Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Shady Grove Baptist Church Splash Page

Here is a quote by Vincent Flanders from the January 2001 edition of ibizInterviews about the usability of splash pages:


Wal-Mart doesn’t block the entrance to its stores by making you watch a movie or make you listen to someone who explains the history of the company. That’s what a splash page does. It blocks your visitor from getting to the meat of your site. Also, certain search engines give a higher ranking to the contents of your root page (where the splash page is located) and splash pages rarely have any information. A splash page can hurt your rankings with a search engine.

A point Father Flanders would later reemphasize with a brilliantly irritating parody splash-page on America’s Website this past December.

Unfortunately, the good folks at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Bossier City, LA don’t appear to be aware of this point as they greet users with a rather grainy 22kb splash page that offers nothing more than their name for an obligatory five seconds. Which is just enough time for someone to hit the back button before getting blasted by a MIDI file of “Glory to His Name” — DON’T DO THIS!

If I had only 10 minutes to fix this site, I’d lose the splash page and the MIDI file within the first 5 seconds. I would also drop the counter at the bottom of the page that reads exactly 1 visit, along with the 30kb header JPEG atop their page bearing the name of the church crowned with a yellow banner that reads “Over 10000 Hits” — like this is a McDonald’s or something.

Yeah, I know, that last remark was a little bit on the Strong Bad side, but if you strip away the above objects, lose the beveled buttons and the grainy background that give the page that 1997 look, you eventually find a page with content that is organized. The problem is, the good stuff is hidden under a bowl with contrivances that won’t bring a single person into your church. If anything, they inspire seekers to find their back button as quickly as possible. Remember, people are visiting your site to because they’re members and need something quickly, or are seekers and want to find out more about your church’s personality and purpose. Anything that gets in the way of those messages should be stripped from your site immediately.

A point that is supported in the following statement made by usability expert Jakob Nielsen in an interview last year with Pixelsurgeon:

No, splash screens must die. They give the first impression that the site cares more about its own image than about solving users’ problems. It is true that a site needs a homepage that immediately communicates what the site is about and what users will get out of visiting, but one of the most important feelings to communicate is that of respect for the users’ time. People need to feel that a site is there for them and that it will be easy and worthwhile to spend more time on the site, or they will leave. An attractive visual design helps, as does one that prioritises the available information and features and guides the user’s eye toward the most important stuff. Still, this is a different goal than a magazine cover design, which only has to communicate excitement.

People know that they will be able to operate the magazine’s user interface, so a magazine doesn’t need to communicate ease of use on its cover. In contrast, one of the biggest contributions of a website to a company’s brand reputation is the ability to increase the score for “it’s easy to do business with Company X” on the annual customer satisfaction survey.

5 Comments

  1. “Splash screens must die.” Amen to that!

    Andrew

  2. YOU ARE UNDOUBTEDLY THE DUMBEST NUMBSKULL IN HISTORY TO WASTE YOUR TIME WITH SUCH IDIODIC NONSENSE. ANY PERSON WITH ANY INTELECT CAN SEE YOU ARE A DEMENTED PHSYCO WHO HATES TO WORK OF GOD. TAKE DOWN THIS IDIOCY BEFORE YOU GET YOURSELF SUIID OUT OF EXISTANCE FOR SLANDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT TO MENTIOD GOD TAKING YOU FOR DEFAMING HIS NAME!!!!! THAT IS IF YOU ARE BY SOME MISTAKE ACTUALLY HIS!!!
    SIGNED,
    YOUR FRIEND

  3. Dear ‘FOOLS’

    What an appropriate name you’ve taken for yourself. Aside from being an anonymous coward, spewing numerous typos in all caps and displaying a ‘unique’ understanding of defamation and slander, ‘FOOLS’ delivers their message from the IP address (207.254.200.19) at ShreveNet in Shreveport, LA (http://shreve.net/).

    ‘FOOLS,’ how you indict yourself! From your message, as it appears to me, portends that you have mistaken a constructive criticism about the website as an attack on the entirety of Christendom. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    In my opinion I suspect, but cannot prove, that this message was left by someone who might attend or otherwise be affiliated Shady Grove Baptist Church in Bossier City, LA. I cannot tell for sure since this person did not have the courage or Christian courtesy to leave their real contact information. This in spite of the fact that we encourage discourse, debate and disagreement.

    The website for Missionary Support Services (http://www.shreve.net/~sealemss/), the site that designed Shady Grove Baptist Church in Bossier City, LA is also hosted by ShreveNet in Shreveport, LA.

  4. To Whom It may Concern,
    Let me introduce myself, I am the Chief Technical Advisor for Missionary Support Services.
    While it is not our normal procedure to get involved in these types of situations, I have investigated this incident and I feel it necessary and beneficial to provide the following information.
    Firstly, I can absolutely assure both you and your readers that any such statements were not made on behalf of or by Missionary Support Services. Secondly, upon taking over of the maintenance of shadygrovebaptist.org this spring, MSS designed an entirely new site for Shady Grove Baptist Church. Missionary Support Services neither designed nor has published on behalf of Shady Grove Baptist Church, the particular design that was reviewed by your site.
    We regret that such occurrences do happen, and we hope for your sake and the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that this unfortunate situation is an isolated incident.
    Unfortunately we cannot control what other individuals do, but we wish to clarify this situation, by providing these details for both you and your many readers.
    In Christ,
    Timothy Seale
    Chief Technical Advisor
    Missionary Support Services