The new Vatican website, explained

The new Vatican website, explained June 22, 2011

H/T to web wizard Deacon Eric Stoltz.

Click to enlarge.

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16 responses to “The new Vatican website, explained”

  1. This is smart-alecky. For example, one gets to this page by going to, so it’s hardy likely that one thinks it’s only the website for Pentecost.

    The older page was familiar, which made it a bit easier to navigate than the new one, and you do have to be familiar with church jargon for some of the links. “Popes,” for example, would be a better term than “Supreme Pontiffs.” OTOH if one isn’t looking for a motu proprio, it probably doesn’t matter if one knows what a motu proprio is.

    The way I learned my way around the old site was by clicking things until I got what I wanted. Same here. It could be better. Address complaints or suggestions for improvement to the webmaster (whoever that is).

  2. Sure hs is being snarky, but some of the criticism is sell-deserved. Ease of navigation has totally disappeared. The old site was definitely much easier to figure out. I normally use the site primarily to retrieve documents. Best way to do that now is to Google the name of the document, because it’s really hard to find them from this page!

  3. Earlier commenters are right– We could do without the nasty attitude. The Vatican is trying to give us more and more information, more and more effectively. For that, I thank them.

    This is, I believe, an interim site– once finalized, the new site should clear this up.

  4. While some of the snark is just snark, the Vatican site deserves a “D” for usability.

    The lack of historical documents has been an issue since the site launched. How long does it take to scan in the documents from past councils and why, after years, is Vatican Council II still shown as II Vatican Council? I could understand 2nd Vatican Council but the way they have it looks like a Chinese instruction book.

  5. The guy who made the comments must have either a total ignorant or a moron.
    If one does not know what a Motu Proprio is or a “Pontiff” or an encyclical than he should start getting an education instead of making stupid comments.

    Also several errors have been corrected by now.

    I really do NOT understand people who think it’s hard to navigate. I always find what I have to find with minmal trouble.
    ALthough I do use the Italian website (as I know the language) and perhaps that one is more refined than the english version I have no idea.

    I have seen far more confusing websites.

    Also I like the website grahical look as well, it’s pleasant.

  6. You can google anything these days and it is really great on Church documents and all things Catholic. I rarely go to the Vatican site.

  7. I understand that comments on the screen shot were intended to be humorous, but the result was just petty and childish.

  8. The only time I ever go to the Vatican (sic: Holy See) website, is when a search engine finds something for me there. I find the site itself next to useless.

  9. D overall. Same tired look with way too many things distractions. The flyout menus look comical. User experience is still poor. That light blotchy yellow mustard background paper they use makes me gag. I wonder if the fine folks at the Holy See have a clue about web 2.0, user testing, heat mapping, split testing, etc. I long for the day od a total over haul to the website befitting the One Universal Church.

  10. Not quite sure I understand the “petty and childish” criticisms of the criticisms.

    We’re told all the time that the laity have all sorts of gifts and skills that can share on the church. When someone does (in a tongue in cheek fashion, granted), suddenly it’s not okay to criticize or poke fun at the Vatican’s website, as though it holds canonical status that is on par with the First Letter to the Romans.

    Usability and public perception and Christ-centeredness — all reasonable issues to raise when the subject is web design and the site belongs to a church.

  11. I’m the one who did the critique. There’s not a lot of room for long-winded respectful circuitous prose on a screenshot. So for example when they chose to use a horrible picture of the Holy Father with black eyes, I could have written “It seems to me that perhaps it would have been more welcoming and respectful of the Holy Father if more time and effort were taken in selecting a photograph that was more inviting and suited to the resolution of the web.”

    That’s how I would write it for an official report. That would not fit on a screenshot. So by putting “really?” I get the same point across and maybe make someone smile. What’s wrong with that? Honestly, people, the Vatican is not above criticism in all aspects, and whoever did this design does not share in the Ptrine Ministry. Better to laugh than to get angry.

  12. The graphic quality of this website is of the same poor “professional” level as the recently released “Youcat”, catechism for youth. Good content but awful layout, art and visuals. I think the Vatican (in both cases) doesn’t bother with professionalism nor gives foresight to the powerful “drawing” quality of modern day visually oriented people. I truly think the guys in charge of these things must think “We have the truth and thats enough to draw people in; no need to worry about professional quality.”

  13. Deacon Eric, You are more diplomatic than I –I do not scruple to say that the photograph makes the Holy Father look like a racoon.

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