Welcome to the New gaycenter.org

Dinean Robinson, Senior Director of Communications & Marketing at The Center, shares what went into redesigning gaycenter.org. The redesign marks the first major update to the site's design since 2013 and functionality since 2018.

Welcome to the new gaycenter.org! As a 40-year-old nonprofit, The Center uses various tools to engage our community members and other stakeholders. Our website is a critical entry point for thousands of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers looking for programs, groups, services, and opportunities. It also brings many others closer to our mission and introduces some to the LGBTQ+ community. 

In doing this work to build a new website for The Center, my team and I had a few goals we wanted to achieve:

A focus on our values

First, coming on the heels of announcing The Center’s new equity-based values, we wanted to ensure the new website celebrated our Centered Communities in an authentic way. We want our entire community to feel seen and connected, not only to the website content but to The Center as a whole. To accomplish this, we knew we needed to create a new library of custom Center photos. In 2022 we hired Black, lesbian photographer Tamara Fleming for The Center’s new photo shoot. The shoot included real members of our community, such as program participants, donors, and staff, and it was shot at The Center. These photos showcase the colorful plurality of New York’s LGBTQ+ community and bring viewers inside our historic location.

Prioritizing the user experience

Second, we set out to improve the site’s ability to capture interest in our work. We want people to sign up to learn more and visit us! The best example of this is our update to the calendar. The new site features a significantly upgraded calendar with a better user interface that gives users an easy way to find events based on topic and streamlines the registration process.

We also focused on improving accessibility compared to our previous site, exceeding ADA standards when we could. Site visitors who utilize assistive technology will have an easier time navigating the site. We’ve also changed our site colors for greater contrast and embraced larger content & text size.

A community-driven approach

Finally, we wanted our site to have a more community-oriented look and feel. To achieve this, we partnered with queer artist, Kah Yangni, to create the illustration you see integrated throughout the site. It evokes graffiti art and a New York City aesthetic. I told Kah that even if we deleted the phrase “New York” from our site entirely, I wanted visitors to still be able to tell the site belonged to us. I’m thrilled with the result.

Another way we significantly invested in ensuring this site represented our community was by working with Firefly Partners as our web development partner. Founded in 2007 by Jen Frazier, Firefly was founded to create a greater impact with forward-thinking nonprofits who are showing up every day to create a more just and equitable world. It’s a women-owned and women and queer-led company that is shining a light on progressive causes. Together we’ve built a website that ensures those who visit it will discover all The Center has to offer. 

Take a look around! We hope you love it. Be sure to let us know what you think here or via social media.