No promiscuous text found at Scottsdale Christian Church

If I had to say one thing nice about the website for the Scottsdale Christian Church (SCC) of Scottsdale Arizona, it would be that it is devoid of the ‘promiscuous text’ found on some other sites that publish entire novellas on their front page explaining in their best church speak why all babies must eat.

Of course upona closer inspection of the SCC website, one discovers that there is actually NO text on – making it almost impossible for anyone ‘Googling’ for a church just off route 101 near Eldorado Park.

In short, the site violates tenant number #9 on my  top 10 church website design mistakes of 2007: using graphics to render text.

Don’t do that!

Here are five reasons why this is such a bad approach to church website development:

  1. Obscenely Long Load Times: the page takes too long to load, 33 seconds on an ISDN line, 13 on a T1. Both well above the 8 second rule, which isn’t to say that 78.74 seconds on a 56k line is any dream either.
  2. Search Engine Invisibility: search engines index text – not graphics. There is absolutely no way Google, Yahoo or any other search engine is going to be able to provide top-10 results to upcoming events and/or youth activities at SCC because there’s nothing other than the name of the church and location to index.
  3. Maintenance Blues: every time a single item on the church website needs to be changed, it means graphics need to be re-rendered, posted and tested. I mean the front page alone is comprised of 55 images!
  4. Usability Issues: I think this issue is  best reflected on the SCC Resources page, where URLs are displayed as unclickable text. Users usually expect such items to be rendered as hyperlinks.
  5. Printing and Play: One way to help people get to your church or charity on time and with ease is to make sure your direction page can be rendered in print – and/or renders well on a portable device such as a smart phone. I’ve printed the SCC directions page and what I found was the right-side address and time cut-off for a map that assumes I live within 4 blocks of the church.

Point is, while the Scottsdale Christian Church of Scottsdale Arizona website isn’t entirely  brochureware, its use and usability are as hampered as its searchability because the entire site is rendered as a set of nested tables containing images … when easier to manage and maintain, indexable text would have sufficed.