Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Emotional entrances

We launched the redesign of a site for a marriage conference last month. The project also included a content management system and an extensive new online registration tool. I’m very happy with the outcome – and the client (Celebrate!) is, too.

When I was working on the content, I realized that the homepage needed some oomph. We had the traditional navigational entrances. But this needed more. It needed an emotional entrance.

A marriage conference itself is usually pretty emotional, and deciding to go can be, too. So, through persona and scent trail exercises, I came up with five groups based on their type (e.g., Newlyweds) or situation (e.g., On the Verge). Then I wrote a short subhead for each to define the heading. I tweaked them with the client and then put them on the homepage.

If you click on one, you’ll go to a page addressing that group and explaining why they should attend the conference. Next is a testimonial from a past attendee, related to that group.

Here’s a sample:


On the Verge
Rocked by an affair or near divorce?

Internal page:

Who Should Attend: On the Verge

Looking for help
We’re almost through. I think I have enough energy for one last ditch effort.

Celebrate Your Marriage is keenly aware that not every marriage is doing well. Issues vary, but couples on the verge are looking for help now. Our no-nonsense, direct approach will cut to the chase and point down the road of recovery. Celebrate Your Marriage is not a quick fix but a starting point to rebuild the marriage of your dreams.

“My husband filed for divorce one week before the Celebrate Your Marriage Conference. He said he would come along anyway out of respect for my family and the others in our group. We weren’t in the first session for 15 minutes when he turned to me and said, ‘You didn’t tell me what kind of conference this was.’ I didn’t know what to say so I simply kept looking toward the stage. Ten minutes later my husband reached over, took hold of my hand and repeated, ‘You didn’t tell me what kind of conference this was.’ I don’t think he let go of my hand for the rest of the event! That was 3 years ago when the Lord used Celebrate Your Marriage to bring us back together. Now we never miss a Celebrate Your Marriage event.”


  1. Mikey,

    Only you know how to make a marriage conference website with an animated gif of Gloria Gaither and a ventriloquist with a pig puppet look cool!

    Nice work
    Steve K.    Sunday, February 13, 2005    #
name Remember