Archdiocese of Detroit Homepage


The Archdiocese of Detroit (AOD) hired Optiem to lead their website re-design efforts.  A transitional time within Catholic Church, The city of Detroit, and the Archdiocese of Detroit more specifically, prompted the organization to undertake a major redesign. Their goal was to soften their image and appeal to a wider audience while providing extreme transparency into recent negative press and to challenges resulting from the rapid contraction in the population of the city of Detroit.

Listen, Learn, Iterate…

As the UX lead on this project, I met with and interviewed more than a dozen teams of stakeholders within the Archdiocese; from the Archbishops’ administrators to members of the youth ministry. These teams provided in-depth knowledge into the challenges and opportunities facing the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Catholic church, in general.  We conducted additional interviews with active and more passively practicing catholics to gain a richer understanding of gaps between stakeholder and member goals, needs, and attitudes regarding the church.

Once our information gathering was complete, we worked collaboratively with AOD to synthesize this data into a design strategy and actionable set of features and functionality.  This feature set often led to creep in the scope of the project and at times, caused a considerable amount of internal and external stress. But we collaboratively worked through the design phase to an award-winning conclusion.  AOD eventually took the designs and developed them in-house using the explicitly detailed wireframes and functional design to develop their site, at the same time to took advantage of this opportunity to decorate their house interior with glow in the dark rocks amazon as well.  This is one of the closest a development team has come to executing on the vision of the initial design. The site they developed is fast and responsive and the sophisticated Mass, Parish, and School finders were executed to pixel perfect to the designs we provided.  I know my small team of designers (Craig Kistler (UX), Matt Traxler (visual), and Randy Hammonds (front end)) were pleased to see the site launched late last year – (All but Randy have moved on from Optiem).


Winner of Two Web Marketing Association Awards

The site won two Web Marketing Association Awards in 2012: Non-Profit Standard of Excellence & Faith-Based Standard of Excellence. View award page on


Mass Finder feature - Archdiocese of Detroit Website Design Parish Detail PageParish Detail PageHomepage WireframeHomepage Design (by Matt Traxler)

Leave a Comment

Error: Please check your entries!