Heal Your Church WebSite


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

Calvary Chapel North Phoenix

In the past, I’ve joked, “FrontPage doesn’t kill websites, people using FrontPage do.” I think the same could be said for any WYSIWYG tool, especially those that handle not just HTML, but the generation of navigation buttons, banners and other pre-CSS elements. This would include NetObjects Fusion.

Like FrontPage, one generates an entire website with NetObjects Fusion by selecting a template, creating an information hierarchy, and then filling in the pages. The software in turn, handles everything from headers to footers, and everything in-between. Want to add a new .gif rollover for the new page you created? No problem, it is generated for you automagically.

And like FrontPage, NetObjects Fusion suffers from the same Achille’s Heal, that is, if you selected a sucky template, then you got a sucky page. Fortunately, editing and/or creating your own NetObjects Fusion template is far easier than rolling your own FrontPage template. At least this was my conclusion after creating the 1998 version of Redland Baptist that received a 5 star rating (out of 5) from C|Net … back in the day when they did site reviews.

Unfortunately, not every church has someone who can figure out how to create a template, which is why I’ve always encouraged purchasing a template for users of FrontPage. I recommend the same for users of NetObjects Fusion, even though some of the templates that came out of the box are “okay;” at least “okay” enough for or five years ago for me to copy and modify to taste.

This is certainly what I would recommend to the webmaster(s) at the Calvary Chapel of North Phoenix. That is, if they are planning on the continued use of NetObjects Fusion, then the first healing act would be to upgrade from version 4.x to version 7.5. If the stock templates aren’t sufficient to meet modern demands for fluid, dynamic usable and accessible pages, then I would purchase a good-looking template that addresses the above needs and correctly reflects the personality and purpose of Calvary Chapel … but only after he/she/they sit down and reorganize their data.

For example, I count three instances of “click here,” a phrase that should be avoided and supplanted with meaningful text and/or images that are obviously hyperlinks.

Similarly, there is a menu choice along the top entitled “Pastor Bob,” whom I would assume is on staff. So why not make the top menu choice “Our Staff” and lose the bright blue text of to the left and center that reads: “To contact any of our staff, click here.”

Along with bright blue, lime green and cyan are also employed to represent hyperlinks, or as I like to describe this scenario, the users have to think about what should be obvious because of “a wide variety of standards.” Visit their “This Week” page and you get hyperlinks in fire engine red and a tannish-yellow-brownish color. The cyan and lime green are no longer representative of hyperlinks, but are used to yell at the user, even though they are the bulk of the content on the page.

Color inconsistencies and ‘cheap looking‘ icon issues can/will also be resolved with the purchase of a nice looking template … or perhaps by subscribing to an online content management service, though I would think $100 upgrading NetObjects to version 7.5, and another $50 on a template might be just as cost effective.

Send email the really old-school way
Of course, no amount of website generator is going to fix problems like the use of the scrolling parchment Jesus Junk email hyperlink or the bloated 74kb image of a brick building. For that, I recommend buying the book.

6 Comments

  1. >> I would think $100 upgrading NetObjects to version 7.5,…

    I’ve been tempted by these hosting guys…

    http://www.1and1.com

    For another $27 they’ll get Fusion 7.5 plus a year of “business-class” hosting. Also included:

    PhotoImpact
    Hello Engines!
    Ranking Toolbox
    Wise FTP

    If my http://www.siteturn.com contract was up soon, I’d seriously consider moving (only one MySQL database vs. five with Siteturn is a negative, though)…
    HTML Newsletter generator looks interesting…

    I still might move our student site over to siteturn and move the main site to these guys…

    -Frank

  2. Something that bothers me is church websites that don’t have the “basics” on the front page. Like address, phone number, email address, denominational affilliation. There are several “Calvary Chapels” in the Phoenix area. Are they related? How is an affilliation different than a denomination? Am I straying into theology?

    The staff page makes my eyes burn.

    The plan for their new sanctuary looks remarkably like our new (now 3 years old) sanctuary. I wonder if architects have a double secret book of church plans. When a church comes along they just pull one out and charge $100K.

  3. staff page was frightening

    dean – any chance of you doing a heal analysis of http://www.riversbaptist.com
    before you get too excited this is a temporary set of pages for our 40 days of purpose program and will be replaced once we have finished building the new pages. i am referring to your site regularly as i develop them, i will send you the url of the alpha site once its ready to be healed!

  4. Hi Dean-
    Oh, I really like the fact that they had to explain ALL of their menu buttons. Especially “Directions”! Um… gee, I thought it was for programming my microwave. I was disappointed. ;)
    d

  5. i think they changed it
    but its still butt uglly

  6. Subject: A prayer request from our troops

    CH (CPT) Lyle Shackelford, Battalion Chaplain for HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion sends this request:

    As a transportation battalion, my unit will be delivering the voting machines and the ballots to villages and cities throughout Iraq during the upcoming elections. (January 30/31) Our convoys are prime targets for the insurgents because they do not want the equipment to arrive at the polling stations nor do they want the local Iraqi citizens to have the chance to vote; timely delivery must occur so that the elections occur. Encourage your friends and family members and those within our churches to pray specifically for the electoral process. Historically, the previous totalitarian regime would not allow individual citizens to vote. Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership positions within the emerging government; freedom will not have an opportunity to ring throughout this country if the voting process fails. Announce this prayer request to your contacts throughout your churches, neighborhoods, and places of business. Those with leadership roles within the local church post this message in as many newsletters and bulletins as possible. There is unlimited potential for God’s presence in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail (See Ephesians 6:10-17) A prayer vigil prior to the end of the month may be an innovative opportunity for those within your sphere of influence to pray. This is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention. A powerful story about God’s intervention in the lives of David’s mighty men is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-33. David and his warriors were victorious because of God’s intervention. We want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom. David’s mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel. (Iraqi insurgents’ vs God’s praying people). They don’t stand a > chance.

    I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates here at Tallil. My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections. Your prayer support and God’s intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country. Thank you for reading this e-mail. Please give this e-mail a wide dissemination.

    Thank you for your prayer support for me and my family. Stand firm in your battles.