Website for the Buddhist monastery
Alex Bakalov
UX/UI designer
Hello, my name is Alex Bakalov. I develop selling websites and online stores. In this case, I want to tell you in detail about how I created a website for the Buddhist monastery in Siberia

For about 2 years I have been interested in Buddhist philosophy and Buryat-Mongolian culture. This spring I met the abbot of the Ust-Orda district monastery (It is Irkutsk region of Russia), and he suggested that I help with the repair of the main building of the Dazan.

When I arrived at the Buddhist monastery and started helping, I was told that because due to the coronavirus and the ban on visiting religious institutions, many parishioners cann't come to dazan.

I and the lamas of monastery decided to jointly organize online broadcasts via Instagram and Facebook. This scheme began to work quite successfully: many parishioners even connected to the morning online broadcasts.

This was one of the reasons why we decided to create a website for a Buddhist monastery. Read more about site development details below.
Main tasks of the website
It was my first time when I making a site for a Buddhist monastery, but even in such an interesting topic, the site development process begins with determining the tasks that the site should perform. Together with lamas, we have defined the following goals for the site:

1. The opportunity to call to each of the datsan lamas
2. The opportunity to inform about future khurals (services) in the temple
3. Accepting donations online
4. Information and opportunity to enroll in Buryat language courses
Main actions on the site
1. The opportunity to call on personal phone to each of the lamas for an appointment. From the very beginning, it was an idea to make it possible to send a request directly on the site by filling out a form. But after talking to a group of lamas, I understood that it is much more convenient for them when people call them on their personal phone. So I created a page for each of the lamas with personal information and a clickable phone number.

2. The blocks with the announcement of the khurals and approved by the khurals. These blocks show people what services will be held in the coming days.

3. A form and a separate block of the site for accepting donations online. In this section, where person can see the payment instructions and pay. The opportunity to order a prayer service through the site greatly facilitates the payment process, so we think more people should use this service

4. A pre-created block about Buryat language courses. Ust ' -Ordynskiy datsan is actively engaged in the support of the Buryat culture, including the preservation of the language. The lamas asked us to create this block on the site, so that after building of constractions will be completed, we can spetial block for informations about Buryat language courses.
Member of Ust ' -Ordynskiy datsan
Comes to the Hural (service) or personal reception to the Lama
Ust-Orda datsan has a pretty good job with social networks. Instagram Facebook group, As well as a chat in Viber, is a well-known local instagram account..

After creating the site, most of the traffic will come from social networks. 70% of the audience consists of women, the average age is 25 years or older. Most people live on the territory of the Ust-Orda district, but there are also those who live in the capital of the region – in Irkutsk.

Most often, people are interested in the place and time of receiving lamas (Buddhist priests), the schedule of Hurals (services), as well as how you can order the reading of your name or the names of your reletives in the Hural.
Fonts and colors
When we have more or less figured out the target audience and marketing goals, it's time to go to the analysis of the site itself.

Honestly, analyzing the choice of the title font now, I regret that I chose a fairly simple Times New Roman. To convey the atmosphere, it would certainly be worth choosing a more brutal font.
Grid and corner style
The grid is the force lines that the designer relies on when placing elements on the site.

I chose a fairly simple and time-tested grid-the alignment of all elements along the left power line. This means that titles, subheadings, texts, and other elements are equal to the right edge.
This approach allows to create a clear system for placing elements on the site, which is intuitive for most people – when all the elements go vertically along the same line
The Abbot did not want to make rounded corners for the elements, so we decided to stick to the angular design:
Margin system
The margin system is a pre-designed distance that we set back from each element. The margins system must be unified and pre-defined.

This will help make your site more stylish and uniform. So that the distances from the title in the first and last blocks are the same and your site gives the impression of being the same to users.

The main types of margins and their size:

1. The distance from the content to the end/beginning of the block is 130px
2. The distance from the title to the subtitle is 60px:
3. Line spacing (interlining) – 1.5 or 1.3
4. The blocks are located on the screen: they have an equal distance from the left edge of the container and from the right edge:
I repeat that these margins allow you to create a single system of symmetry of the site, which makes a great first impression on the site user.
All blocks of the website
1. The first block -we show that we are the official website of the monastery 
On the first screen, we give the person a choice of two most common key actions: make an appointment with the Lama or order a prayer service online
2. The second block – the opportunity to sign up to each of the lamas at the reception
When you hover the cursor over a photo or text, the photo is slightly darkened. This effect shows the user that they can click this element:
When you click on a photo or text, information opens with details about the qualifications of each of the lamas. At the bottom there is a clickable phone number of the Lama:
3. The Third block -the opportunity to order a prayer service online + payment instructions
This block makes it much easier to pay for prayers online. Previously, people had to act as follows:

1. Find information with the details of the Abbot's card in his social networks
2. Copy the number
3. Go to the Sberbank Online app and make a transfer
4. To take a screenshot of the transfer sent
5. Write names to the Abbot in WhatsApp for reading at the prayer service

Agree this the scheme is quite long and many older people who are poorly versed in the nuances of applications do it with great difficulty.

Now everything is done by filling in three fields of the form! After clicking on the "Order Hural" button, the person is transferred to Yandex.Money app where the customer makes a payment using a card.
Next, the person sees a screen that says that the payment was successful and all the data was received by us.
Now all translations come in one place and the Abbot can rewrite all the data before the Hural, just by logging into the Yandex app.Money". All the names are immediately visible there, as well as the amount of the donation.

Below is an example of my test translation while debugging the form:
4. The fourth block - talk about Buryat language courses
We decided to create this block in advance, since the house of the Buryat language is still under construction and should be ready in the fall of 2020. So far, we have decided to just post information about the building's construction. After compiting of building, we will change information in this block.
5. The fifth and sixth blocks – announcements of nearest events, as well as information about the past
In this section, we place all upcoming events of the Buddhist monastery. When you hover the cursor over a photo or text, the photo is slightly darkened. This effect shows the user that they can click this element.
When you click on the card, you can see detailed information about the planned event. In the next block, information about past events is based on the same structure.
6. The last block – we inform you about our location and necessary contact details
Self-criticism and conclusions
In this section, I will criticize my work a little. Because at a distance the project and many solutions look different
In particular, I would change:
1. Font. Now, while I was writing the case, I can definitely say that the font for the H1 and H2 headers should have been more interesting. The classic serif font looks interesting, but does not convey the emotional essence of a Buddhist monastery. But the task of header fonts is also this

2. Grid. The grid is classic, but again quite simple. For example, now I prefer to place titles and elements in different power lines, which makes the site more interesting to the human eye.

3. The quality of the photo. Here I have to make some excuses, since I did not have high-quality photographic equipment on site, which is why many of the photos turned out to be of rather mediocre quality.
The Abbot's feedback about the work
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