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Web Development Job
Ceagon Xylas
Member #5,495
February 2005
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I just received a job as a web developer for Elevation Church. My only goal is, I have to make their site look good. I'm excited, seeing as I'm 18 and have no degree at all. I feel it's a very open-ended opprotunity.

Any web developers here wanna drop in any hints for the job or the website design are welcome to throw them out here. ;D

Karel Kohout
Member #5,968
June 2005
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I'm not a web developer, but I recommend to get rid off the flash - not only it prevents smooth surfing but you also can't copy any text from the website (e.g. telephone number), which is extremely annoying.

James Stanley
Member #7,275
May 2006
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Definitely lose the flash.

X-G
Member #856
December 2000
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Drop the Flash, make it more colorful (but keep it consistent) and add more pictures to break up the monotony.

--
Since 2008-Jun-18, democracy in Sweden is dead. | 悪霊退散!悪霊退散!怨霊、物の怪、困った時は ドーマン!セーマン!ドーマン!セーマン! 直ぐに呼びましょう陰陽師レッツゴー!

Ceagon Xylas
Member #5,495
February 2005
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Advice well taken. I'm not a big fan of flash either, unless it's done extremely well. That's rare.

Still, we still need a media player which will play movies and mp3s. Would you all suggest using flash for that? I don't know if I can talk my boss out of using flash for at least that, but if anyone a better alternative, I'd at least try to ;)

[edit]
Oh! Suggestions for a good JavaScript editor?

X-G
Member #856
December 2000
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There are many free, open source FLV players out there, and for once, this is actually appropriate use of Flash. The same goes for MP3 players. Just -- and this is important -- don't put the MP3 player on every single page (on one page only), and most certainly don't make it autoplay wherever you put it.

--
Since 2008-Jun-18, democracy in Sweden is dead. | 悪霊退散!悪霊退散!怨霊、物の怪、困った時は ドーマン!セーマン!ドーマン!セーマン! 直ぐに呼びましょう陰陽師レッツゴー!

Mark Oates
Member #1,146
March 2001
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Quote:

Drop the Flash

But flash is the ultimate web experience! :o

Every client wants that awesome flash!

ixilom
Member #7,167
April 2006
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Who ever made that site needs to be punished somehow, with something as evil as using flash for a whole site >:(

I second what X-G said, flash is only valid for things like playing streaming media, unless the whole point is that it is a FLASH game/app/cartoon.

Make good use of CSS. It's amazing to see how many do things like

<font color='RED' name='verdana'>Something that occurs several times in the site</font>

You are in great pain if your boss tells you he wants that text to be blue instead. Happy search and replacing in several files.
Instead, link in a css file and change in one place = done 8-)

___________________________________________
Democracy in Sweden? Not since 2008-Jun-18.
<someone> The lesbians next door bought me a rolex for my birthday.
<someone> I think they misunderstood when I said I wanna watch...

X-G
Member #856
December 2000
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Also, avoid tables for non-tabular data. But that's, like, Web Design 101 and you already know that.

--
Since 2008-Jun-18, democracy in Sweden is dead. | 悪霊退散!悪霊退散!怨霊、物の怪、困った時は ドーマン!セーマン!ドーマン!セーマン! 直ぐに呼びましょう陰陽師レッツゴー!

Ceagon Xylas
Member #5,495
February 2005
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Quote:

Make good use of CSS. It's amazing to see how many do things like

Certainly will. It's one of my favorite languages :D

Quote:

Also, avoid tables for non-tabular data.

Use divs instead?

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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I would avoid Flash for real reasons: it's hard to navigate (bookmark), it's hard for search engines to index it, it's hard to update, etc. Of course using Flash for plug-ins to play media is acceptable.

Regarding tables vs divs, etc ... Yes, it's better to make good use of CSS, but don't beat yourself up over it. CSS has many shortcomings when it comes to creating a layout. If you have time to properly make use of HTML and CSS, then go for it. But don't let it get in the way of more important things. While there are real benefits to properly dividing your data from presentation, most web users don't even know or care about the difference.

Mark Oates
Member #1,146
March 2001
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funny, that site and logo is designed like some corporate e commerce business, not the kind of thing you would expect for a church.

