“Church Releases New LDS.org,” Ensign, Apr. 2007, 76–77
Beginning January 30, 2007, the first thing visitors to LDS.org noticed was the new look. After several years of research and planning and more than eight months of beta testing, the new LDS.org finally went public.
But the changes to the site are far more than just cosmetic. The changes make it easier for visitors to navigate, use features, and find information.
Church instructional designers spent several months studying and testing the site’s navigability. The result is a more user-friendly organization of information, beginning with six major channels headlining the home page and a more consistent navigation system throughout the site.
The redesigned Gospel Library was launched on the beta site a few weeks earlier. Consistently one of the most-visited sections of LDS.org, the Gospel Library is home to more than 100,000 pages of information, including the scriptures, Church magazines, general conference addresses, and existing curriculum materials. Making that information more useful was a top priority.
In addition to being able to read the text of talks or magazine articles, users can choose audio, video, pdf (full graphic layout), or other versions of selected content. The search function on the site has also been greatly improved, allowing visitors to search beyond Gospel Library and to fine-tune the search.
Construction of the new site also took into consideration another kind of accessibility, says Larry Richman, director of Internet coordination. The site design will allow for adding more languages.
The changes will allow the Church to make the entire site available in nine more languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) with some sections of the site providing content in many additional languages.
The scope of the redesign task was enormous. Long past are the days of the original five-page LDS.org first launched in 1994. The most recent version was launched in June 2000 and over the next six years grew to tens of thousands of pages, not including Gospel Library.
The changes made public in January are the first of several phases to be rolled out as they become available. Users will find that some links will still take them to pages from the old LDS.org until these can be rebuilt and integrated into the new design.
Over the next several months, the Church expects to make refinements and add new features. The general conference section will be updated, several more languages will be added to the scripture site, and material will be added to the Gospel Library in 40 more languages.
Users can stay up-to-date with the latest changes to LDS.org, as well as other new product releases, by clicking the “What’s New” link on the homepage or through the What’s New e-mail. Subscribe for free by clicking the “Free E-mail Subscriptions” link at the bottom of the page.