Where do I begin with this site review? While the website for the ‘Mountain View Lutheran Church of Apache Junciton AZ‘ isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, it does manage to win the distinctive honor of containing just about every ‘sinful‘ element imaginable. It certainly is the type is site I have in mind when I refer to the Body online as ‘a great cloud of witlessness.‘
Let’s start off at the top … note my spelling of ‘Junciton‘ above, it is a cut-n-paste directly from the <title> tag of the site. Moving on to the visual elements, we begin with an advertisement for their free hosting company followed by a banner full of Google ads, one, which on my initial viewing, randomly included “Forclosure Listings.” A topic I’m sure every church wants to have associated with its name.
Directly below the ads is an evil scrolling marquee stating the obvious with a “welcome to” message. Fortunately, this only annoys MSIE users. Unfortunately, other elements of the page caused my Mozilla/FireFox browser to crash. Perhaps it is the use of 63 consecutive characters on line 116 of the underlying HTML used to ‘position‘ the John 3:16 image?
Below the less-than-readable right-to-left scrolling text, a 10kb, 638×173 that is “reduced” in layout only with the <img> tag arguments of width=”184″ height=”24″. A minor transgression when you consider the full-bodied 57kb, 400×409 “seal” image that again is reduced in “vision only” with the height and width arguments of the <img> tag.
This practice of bandwidth death by image bloat occurs several more times as it is clear that the webmaster here isn’t familiar with Father Flander’s famous sermon of July 13, 2003 where he flogs the faithful with:
‘Just because Jesus miraculously turned water into wine doesn’t mean he can miraculously turn your 1280- x 1024-pixel image whose file size is 1.8Mb into an image whose file size is only 74Kb just because you changed the WIDTH= and HEIGHT= attributes to WIDTH=”420″ and HEIGHT=”336″.’
To the right of a warning about the green and yellow dumpster (on the front page), some animated gifs. Directly below the kitschy animated email/mailbox .gif is a java applet offering a menu that could be done in a fraction of the bandwidth and would be far more search-engine friendly if rendered using text and CSS.
Each of the menu links throws open a new window … thus breaking the back-button ability of the user.
Much of the same occurs with the subpages with regards to text, fonts, colors and images. This is only worsened by the fact that none of the subpages I visited offered any sort of navigation back to the homepage. However, some subpages managed to contain a single hyperlink to a third level of data abstraction.
So how would I heal this site in 10 minutes?
Or in MS-DOS parlance:
I know I’m being a bit less generous and a bit more caustic than usual. Maybe I’m grumpy from having to go back to work after visiting Jordan. Perhaps it’s the server move, but pages such as the homepage for the Mountain View Lutheran Church of Apache Junciton AZ truly irritate me. Perhaps because to me, they become little more than self parodies of what not to do.
Perhaps I’m bothered by the fact that we as a Body don’t bother to read the instructions. For example, there are free style guides one can peruse online. There are inexpensive books on the topic. There are several examples of good sites, and free tools to help even the most novice webmaster create a competent site.
Perhaps what I need to do is to play the lottery. That way, when I win, I can quit my day job and spend a week healing sites such as these from the ground up.