I particularly enjoyed this little snippit:
{"name":"592318","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/e\/1\/e1f98b1bcff83e6b6b27f67782d11ace.jpg","w":453,"h":159,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/e\/1\/e1f98b1bcff83e6b6b27f67782d11ace"}592318

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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The Flash is very well developed and looks quite nice. Granted copy/paste, better bookmarking support, and better indexing could be useful, but I haven't worked enough with Flash to know that it's impossible with Flash. I seem to recall being able to select text in my movies, for example... :-/

There's no point deleting the Flash movie and starting from scratch with other Web technologies. You could provide an HTML alternative site or something for those uber-n00bs that can't handle Flash, but that doesn't justify removing the Flash. 8-)

Flash is practically multi-platform, multi-browser (assuming those Linux glitches have been fixed in the plug-in) which is nice compared to trying to make things work in IE. ;D If you're an experienced Web developer that might not be an issue though. :)

X-G
Member #856
December 2000
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Good to see that the guideline "Do the exact opposite of what bamccaig says" is still valid.

--
Since 2008-Jun-18, democracy in Sweden is dead. | 悪霊退散!悪霊退散!怨霊、物の怪、困った時は ドーマン!セーマン!ドーマン!セーマン! 直ぐに呼びましょう陰陽師レッツゴー!

Ceagon Xylas
Member #5,495
February 2005
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Thanks, ML. I take your advice most seriously, seeing as you've developed something this great.

Quote:

funny, that site and logo is designed like some corporate e commerce business, not the kind of thing you would expect for a church.

They're the most diffrent church I've ever been too. Everything's very modern and sleek. ;D

Quote:

I seem to recall being able to select text in my movies, for example...

Yes, that's possible.

Quote:

There's no point deleting the Flash movie and starting from scratch with other Web technologies.

True, but there's not a ton of content to their current site either. So starting from scratch (which isn't always a bad idea when you weren't the original coder) wouldn't be overwhelming.

Quote:

Good to see that the guideline "Do the exact opposite of what bamccaig says" is still valid.

:D

Jonatan Hedborg
Member #4,886
July 2004
avatar

Most of the drawbacks have been mentioned, but some deserve emphasis.

Yes, it's very pretty, but at the cost of:
1) Search engine indexing (afaik, most search engines will simply ignore flash). This is a big problem. Especially in commercial projects.

2) Accessibility. As far as people with visual disabilities (people using audio-browsers or people who can't read the text without magnification) are pretty much screwed when it comes to this site.

3) Slow for returning visitors. It takes something like 3-4 seconds before the first page shows - after it has loaded, because of the fancy animations. The sub-pages are faster, but there is still a delay (which bugs me).

4) Can't open links in a new page/tab. This is not liked by power-users (at least i dislike it).

5) Lack of bookmarks, proper links (can't send a certain page to a friend for example) and copy/paste.

I realize that I'm just repeating what people already said, but i like to hear my own voice.

-------
Sweden: Free from the shackles of Democracy since 2008-06-18!

BAF
Member #2,981
December 2002
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It's also bad for those who are still in the 20th century, using dialup.

Jonatan Hedborg
Member #4,886
July 2004
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Actually, the page is pretty nice in that way - only 51kb

EDIT: actually, never mind. According to firebug, the total downloaded amount was 500kb, without entering any sub-pages.

-------
Sweden: Free from the shackles of Democracy since 2008-06-18!

Onewing
Member #6,152
August 2005
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Quote:

They're the most diffrent church I've ever been too. Everything's very modern and sleek.

Are they a young church? I'm not going to start up religion talk, but more of an observation of the state of church and where it's going. From personal experience, I've watched the area around me grow into more of a city and many more non-denominational churches popping up. I have a feeling this is probably happening around the world, as free-thinking youth take the reigns of new churches.

Also, churches are incorporating technology. I can't say to what degree, as I've seen small, old fashion churches that don't have anything tech-wise, I've seen big churches use very little. However, there's absolutely no reason for churches not to incorporate technology into their services. In order for them to keep up with today's world, I think they'll have to!

I went from strictly Nazarene (although too young to know the differences) to Non-denominational. I loved the new church and the pastor was one of the best speakers I've ever seen, whether he's preaching or not. He was young and tried to "keep it hip" by showing video clips and merging them with the service. My mom threw a fit when he had a video that involved a curse word. My dad just laughed. ;D

[edit]
Oh, and btw, congrats on the job! Are you getting a flat fee for it, or are you paid by the hour?

------------
Solo-Games.org | My Tech Blog: The Digital Helm

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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Jonatan Hedborg said:

1) Search engine indexing (afaik, most search engines will simply ignore flash). This is a big problem. Especially in commercial projects.

Elevation Church. I know what you mean about inner content not being indexed properly, but IMO either Adobe or the search engines should find a way around that (assuming they haven't already).

Jonatan Hedborg said:

2) Accessibility. As far as people with visual disabilities (people using audio-browsers or people who can't read the text without magnification) are pretty much screwed when it comes to this site.

