Heal Your Church WebSite

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

Solve THEIR problems – don’t bother them with YOURS!

Imagine going to a church where upon arriving in their parking lot, a ‘greeter’ utters some miraculous word of faith that reduces your roomy GMC Youkon XL Denali into a MINI Cooper. Would you ever go back? I wouldn’t, I need my Toyota T100 extended cab pick-um-up-truck to haul all my old C programming books to the recycling drop-off … but I digress.

I bring up this analogy of unwanted car shrinkage because of some evil JavaScript offered by the good folks at the “Grand View Baptist Church (GVBC) Beavercreek, Oregon,” that to me, has a similarly chilling effect because as Vincent Flanders so succinctly put it in his second book: “… someone forgot that a Web site exists to solve problems — not the site owner’s problems, not the Web site designer’s problems, the Web site visitor’s problems.

The Problem

Here is what I suspect happened, GVBC is using a Flash-based banner that also doubles as a menu system. Because it has all the height and weight that a Flash animation brings with it, they’ve opted to use Frames, the top one to contain the Flash Banner Menu (FBM), the bottom frame to contain the content.

Unfortunately, it appears that the FBM for GVBC is rendered at a fixed width of 750 pixels. So on their Parent Frame Page (PFP) they solve THEIR problem by forcing a resize AND a repositioning of MY browser using the following script:

<script language=”JavaScript”>

DON’T DO THAT (DDT)! Ever! I don’t re-arrange your furniture when I visit your house, don’t mess with my computer’s browser!

The Solution

While the GVBC has compelling content, the navigation is a killer – and the resize/reposition gimmick is a show-stopper. People might deal with the former, but they’re just not going to put up with the latter; especially when you can simply render the banner image as a .JPEG and employ a little CSS to get the menus to flash a light blue when you mouseover a hyperlink.

Doing this would not only eliminate the need for frames, but would give the webmaster the option of aligning the menu and/or the banner via a variety of means – yes, I’m talking tables for those whose CSS skills aren’t as advanced as David Shea’s.

Another benefit of de-coupling the menu from the banner, is that it gives you the ability to update add or edit items without having to monkey with the graphic.

One other thing I might do is create an “overview” page for each of the main menu categories. This way when you click on the one of the choices, you get a summary of the sub pages instead of a sub-menu change over content from another section (very confusing).

Whatta you guys think? Leave a comment with a solution – or commiserate with my minimized browser width. Just remember to play nice.


  1. Oy…first the browser resize, then the Pastor’s voice coming in over my ‘phones and while Diana Krall was singing…it’s the Outer Limits done web style! 😉

    The menu has what I think is a usability issue as well – when you hit the “back” item, the next navbar item you click doesn’t change anything in the content area. This is inconsistent behaviour with other navbar items that do change the content “Did I click that? Nothing loaded”. Probably just saved them from building some index pages for site sections.

    Looks like the flash nav is huring their search engine saturation as well – using the tool at marketleap shows that other than Google, search engines are only seeing 2 pages on the site.

    Oh..and more interesting, Google shows 120 pages, but following the links to them gives me pages without the flash nav – so visitors coming in via Google may not get the “full experience”, which in this case may be a good thing.

    Copyright is 2 years out too.

    The flash nav would be pretty easy to build in CSS, and the rest of the site is nice and lightweight/simple. This would be an easy heal.

  2. What’s ironic about the whole thing is that they resize your browser to get it to the “right” size for their site.

    However, I have a sidebar in my browser which takes up 200-pixels or so. This means that after their “correction,” I have a huge horizontal scroll. The browser was sized perfectly before they “fixed” it for me.

  3. Also, the “About Us” link is nonfunctional.

  4. There is one good side to this – it gave me the incentive to find the ‘Allow sites to….’ options in the latest Firefox preferences remix. It’s under ‘Web Features -> Advanced’. That’ll stop their little red wagon…………..

  5. hey, at least they had a “free gift” and it made me click on it 🙂

  6. Also, the “About Us” link is nonfunctional. This confirms what I thought…you click the “About Us” link and the content doesnt change — but the navbar does. The About Us content is “Our Pastors”, “Our Staff”, etc.

  7. When you maximize it, the content is still aligned to the right side.

    Is this a project that you’re undertaking? Or is someone else fixing it?

  8. If I open it in a tabbed browser Safari it does not hijack me!

  9. But ah, when I click on someone’s name in this comments forum, it doesn’t open a new window, it keeps me in this unresizeable window! Doh! Use a target=new!

  10. For those of us who like to have a toolbar at the top of their screen (even though in Windose XP it still doesn’t work quite right), during the browser re-size you get the top edge of the window stuffed up under my toolbar. Grrrr. (that’s goes for Microsoft and GVBC)