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Konko Church
of San Francisco

A site for a California chapter of a Japanese church, built to welcome and inform visitors.

Time Frame

~40 hours

January through 
April 2023

Task Background

Commissioned to design an original website via WordPress/Elementor for a local chapter of an international Japanese church.

  • Published website 

  • Site map proposal 

  • Original written content 

  • Informational "how to" documentation

My Primary Roles
  • Designer 

  • Copywriter

  • Site/community researcher

Project Overview

Designing and shipping a basic website for a church to help visitors, members, and newcomers access information.
konko site main page snippet 1.png

An Online Home

A member of the Konko Church of San Francisco, also a fellow tech worker, recruited me to help create a website. At the moment, most chapters of this Japanese church don’t have a dedicated local page, with information instead existing on a larger national site and social media. The group is quite active in the local community, so a website provides an opportunity to share information for all demographics, especially for elderly members, beyond social media posts. 


Throughout the site’s construction, the church member acted as an advocate and first point of contact for the church. Weekly meetings and direct correspondence were also held during the primary construction of the website, especially as deadlines approached for local events. 

Foundational Work

I consulted with the ministry to propose an initial site map, built based on research of local church pages in SF. These choices were made based on a mix of assumed audiences based on discussions with the ministry and the member I was working with. First and foremost, the church wanted a place to redirect locals met through local outreach, activities and fundraisers, especially with Japanese festivals being popular in the San Francisco area.


In my research, I also found that many church pages talked about their philosophies, outreach, and services. Once research wrapped up, the site map proposal included pages for educating newcomers on the church’s beliefs, events, recurring scheduled prayers to be posted, and visitor information. I organized each into categories based on what type of inquiries would be common for the chapter.


Once the site map was approved, I collaborated with the ministry to provide site text and information, plus my own choices in content drawing from the church’s needs and my professional experience in copywriting and media site management. Text was kept simple and straightforward for accessibility and ease of information, and phrasing was approved and tweaked throughout the process to ensure proper representation. 

Simple Foundations

To keep the site relatively simple for others to access, we turned to WordPress and the Elementor website builder plugin, which allows flexible construction of pages that others could access. A simplistic theme was chosen based on multiple factors, including accessibility on platforms, ease of use for older populations, and the often-minimalist designs of Japanese web platforms.

Each page has a custom, hand-tailored layout through Elementor’s features to fit its purpose and for device accessibility on both mobile and web browsers. The home page was assembled with hand-placed elements, and column-like layouts were used for pages with a lot of sectioned text (such as the Blessings & Ceremonies page). 


To keep the site looking lively and visually engaging, I asked the church for photos to use throughout. Initially, the ministry provided older “historical” photos that would act as placeholders, though many are still seen around the site, including on the home page. The ministry also soon sent modern photos to proudly show their members engaged in church and community activities, both to accompany pages and to put altogether as a gallery.


All in all, the site published twenty pages of content and information, using a mix of text from myself and the church, with cross-editing between teams. I used WordPress and Yoast to also optimize the site's SEO capacities so those looking for information via search engines could easily do so. Further updates are being handled by the ministry and the advocate member as I moved off the project due to full-time career obligations. 

Design Beyond Design

When accepting this work, I wasn't sure at first which of my skills I would be needing to tap into. The work seemed to tap considerably into a traditional "site design" task, just placing elements here and there, making things look good elsewhere. I also knew very little about the church itself and its needs, and so I went into this design with a "blank slate" approach and good faith in everyone involved to provide guidance. 

Completing this project proved to tap into my full set of skills in user experience design, from people skills in communication to copywriting, information architecture to visual design decision-making. I was fortunate to have an open-minded "client" in the ministry, a good partner in the church member advocate, and a lot of freedom to propose what might be useful for the church. In the end, the site lets the church shine through its strengths in serving its members and community, and its ministry was able to reflect on how it can continue doing so better in the future. 

The church has social media, so this project wasn't exactly "bringing a church into the new age." Rather, it was a chance to round out its online presence in ways that mattered to a broader audience. This new site accomplishes this in a friendly, warm manner that I believe will hold up for many years. 

  • Client coordination & communication 

  • Task prioritization 

  • Time management 

  • Report drafting 

  • Project presentation 

  • Storytelling 

  • Copywriting

  • Site visual design basics 

  • Text publishing/layouts 

  • Information architecture 

  • Photo editing 

  • Business research 

  • Site mapping 

  • SEO best-practices writing 

  • WordPress 

  • Elementor 

  • Google Drive Suite 

  • Zoom

Skills Utilized

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