Heal Your Church WebSite


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

Hazards of HTML Haste

Allow me to relate how a near-death experience reminded me the importance of moving fast enough to get the job done, but not so fast that I break all the rules – killing cute little 7 year old children in the process.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the inconsiderate individual traveling 50mph on Cary Parkway this past Sunday morning at about 10am. My daughter was the person you almost killed at the intersection of Kildaire Farm Road while you were hastily running a red-light on the way to church. Fortunately I was paying attention, and my wife had just taken the car in for a brake job and tune up.

So what does this have to do with my church web site? Glad you asked …

Deadlines are important, but …

Dates and times are not inherently evil, they only become evil when we forget that they are merely another tool for getting a job done and/or coordinating communications. Meaning such tools only become destructive when people lose sight of said utility – turning the time line itself into the goal.

Case in point the wreckless driver yesterday whom nearly ruined the lives of both my family and his because he couldn’t wait 3 minutes at a stop light on his way to church.

Same thing happens with church web sites. Either an upcoming event and/or an eager web designer fields a site before it’s ready. The result can be any one of the following near-fatal car wrecks on the Information highway:

  • embarrassing typos and misspellings
  • lack of cross-browser support including:
    • JavaScript errors
    • HTML rendering snafus
    • bad or missing Flash detection
  • confusing &/or inconsistent navigation
  • broken links and images

Take time for planning & testing

The only cure for the above maladies is to take time is to take time for planning & testing. This includes testing the functionality of the underlying markup AND testing the ability for a user to accomplish a given set of (conversion) goals.

There are other examples, but the point is simply this: Use deadlines to help move a project to completion. Do not use deadlines as an excuse to blow through the red lights of documentation, functional testing and usability testing.

The 7-year-old you kill may be a member of your congregation.

Postscript

I suspect some of you are wondering how I knew said red light running speeder was headed to Church? Simple, our vehicles came close enough that I could see both he and his wife dressed-up in their Sunday best, she clutching a Bible (yeah, that close). Then again, the way said knucklehead was driving, she may be clutching it just for good measure.

Your mileage may vary …

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