I would love to live and work in the Raleigh, Durham, RTP area of North Carolina … I’m fed-up enough with Rockville that if I could find a job in NC today, I’d move tomorrow. Barring that, I’d settle on Charleston, a charming community whose economy is just now recovering from the damage done when Jimmy Carter moved several Naval bases from this port city to neighboring Georgia.
Yet even with their ‘Digital Corridor’ initiative, it is not surprising to find a church in North Charleston that may or may not be graced with a code monkey, geek type such as the regular readers of this blog. Perhaps that is why I found myself blindly feeling about for my RayBans™ after my visit to the website of the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church of North Charleston, South Carolina.
I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll just work from top to bottom until ‘I can’t take it no more.’
The very first thing we see is a bright green, animated gif motioning us to “ENTER SITE NOW,” a prompt which begs the question, if you have to employ a flashing sign to get past your splash page, then what does that say about your the intuitiveness of your hyperlink? Moreover, what does that say about the utility of your splash page?
Just below, in huge lime green colors is a welcome message that consumes just about every inch of usable space ‘above the fold.’ Well, that and beveled animated ‘email me’ gif button followed by a graphic of the proposed church floating that looks as if it has been uprooted by a hurricane … or is it supposed to be floating on a cloud? See the problem?
After all this, we’re visually assaulted with a nice bright cyan color that is equally intense on the fire engine red background, a scrolling marquee with something about vision … I couldn’t read it, it went by too fast.
Below that, an .AU file which when played, reveals an audio technician who needs to back off on the reverb.
Below that, animated gifs often used for under construction … only this time, it headers links regarding the construction of their new building. I had to click on those links to figure that out. In other words, here we have a church website that includes just about every deadly sin of church web design sans the dreaded spinning cross.
So how do I heal this site? I don’t, I start over, especially after viewing some of the subpages.
Like many similar cases we’ve discussed here in the past, there is a modest but useful informational framework. Modest in that, at least to me, the site is missing some important content, for example, where does the ‘Missionary in Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church come from? There is not enough information on the ‘Auxiliaries‘ page to figure this out. Instead, a page such as this should be drawn and quartered … well grouped into several pages so we can get an idea of the numerous wonderful activities that obviously go on at this church.
And that’s my larger point, they appear to have alot going on, so much so they can afford to expand with an ambitious building project, but I’m used to extruding the hidden information in a poorly designed site. My fear is that once again, we’ve found a wonderful church with a wonderfully unique purpose and personality within God’s body, but they’ve hidden their light under a bowl of bad and/or arcane design techniques.
Again, here is another case where a church might benefit from one of the many low cost turnkey content management solutions available these days. It’s only a matter of these fine folks sitting down and doing the dirty work of a comprehensive needs analysis … and then inputting all their great stuff into a great page.
What do you think? Got an opinion, a hot job lead? Leave me a comment, we’ll discuss.