and has sections on local stories, U.S. and world news, faith insights from the pope and Catholics around the world, and feature articles on culture, like movie, art and book reviews. Readers can also download past issues of the print edition, and can subscribe to the newspaper and take out classified ads on the new site.

Jaclyn Lippelmann, the Catholic Standard’s award-winning photography editor who coordinated our team’s effort with the Canadian firm Glass Canvas as the site was being designed and built, said, “The goal was to create a visually appealing news platform rich in multimedia visuals, one that would display content in an engaging way and allow for seamless sharing on social platforms. Creating an enjoyable user experience was key. We wanted to ensure that people across the archdiocese could easily access and share Catholic news and information.”

Ed McFadden, the Secretary of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, noted, “Our primary goal was to ensure that Catholic Standard remained a vital part of the evangelization efforts of the Archdiocese of Washington and the broader Catholic community.  To achieve that, we sought to redesign a website that was optimized for video content and for content that could be easily shared on social platforms.  I think the Carroll Media team has done a great job of developing a new website that fulfills the longstanding journalistic goals of the Catholic Standard, while creating opportunities for new voices and expanded coverage of the Church.”

Coordinating the staff’s effort on the project along with Lippelmann was Irieska Caetano, the business manager and advertising sales manager for the Catholic Standard and the archdiocese’s Spanish language publication, El Pregonero.

“Most importantly, I wanted the website to be user friendly and all the features to be easily visible and accessible,” Caetano said. “I also wanted the website to give our readers not only great content, but a clean look and feel that would catch their attention.”

JM Boyd, one of the partners in Glass Canvas and the account director for this project for the Archdiocese of Washington, noted that his firm is an ecumenical group that understands “both the mission of the Church and the effectiveness of marketing. We understand the Church’s needs… and how to navigate that with tools like design, web, branding, and content.” 

Boyd added that, “While design is a huge part of what we do, we’re focused more on creating an overall experience that serves the audience…The end goal is not to just look pretty but to impact the readers.”

Glass Canvas has also designed the websites for FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), Detroit Catholic, and the Angelus News site of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Pierre de Fleuriot, a partner and the creative director at Glass Canvas, took the lead on the redesign of the Catholic Standard website. Boyd said one key goal of the effort was “making sure the user could explore seamlessly from one story to the next.”

McFadden said he appreciated that the Glass Canvas team with its experience of working with Catholic institutions in the United States and Latin America understood the importance of evangelization for the Catholic Standard’s redesigned site. 

The Junior Saints section is one of McFadden’s favorite parts of the new site. He noted, “Junior Saints, our regular section for Catholic youth, was a great resource on paper, and now it is going to have even better reach online.  The advantage of having a real Junior Saints section online is that we aren’t limited to a printed page.  Rather than five or 10 pictures, we can post 30 or 40.  It’s a new way to engage younger people on their terms and with their voice.” 

 His advice for how readers can get the most out of the new site is, “Treat it as a newspaper and read it all.  It was designed to look like a newspaper and for it to feel like a newspaper.” 

And McFadden said the redesigned Catholic Standard site, along with the archdiocese’s digital and multimedia communications efforts “are intended to expand the opportunities for evangelization, to better inform our communities, and to engage them.”