Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Amateur Web Page Design

Let's put this right out front: I'm not a professional web page designer. I'm not even a low-handicap amateur web page designer. I flunked web page design.

However, I have put together at least one web page that gets a lot of attention in its field — more for its content than for its looks. So, I guess, I'm a somewhat competent web page designer.

As a result, over the last dozen years or so I've been in charge of keeping up my church's web page. The thing just grew, sort of like Topsy. It started out as a high school web design project, the designer left for college and I just kept adding things. Sermon pages, Christian Education pages, newsletters, etc.

It got to be a bit of a mess.

So when the new Pastor arrived, we started on redesigning the site. We looked at a Church web page design webinar, and looked at countless church home pages. The basic rule seems to be that you want your home page to list the worship times, how to find your church, some pictures, and a statement of welcome. Rather compactly, since you want all of that information to be available at a glance, regardless of the screen size of your visitor's computer. Everything else is in the menu. My favorite is this one from the Church down the road, but others disagree. After considerable discussion, we ended up with, Ta-dah!!!

New and Improved United Parish of Bowie Website

Which, I admit, looks a lot better than the old.

The new site, except for the newsletter archive (mostly PDFs), is in XHTML, with a reasonable amount of CSS.

While I gleaned most of the information I needed for the website from, duh, the web, the Elizabeth Castro's HTML, XHTML & CSS was well thumbed during the entire exercise. In particular whenever anyone asked me why something didn't display properly using IE7.

This blog originally started out as my personal notebook for working on Linux systems. So please indulge me over the next few weeks as I use it as my personal notebook for working on web pages. Hopefully you'll find something useful. If so, feel free to leave comments. And if something I've done looks completely silly, post a comment about that, too.


devnet said...

I myself would use Wordpress as a CMS for any website. It's easily the fastest and best way to get a professional, well designed site up and running...and publishing pages is pretty simple to learn for the people your turn it over to when things are done.

rcjhawk said...

Hmm. I'd always thought of Wordpress as blog publishing software, not something for building websites. I'll look into it, in preparation for the time I'm ready to hand the thing over to someone else.

For now, though, I enjoy looking into the nuts and bolts of it all. E.g., if I was using Wordpress, I'd never know (nor care), how to write my own RSS file.