I’m somewhat familiar with Teaneck, NJ. As anyone of Greek-immigrant ancestory, I have several relatives in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, including an uncle bearing the same name as my father. Those of you who have seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” may recall the running gag where everyone was named “Nick,” which in my family on my father’s side has been replaced with “George.” It still confuses my ‘xenos/barbaros‘ wife at family functions … but I digress.
My point is that the general populace of this busy suburb are people of education and means. In fact many artists I know now living and working in NYC have their roots in Teaneck. So I’m hoping my mini-review of the First Baptist of Teaneck (FBT) website might inspire some local talent to heal it of some mistakes still common with many church’s online offerings.
Starting with the Church Building
One of these days I’m going to put together a lecture entitled “the Seven Deadly Sins of Church Web Design.” Somewhere near the top of that list is going to be the transgression of plastering a huge image of the building on the front page – especially when that image should and could be optimized and color reduced instead of virtually resized with the height and width attribute of the <img> tag.
In English, while I prefer to see smiling faces, the FBT website needs to at least physically reduce the size of the image of the church on their front page. The height and width attribute of the <img> tag only virtually reduces the size – that is it only looks smaller, but downloads to a visitor’s browser 169kb big.
Essential Info belong Above the Fold
I like the Scripture reference – but below that, ditch the image of the church, or move it so people see the General Information and the Schedule first. This is often what visitors want and need the first time they visit your site.
To get a bit more room, I’d also reposition the horizontal menu along the top that reads [Home] [Feedback] [Contents] [Search] so it sits just below the title banner bearing the Church’s name – eliminating as much white space between the two as possible.
Get Consistent with the Navigation Nomenclature
Speaking of the top-level menu, I might reword [Contents] to read [Site Map]. It doesn’t seem like much of a change, but it is one of those “Don’t Make Me Think” conventions that goes a long way.
Speaking of Steve Krug’isms, I’d also make sure the <title> tag, the title banner and the page name of each subpage reads exactly as the menu option used to get there. While FrontPage did handle the title banners for the webmaster, I think it might be more intuitive to render destinations such as the Schedule Page as schedule.htm instead of news.htm. On this particular page, it might also help to get rid of the Church Calendar of Events sub-title link as it doesn’t really offer any new functionality and could potentially confuse someone when they click on it and essentially get the same page.
That’s about it, at least for me; three items that can be healed in about an hour using their existing FrontPage license and the free image optimizing application, IrfanView. How about you? What two or three things might you heal in a hurry? Leave a comment, but do so with love.