The hard fact is that people with accessibility issues are pretty much screwed on computers in general, and especially on the Web. Everything came about too rapidly and is changing too rapidly to catch up and provide good accessibility. They're also considered by many to be a relatively small user base in a lot of cases and so accessibility is less of a priority.

Speaking of which, yesterday a coworker was testing some stuff I did and realized that for some reason a dynamic table was breaking in IE7... We eventually traced it to the browser's accessibility Text-Size setting being non-standard (higher or lower than normal/medium). It caused a header row to become disassociated with the table making headers disappear and/or not line up, and some labels inside the rows appear in front or behind the table, not scrolling with it. In IE6 the page worked beautifully and as soon as the IE7 Text Size setting was set to Medium it was fixed again.

"Browsers", or if you prefer, some browsers, aren't much, if any, better for accessibility. In fact, if you wanted to you could code accessibility into your Flash application easy enough. There are also zoom features in Flash which would allow you to manually zoom... ::)

Jonatan Hedborg said:

3) Slow for returning visitors. It takes something like 3-4 seconds before the first page shows - after it has loaded, because of the fancy animations. The sub-pages are faster, but there is still a delay (which bugs me).

I prefer a single wait of a few seconds to constant waits every time you make a move (which if you make enough moves will outweigh the initial wait).

Jonatan Hedborg said:

4) Can't open links in a new page/tab. This is not liked by power-users (at least i dislike it).

Listen to you... ::) "power-users"... ::) I think the need for tabbed browsing is a flaw in Web design. Instead of getting to and from the information you're looking for you often need to make a number of random guesses until you find what you're looking for, and sometimes getting back is more difficult than it should be. Well designed Flash applications usually have logical menu structures that work effectively and allow seamless navigation.

Granted, tabbed browsing is useful, but IMO it's less desirable in Flash applications.

BAF said:

It's also bad for those who are still in the 20th century, using dialup.

Except that they really don't matter anyway... ::) Besides, a few years ago when I was stuck with dial-up (approx. 50 Kbps connection) I still preferred Flash Web sites. It took like 3-5 minutes to load the site, but if it was a well designed and worthwhile site then it was usually worth it. It often meant that after loading the first time (where I was doing other things and not actually waiting) I didn't have to wait any longer for the site.

Onewing
Member #6,152
August 2005
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Quote:

Except that they really don't matter anyway... Besides, a few years ago when I was stuck with dial-up (approx. 50 Kbps connection) I still preferred Flash Web sites.

You've got to stop saying certain groups don't matter. And, when it comes to a church, most times, everyone matters. Second, I can't imagine a user waiting on dial-up for a flash site to load if they don't know anything about what will be the final result. Many dial-up users will skip past flash sites, regardless of what you prefer.

------------
Solo-Games.org | My Tech Blog: The Digital Helm

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
avatar

Onewing said:

...I can't imagine a user waiting on dial-up for a flash site to load if they don't know anything about what will be the final result. Many dial-up users will skip past flash sites, regardless of what you prefer.

I used to be a user that waited on dial-up so your imagination must be broken. Generally you do have an idea because an intro/loading screen loads quickly and you get an idea of the quality of Flash you're looking at. You probably also have an idea of what kind of information the site has or you wouldn't be going to it at all.

I'm not saying that Flash is the best in all cases or that it should replace other Web technologies. However, it's a great tool for making flashy, interactive Web sites.

I just don't particularly like how everybody is dissing it.

X-G
Member #856
December 2000
avatar

Quote:

You probably also have an idea of what kind of information the site has or you wouldn't be going to it at all.

This is stupid as all hell. Anyone who knows jack shit about web design will tell you that most people who visit your site don't know what it really has to offer, and that you only have a few seconds to grab their attention or they will leave.

Really, follow our advice: Do the exact opposite of what this guy is saying here and you'll be fine.

--
Since 2008-Jun-18, democracy in Sweden is dead. | 悪霊退散!悪霊退散!怨霊、物の怪、困った時は ドーマン!セーマン!ドーマン!セーマン! 直ぐに呼びましょう陰陽師レッツゴー!

Jonatan Hedborg
Member #4,886
July 2004
avatar

nnnggh...

Quote:

Elevation Church [google.com]. I know what you mean about inner content not being indexed properly, but IMO either Adobe or the search engines should find a way around that (assuming they haven't already).

