One of the things on my long list of things I’ve always wanted to do for this site is to establish a gallery of Jesus Junk.
After visiting “The Truckers’ Haven Online Internet Truck Stop & Truckers Chapel” I think such an effort might be redundant.
As I’m writing this article, I have yet to summon the courage to scroll down past the fold. Even so, I count about six or seven animated gifs in an upper page field containing at least twelve images that either look a bit kitschy, or are entirely unrelated to the content. About the only real-world comparison that comes to mind is the right field wall at Grove Stadium in Frederick, MD (a very family friendly minor league baseball park, by the way).
Pause … breath … relax ...
Okay, during that little break, I ran the website through WebSiteOptimization.com’s free Web Page Speed Report service. It detects Fifty-Three images. 53! I don’t even think I have that many images combined over at Redland Baptist, yet the Truckers’ Haven has them all on one page.
At least that explains why the page takes close to 10 seconds to load on my beefy DSL line; that would be close to 60 seconds for those of you dialing in at 56k.
Okay pray for me … I’m going in
It’s worse than I thought. Not as many animated .gifs but plenty of banners along the bottom just below the text – that is just below the text for those of you who aren’t using Mozilla FireFox. In that case, you’re spared reading the text as the bottom images bubble up onto of the last paragraph or three.
Now I realize this is the second trucker’s site I’ve reviewed in the past few weeks. I also realize truckers have different tastes and interests – which are as legitimate as mine. So don’t read this as an attack on truckers, rather understand it as an admonishment against bad web design that fails to convey its intended purpose and personality … and folks, we’ve got a whole trailer of it here. Which is too bad, because if you situate your face about 6″ from the screen and squint hard enough, you can see they have a worthwhile ministry:
“Our goal at the Truckers’ Haven is to provide links to resources to truckers for personal, spiritual, and trucking needs, whether on the road or safe at home.”
Putting the Brakes on bad Web Design
So here’s how I’d heal this website in about an hour:
- Use whatever means necessary to teach the webmaster that content is king.
- Open a TypePad account.
- Post one article per link, giving it a verbose description that brings search engine traffic into your ministry, and helps out those with specific issues find the resources they need.
- Once the new site is up, delete all the old files and never speak of them again.
How about you? How would you help this ministry manage their content on the cheap? I’d be interested in your opinions and suggestions.