Archdiocese of Baltimore

Archdiocese of Baltimore

The Project

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, established as a diocese in 1789, comprises the City of Baltimore and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard and Washington Counties.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Web site had thousands of pages of content and had been using the CommonSpot Content Management System (CMS) for managing Web site content. The organization engaged Fig Leaf to redesign and implement the organization’s new public web site and work collaboratively with the technical team and content experts to implement the new site.

The Solution

Fig Leaf hosted creative and technical sessions with the Archdiocese of Baltimore stakeholders to develop a new vision for the redesigned public site. The organization desired to provide a unique way to navigate the site which would enable users to quickly find information about the organization and would include easy to use navigation for key issue and topic areas.

Fig Leaf created functionality for visitors to quickly and easily navigate to key issue areas via a low profile main menu bar and quick links to key content areas. The unique rotating jQuery banner highlights key issue areas and new information as visitors view the home page. The new site features an events calendar and robust custom parish search as well as links to special features and a Catholic News feed. Google Translate is embedded in the page to enable a user to quickly toggle to view any page of content in one of 40+ languages, including Arabic, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian or Portuguese. The new site features Google Site Search for users seeking quick relevant results on the site. Video content is embedded via the organization’s YouTube channel.

More site improvements:

  • Additional News Feeds – The Catholic News Feeds on the Home Page aggregate the latest news postings from various Archdiocese of Baltimore controlled services and lists the latest from each service on a Catholic News page deeper in the site. 
  • Question of the Week – On the Home Page as well as any page on the site, a polling application is used to survey users and tally their results. Results are immediately displayed when submitted and there is a page showing past polls and their results. 
  • Public Event Submission – Parishioners can view upcoming events from the Event Calendar page and can also post events to display from the public calendar. Publicly-submitted events must be approved prior to being visible on the calendar page. 
  • Video element – Using JWPlayer and a YouTube-like skin, the video element allows staff to upload videos to YouTube, reference them in CommonSpot, and then place the Video Custom Element on any content page and specify a single video to play or show a staff-controlled playlist of videos for a certain subsite or topical area of the site. The gallery of videos is available on An example of a single video can be seen here: Once activated with content, the accordion menu on the Home Page also has an area for a Photo of the Week or Video of the Week where AoB staff can highlight a specific topic or event and link to a page with more related photos or videos. 
  • Audio element – A Flash-based MP3 player custom element to allow streaming playback of sermons, messages to the parishioners, and homilies & talks. An example of where this is used is here: 
  • WordPress Blog – Fig Leaf also created a page that is linked to their WordPress Blog that pulls in the blog postings and displays them on the Archdiocese of Baltimore site. 
  • myArch – Archdiocese of Baltimore’s intranet portal is only available to Archdiocese staff and uses Active Directory authentication for login, has group-based left navigation, and also uses PaperThin’s Event Calendar code from the public site to create a calendar of internal and/or public events.

The Results

The new site enables non-technical content owners to maintain and update content on the Archdiocese of Baltimore website. The site was built with visitors in mind and features rich media, language translation, easy to use parish search and functionality that raises the profile of the Archdiocese and reduces reliance on IT thereby allowing for the timely publishing of content.

Army Corps of Engineers
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