On the 8th day of Christmas my webmaster played for me – an 8 track of Elvis singing my not-so-favorite Christmas tunes.
Yup, nothing croons the sacred event of our Savior’s birth like the original culture king singing such greats as:
- Blue Christmas,
- Santa Claus is back in Town,
- Santa Bring my Baby Back,
- Here comes Santa Claus,
- White Christmas
Now before you GracelandersÂ go all ballistic on me, this former opera singer actually enjoys most of Elvis’ stylings. So why then the kvetch about the 8 track as Christmas kitsch?
Mostly to use a crufty old recording-playback medium to point out how often I stumble across a church or charity website whose content is equally crufty.
For those who don’t speak ancient geek, crufty is defined in “the Jargon file” as:
crufty /kruhfÂ´tee/ adj. – [very common; origin unknown; poss. from â€˜crustyâ€™ or â€˜cruddyâ€™]
- Poorly built, possibly over-complex. The canonical example is â€œThis is standard old crufty DEC softwareâ€. In fact, one fanciful theory of the origin of crufty holds that was originally a mutation of â€˜crustyâ€™ applied to DEC software so old that the â€˜sâ€™ characters were tall and skinny, looking more like â€˜fâ€™ characters.
- Unpleasant, especially to the touch, often with encrusted junk. Like spilled coffee smeared with peanut butter and catsup.
- Generally unpleasant.
- (sometimes spelled cruftie) n. A small crufty object (see frob); often one that doesn’t fit well into the scheme of things. â€œA LISP property list is a good place to store crufties (or, collectively, random cruft).â€
This term is one of the oldest in the jargon and no one is sure of its etymology, but it is suggestive that there is a Cruft Hall at Harvard University which is part of the old physics building; it’s said to have been the physics department’s radar lab during WWII. To this day (early 1993) the windows appear to be full of random techno-junk. MIT or Lincoln Labs people may well have coined the term as a knock on the competition.
A point re-emphasized by noted usability expert, Jakob Nielsen whom effectively asserts in his June 27th article entitled “Change vs. Stability in Web Usability Guidelines” that translates to the rest of us that ‘the Web still rocks like itâ€™s 1999!’
How about you? Is your church web site up-to-date in terms of the interface, the data, the markup and the message implements? Or like the website for the First Freewill Baptist Church of Union City Georgia, does your church website imply that youâ€™ve been partying like itâ€™s 1999?
My point? Even though the tunes on the Elvis 8 track are timeless, who is going to hear them now? Likewise with your church website. Just because the message of the Gospel is ageless doesn’t mean the same applies to the data and technologies used to convey your organizations web presence.