If you've worked with a website for any period of time, chances are you've needed to update a homepage rotator (also called a billboard or a slideshow). It's one of the quickest ways your visitors can connect with content or learn about upcoming important news and events.
MonkCMS and Ekklesia 360 currently provides several ways to manage rotators. However, we thought we could do one better: Announcing Monk's updated Rotator management tools!
I recently sat down with the man who spent hours developing the Rotator updates, Justin Stayton, to ask him about our latest release. Even though Justin has myriad web development and programming skills, he communicates beautifully to us non-developer types.
Thanks for doing this interview Justin; can you tell us about your programming background?
Sure. Since finishing undergrad, I've been a developer with Monk for almost six years now. My work on the CMS and Cobblestone spans from the interface you see in your browser to the database where all of the data is stored. I really enjoy being able to work on the different layers as necessary. The added variety each day is a plus, for sure; but even more, I like that I can work on something like Rotators from inception all the way to finish.
What excited you most about working on the Rotators?
It was the combination of how prevalent rotators are on church websites — really, I don't think I even found one without a rotator! — and how unintuitive it was to manage them in the CMS. Being able to create something from scratch to replace something that doesn't do its job very well is always exciting.
With the explosion of video, I was also excited by the idea of giving churches and developers the tools to build rotators with video — something that was very difficult and hardly used before Rotators. How much more personal and effective is, instead of a static image welcoming newcomers to the website, a video of the pastor speaking to them directly? It's fantastic.
What did you learn while creating this new Rotator feaure?
I don't think I realized how important rotators are to helping visitors navigate a site. Especially for first time visitors, being able to see highlights from the latest sermon, events happening in the coming weeks, or even general information for newcomers is vital for first impressions. A stunning image or video conveys so much more than plain blocks of text.
The Rotators includes a drag-and-drop function, why did you choose to incorporate this?
It just made sense. Drag-and-drop is an action we use in the real world that usually makes just as much sense digitally. Think about it: If I had real, physical announcement boards in my church lobby, how would I move those around? I'd pick them up and physically move them to where I wanted. Dragging and dropping them on the screen is just as simple and intuitive. Hey, it may even be a little fun!
What is your favorite new feature with this release?
Being able to populate a slide with existing content, like an event or sermon, is really cool. Since we saw that most slides were announcing content like this, we thought, Why make the person input the details twice? I really think that moment when you see all of the details pop into place is magical. You can literally create a slide in a few seconds.
What do you think is the greatest benefit the new rotators will provide to users?
My hope is the experience of managing rotators becomes a joy, and not just a chore in someone's day. It's easy to build something that's complex and difficult to use — something that confirms for a lot of people that computers aren't really improving their daily lives. It's a lot harder to build something that's simple and intuitive, but I think we captured some of that with Rotators.
If you're interested in updating your current Ekklesia 360 or MonkCMS website with the new rotators functionality, email us at .
And don't forget to check out the video below to see the rotators functionality in action!