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.
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.