Thursday, October 25, 2012

Young Adults and Mobile Media for Church

At last night's gathering of our parish's young adults (20's and 30's), I asked versions of questions we discussed during this week's #chsocm chat. I was curious about their use of mobile media and perspective. We honed in on this question: Do you access our church's website (or websites of other churches) from your smartphone? If so, what are you looking for?

Most said they just wanted basic information: What time do services start? What's the address or phone number for the church? And they didn't want to scroll through a bunch of stuff, especially stuff that was very tiny because it was not formatted for phones. A link to the full website was great so they could access more detailed information if need be.

Main message: simple is best.

We got out our phones and reviewed a few church websites to see what they were doing. (Most did not have mobile versions.)

We also looked at the College of William & Mary's (our local university) mobile website to see how they used icons for clear and quick access to information.  (See photo.) This idea got a universal thumbs-up.

One brave soul mentioned he was not in favor of the church having two websites (a mobile site and a "fully loaded" one for laptops and desktops) that would cost more money if the site were managed by, say, ACS (which ours is).

Another mentioned how if a church isn't using a blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress (which ours isn't), then it might involve more than simply pushing a button on the site to enable the mobile format.

Still, the consensus was that most young adults: 1) use their phones to get basic information from websites; and 2) they get frustrated when trying to find information from sites that do not have mobile versions.

It was good to get direct input from our young adult users that I gladly pass it along to you.

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