What church webmasters can learn from a bunch of dumb dairy cows

Chewing on your cud on how to re-work your crufty old church website?

man and dairy calf Well, moo-ving along back into website reviews, I think it’s time to pony up and milk a good example for all its worth. Today’s prime cut being the website brought to you by America’s Dairy Farmers®.

Yeah, okay so I went a bit over the top with the bovine humor – but my simple point today is about clean, simple marketing sites that present a clean, simple message.

In the case of the website DairyFarmingToday.com, it’s all about less being more. Less wordiness and more pictures that each speaking 1000 words of wholesomeness, not so much of the end products, but of the producers of said products.

I think the same could and should be practiced by many church websites out there, currently creating a cacophony of confusion through either through cheesy clich‚s and/or herds of unnecessary or unrelated information all packed into the home page.

Meaning, if a web site visitor can’t immediately figure out what your church is about in about 8 to 12 seconds online on a Friday night then it’s very unlikely they’re going to be in your pews on Sunday morning.

Which is why I recommend grazing on the various pages of DairyFarmingToday.com to see how clean and neat presentation, easy and obvious navigation, and effectively terse content and imagery all made for an effective marketing message for the people whom harvest your milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

In fact, I have only two beefs about the site (yes, pun intended):

  • the logo on the upper right-hand corner of the website should navigate the user back to the ‘home page,’ not the ‘about us’ page when clicked. That’s the pattern users have come to expect – don’t mess with that; and
  • the search engine needs fixed.

I’d be interested in your comments – moreover any websites modified based on today’s good example of effective design.

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encodeURI v. escape with a little IE7 kvetching thrown in

Jimminy Christmas Batman … not like the final release of IE7 yesterday isn’t going to break just about every CSS-driven faux, 3 column website in the land that doesn’t use clearfix

But I’m still dealing with a situation where some users on a site I’m developing are Mac MS IE 5.2 impaired!

Today’s challenge was to figure out a work-around to encoding a URI since pre-MSIE 5.5 browsers are sans the encodeURI function – and since I refuse to put out a tainted link on said site.

The solution? Detect if encodeURI exists and if it doesn’t, use the more deprecated escape function. As such:

/* javascript */
function MyEncodeURI(sBuf) {
sRet = sBuf;
try
{
sRet = encodeURI(sBuf);
}
catch(e)
{
sRet = escape(sBuf);
}
return sRet;
}

Simple enough, but bothersome enough as it took me forever to Google my memory to remember the try-catch approach in Javascript since no one else out there seems to be similarly afflicted with such sizeable issue with such a simple solution.Now if you don’t mind, I need to ‘prepare my sites for IE7‘ … even though one would think that the onus would be on MSFT to fix any w3c CSS not-so-compliant-issues that cause their new browser to gag-up like a kitty-choking on a furball.

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