It has been about five years since the current LDS.org launched, bringing entire databases of resources directly to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the Internet has changed drastically since then, and as technology’s capabilities increase, so do the possibilities for LDS.org.
The new LDS.org, also referred to as LDS.org 3.0, has been designed to incorporate some of the Internet’s strengths, becoming more visually engaging, more useful to members, and easier to navigate.
While some areas of the site are still in development, the creation of the new site was also a good time for Church leaders to refocus the site’s strategy.
“We’ve had LDS.org for many years, but its content has been driven more by what Church departments need to communicate than by the audience’s needs,” said Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy. “In designing this site, we asked, ‘What do Church members need, and how can the Church help them?’”
LDS.org 3.0 focuses on emphasizing the teachings of living prophets, facilitating online gospel study, providing ways to share the gospel, making materials easier to find, and providing content in several languages.
With so many voices on the Internet competing for attention, the new LDS.org focuses on bringing one voice to the forefront—the prophetic voice.
Lee Gibbons, director of LDS.org, said the intent is to give the teachings of modern prophets and apostles prominence by creating a “gateway” that focuses on their ministry and what they are teaching today.
The Prophets and Apostles Speak Today section of the site features recent messages and provides personal insights from the lives and ministry of the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The previous version of LDS.org provided access to the scriptures and other Church materials, but the new site provides tools for online study.
By signing in to the site, users can highlight and underline passages, take notes, keep a study journal, and organize materials into files for later use. These features are available for all content in the Study area of the site, which includes the scriptures, general conference, lesson manuals, Church magazines, and more.
Content on the new site is media rich, using video, audio, photography, gospel art, and other graphics to communicate the gospel message. But the content isn’t there to benefit only members of the Church. It, like the gospel, is to be shared. Most of the site’s content is integrated with popular social networking sites and e-mail so users can easily share content and direct their friends to learn more about the gospel.
“There’s not only an opportunity, but perhaps a call to action that members should be doing more sharing,” Brother Gibbons said. “We’re trying to enable that.
Another important function that has been improved is the site’s search capabilities. The search bar, available at the top of nearly every page on the site, returns a short list of recommended results, hand selected for many frequently searched topics. A comprehensive listing of all materials that match the search terms is also available.
The results page also suggests synonyms that may return better results and provides options for refining searches.
New.LDS.org is a website for the worldwide Church, and thus it will be rolled out in stages in 11 different languages as the translations are finalized and approved. Approximately 90 percent of Church members speak one of these 11 languages: Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.