a smouldering wick?

This week the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles launched its new web page.

Having bravely responded to the bishop’s question ‘what do you think?’ I must now decide whether to get in touch with the web designer. So, here’s a question for you all:

If you were going to offer, say, two or three constructive suggestions on the new web page, where would you start?

Think carefully now — I suspect I can anticipate what will be most tempting for you, but what would actually make the most difference?

20 thoughts on “a smouldering wick?”

  1. I’ve already written to her to ask the bishop’s letter is formatted in lines of a reasonable length – being dyslexic, I simply CANNOT read it as it is. She responded very helpfully that she can do nowt about this month but will change it in future.

  2. Hmmm. There are a few areas of potential improvement.

    TARGET AUDIENCE: the phrase *screams* at me as soon as I look at the front page with its jumps from a mission statement to background to LCM(!!) to history to blurb to its place in the Anglican Communion and `in communion with the CoE’ (why? If you’re looking for tourists from down south, target them in one consistent lump with a page for visitors… If you’re appealing to local clergy, likewise…).

    Ergonomics & Design: the menu is non-obvious, feeling relegated to second-place to artwork down the left side (including animated (EEEK!) candle). Items are small words above an out-size celtic cross icon (with gratuitous drop-shadow border). Most importantly, the menu is too tall for a page (so everything after part-way through `prayer’ requires scrolling down to see what’s on offer. There *is* a template whereby each page has a menu and some pretty pictures and some body text but the result looks like the parts do not fit together into a pretty whole.
    Where are news and events?

    Pedantry: The mission statement is missing a full-stop. Abbreviations ending in the same letter as the full-length word do *not* take a full-stop. (“Rev.” or “Revd” with superscript `d’; no hybrids please). The first and third paragraphs of the history page stand out as particularly needing rewriting. The whole site needs a uniform prose style; there is a change of voice from narration to instruction on the bell-tower page which jars.

    Thoughtful geekery: where are the RSS feeds, for site-changelog and news / events? How about using google-maps for the churches? What can people *do* with the site? Does its purpose extend beyond front-of-house to facilitate some interactive form of interactive with visitors or clergy? Where will this site be in 5 years’ time?

  3. Tim — you made me laugh about it for the first time. Thank you. And, you’ve pinpointed the issues effectively (one is so tempted just to glance and say ‘but it’s all wrong’ — if that’s what one felt, of course). Your last paragraph is perhaps a tad ambitious right now, but the other suggestions might be possible.

    Rosemary — glad you’ve made a beginning.

  4. Kimberley – can I take the opportunity to request a change to your otherwise excellent and well-laid-out blog?
    My first thought when reading this piece was – ‘but where’s the link to this appalling website, then?’
    On my monitor I really can’t tell which of your text is a link (I found it eventually when it went orange on me). I think it might be a shade greyer than the rest of the text, but a couple more shades would add clarity without, I think, losing the lovely monochrome subtlety.

  5. Kirstine — are you using a Mac?

    All of the WordPress schemes look different on a Mac. I try to check it on both platforms, but I will admit, the ‘making it go orange’ was the compromise (that and the fact that links are in dark green, everything else is in grey. But I know that’s a ‘colour blind’ trouble spot.)

    I’ll try tinkering with it again.

    (and, I should point out: this is a free blog, for which I pay a tiny sum to tinker with CSS. If I were paying a web designer, I would be more demanding.)

  6. Not a Mac – but I am on Firefox rather than IE. The ‘response’ heading and ‘leave a reply’ look green to me (no colourblind issues here), but not the links!
    Never mind, and thanks for responding.

  7. I’m trying… The trouble is, the way the CSS is written, whatever colour I set for the link applies to all links: titles, sidebar, etc. The only reason it looks different in the post is because of the weight of the font. (and sorry if I implied you were colour blind! not the intent.)

    I’m looking for a colour that will be noticeably different without introducing too much colour all around.

    Let me know if it gets better or worse… (OK — I’ve gone lighter and more blue. Does that help? Off to check on a Mac…)

  8. There is much more about the site that I could say, but my main concern would be that it’s not at all compliant with accessibility criteria and so would be very difficult for a person with disabilities to navigate. Other than that, ditto everything Tim said.

  9. I’m not very technically minded about these things, but on first glance at the Diocescan Web Page I would say…

    Too much on a page.

    The map’s way too fussy.

    The header is too big.

    It’s visually too busy.

  10. `Have we all noticed the candle has stopped flickering?’

    Er… nope. It still seems to be doing it for me, ie not doing it for me 😉

  11. Help! I see no green … and I’m not colour blind, just a mac person. Ah well.

    As for the website – it was even worse before I pointed out a few things, but she seems woefully wedded to the candle. Do you think the big Celtic cross buttons could go/shrink?

  12. Firstly, I’ve noticed IE and Firefox display wordpress differently, if something is “preformatted” it displays as shaded grey and smaller in firefox but as something else in IE! mad.

    I saw the diocese website beforehand and shuddered, the re-write is decent but I echo tim’s comments fully.

    the menu items each being a celtic cross with a TINY title above each has to be changed.

    the candle? what is that all about? I’m completely stumped by that.

    also at the bottom, at the footer or “credits” part, the type font could be smaller also the “email Hazel at….” part could just be written as a mailto: link like “Email webmaster” or even a contact page.

    I think moving the menu to at the top of the page would be a good move.

  13. Thanks, all. I’ll try to get in touch with her on Tuesday.

    (and Chris — my blog had green headings till yesterday; now they are blueish in light of Kirstine’s comments.

  14. My vote is for the candle to go and for the menu to be visible – I almost didn’t see it. It looks almost like a border.

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