|what the webmaster sees:||what the rest of us see:|
One of the few downsides of having tons of compelling content is the fear that someone won’t visit each and every page of your church web site. The result can be pages like that of the Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Austin, TX.
On this page, we have scores of good stuff to read made unreadable by the use of three contrasting font colors on three different colored backgrounds, the main portion of which is rendered against an distracting “crumpled-paper” texture image. Worse, because everything is exclaimed in bold print, the webmaster has even resorted to encapsulating some information between star characters.
The result is that every line, every word, ever letter of text is yelling at the user. So much so that it actually has the opposite effect of inviting users in to explore some more. Instead, there is so much “pink noise” that we are find ourselves tuning out everything except the information that originally brought us to the site. Usually names, denominations, locations, times of service and free food.
When designing a site, we must remember two things. First, our users are purpose-driven. Most users don’t come to browse about. If they do, it usually means they found what they needed so easily that they’re encouraged to look for more. Second, users generally don’t read pages of text … they scan it for keywords.
With these two points in mind, the way I would heal this site would be to re-organize some of the other pages into categories, and reducing the number of menu links per page. The home page would have the major navigation links. The sub-pages would include major navigation, as well as links to sub-pages within the same category. I would lose the grainy background image, and get rid of all the bold fonts, and pick a more subdued and consistent color scheme.
By making the page easy on the eyes while making it easier to navigate we then have a site that is more likely to encourage a visitor to explore than to get what they want and get out.