Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Church Websites Revisited

I was looking at some parish websites using the parish locator from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington website last night. I have some other comments to add about designing these.

When setting up a website it's important to remember that the whole world can see it. Therefore, a lot of the people who look at it will not view it from the perspective of a parishioner or even a neighbor. For example, last night I became interested in the histories of the various parishes. Guess what? Lots of parishes had a section on their history, but there were plenty that didn't. This is something that people from great distances will be interested to read (provided it is kept to the point).

Then there's the bandwidth issue. I have DSL at home, and still I find that lots of these websites are slow to load. There are still plenty of people out there on dial-up (and likely to remain so). It's annoying to have to wait for heavyweight images and objects which don't provide content, especially

  • big stock photos (or for that matter, any big images on the home page)

  • Java applets which do ordinary functions (e.g. buttons)

Stick to standard names for things. They are "service times", not "when we gather". And please, get someone who isn't color-blind to look at your website. I ran across one last night that had blue letters on a red background, and my eyes shimmied for several minutes after I closed the page.


Thomas Bushnell, BSG said...

Point everyone at http://www.anglican.org/domain/ContentForm.html

Especially the design suggestions below that, from the menu on the left.

C. Wingate said...

I hadn't looked at it before, but yes, the Anglican.org parish webpage suggestions are much in line with what I've said here.