Today’s example is for all those times some ‘misraelite’ comes along some usability forum and ‘bags’ on on your site for not being absolutely 100% W3C valid, for using tables instead of CSS, or anything else they can think of to let you know that they know more than than you do … even though they spend all their time talking instead of leading by example:
So in the spirit of leadership from the front and in the Spirit of the Advent season, I give you a site, that though a church website, defiantly flies in the face of my adage “hey, it aint’ a stinking art project.” Today, I give you the first cut at the 2003 Advent Devotional for Redland Baptist Church, Rockville, MD.
I say ‘first cut‘ because there are still some things I want and need to get done with the site, stuff to make up for the fact that the site is a bit heavy on the graphics (for me) and heavily employs tables which make forwarding the content to a printer, or viewing the site with a graphic-less browser difficult. Still, not bad for an evening’s work in which I set out by design to make it a ‘stinking art site.’
Once again, because this information is date-oriented, and because I’m hoping the author of the advent guide will post subsquent materials, I opted to use MovableType as a quasi-blog-content-management tool. And while I did waste about thirty minutes tinkering TopStyling-about with a Layout-o-Matic generated, tableless CSS template, what I wanted to do with the image and the gold borders worked out better for all browsers using tables.
Yeah, so sue me! Afterall, the site still
- loads relatively fast;
- degrades nice enough;
- is search-engine friendly;
- doesn’t employ any deprecated HTML; and
- works with many browsers, though kudos thanks to Vincent Flanders for the BrowserCam shots;
- conveys the purpose and personality of the message;
Actually, while I did go against many of the stylistic choices I would ‘normally’ make for the every-day church frontpage/website, I felt the graphic and layout decisions I made were appropriate for an Advent Devotional. That said, there are still some things I need to fix.:
- There still needs to be a point of contact;
- I need to put in a navigation bypass for text-only browsers;
- I wouldn’t hurt to have some copyright information along the bottom;
- ‘fade’ or ‘wash-out’ the banner image so the header title is easier to read;
- Time and place of any Advent/Christmas events need to be listed on this page;
- I need to create a ‘printable version’ of this page for text-only browsers and printing;
- I need to decide whether or not “Names of God Calendar” gets it’s own category; and
- I recently discovered that changes to my webhost’s development environment are causing Scripturizer to fail (this one bugs me more than the rest put together).
So what do you think?
* morning update * – Based on the excellent input from Vincent Flanders, I went and replaced all “relative” font-size arguments in my CSS file with absolute pixel sizes. That is, font-size: xx-large becomes font-size: 24px. I’ve run into this before, I should have been a bit more careful in using MovableTypes default CSS file. I also employed a lighter shade of brown for the background. Hopefully, it will help the link/contrast issues, though I’m still not entirely happy with the link colors for the side-bars. Any suggestions on how to increase contrast without distracting from the content on the center column?
BTW, Vincent’s book would a wonderful Christmas present for the webservant in your church family. Buy hundreds of copies today!-)