Obviously if they already know the name of the church, they wont really need to search for it. If, on the other hand, they need to find a church in a certain location or with certain services or whatnot, this page has no keywords what so ever to help them. And as for indexing a flash file... yeah, good luck with that. It's a LOT harder to get a decent view of visible, non-spam, keywords in a flash-file (it would probably have to be rendered and then OCRed).

Quote:

The hard fact is that people with accessibility issues are pretty much screwed on computers in general, and especially on the Web. Everything came about too rapidly and is changing too rapidly to catch up and provide good accessibility. They're also considered by many to be a relatively small user base in a lot of cases and so accessibility is less of a priority.

You should never, EVER, exclude a group of people. This is even more true when it comes to a church (i guess). And there are good tools for those that need them, the problem is that people tend to ignore the very simple guidelines (follow the XHTML1.0/1 standard, use EM's instead of pixels for example) in favor of flashier graphics etc.

Quote:

I prefer a single wait of a few seconds to constant waits every time you make a move (which if you make enough moves will outweigh the initial wait).

Maybe i worded myself poorly, but i was not refering to the downloading of the flash-page, but rather the extravagant animations people tend to put in them (as in this case).

Quote:

Listen to you... ::) "power-users"... ::) I think the need for tabbed browsing is a flaw in Web design. Instead of getting to and from the information you're looking for you often need to make a number of random guesses until you find what you're looking for, and sometimes getting back is more difficult than it should be. Well designed Flash applications usually have logical menu structures that work effectively and allow seamless navigation.
Granted, tabbed browsing is useful, but IMO it's less desirable in Flash applications.

In a perfect world, tabbed browsing would still be welcome. You may see two or more links that you want to visit from the main page for example.
Also, yes, power-users. The ones that are aware that IE6 is a pathetic excuse for a browser and knows not to push the "press here to disinfect your computer!" pop-ups

Quote:

It's also bad for those who are still in the 20th century, using dialup.
Except that they really don't matter anyway... ::) Besides, a few years ago when I was stuck with dial-up (approx. 50 Kbps connection) I still preferred Flash Web sites. It took like 3-5 minutes to load the site, but if it was a well designed and worthwhile site then it was usually worth it. It often meant that after loading the first time (where I was doing other things and not actually waiting) I didn't have to wait any longer for the site.

Oh, if YOU think so, then everyone else must think so as well. Good to know...

-------
Sweden: Free from the shackles of Democracy since 2008-06-18!

BAF
Member #2,981
December 2002
avatar

Quote:

Elevation Church [google.com]. I know what you mean about inner content not being indexed properly, but IMO either Adobe or the search engines should find a way around that (assuming they haven't already).

You can find any website on google by googling its domain name. :P

And, this isn't an appropriate use of Flash, so there's nothing for Adobe or the search engines to fix.

Quote:

The hard fact is that people with accessibility issues are pretty much screwed on computers in general, and especially on the Web. Everything came about too rapidly and is changing too rapidly to catch up and provide good accessibility. They're also considered by many to be a relatively small user base in a lot of cases and so accessibility is less of a priority.

That's not true at all. ::)

Quote:

Speaking of which, yesterday a coworker was testing some stuff I did and realized that for some reason a dynamic table was breaking in IE7... We eventually traced it to the browser's accessibility Text-Size setting being non-standard (higher or lower than normal/medium). It caused a header row to become disassociated with the table making headers disappear and/or not line up, and some labels inside the rows appear in front or behind the table, not scrolling with it. In IE6 the page worked beautifully and as soon as the IE7 Text Size setting was set to Medium it was fixed again.

That's why you use relative sizing and positioning, not absolute.

Quote:

"Browsers", or if you prefer, some browsers, aren't much, if any, better for accessibility. In fact, if you wanted to you could code accessibility into your Flash application easy enough. There are also zoom features in Flash which would allow you to manually zoom... ::)

I'd almost call that accessibility. ::)

Quote:

I prefer a single wait of a few seconds to constant waits every time you make a move (which if you make enough moves will outweigh the initial wait).

On my connection, most pages load instantly, front page included. Flash adds some lag to this process, which I don't like.

Quote:

Listen to you... ::) "power-users"... ::) I think the need for tabbed browsing is a flaw in Web design. Instead of getting to and from the information you're looking for you often need to make a number of random guesses until you find what you're looking for, and sometimes getting back is more difficult than it should be. Well designed Flash applications usually have logical menu structures that work effectively and allow seamless navigation.

Granted, tabbed browsing is useful, but IMO it's less desirable in Flash applications.

It's not about guessing, its about wanting to look at multiple things without having to keep going back to them.

Quote:

Except that they really don't matter anyway... ::) Besides, a few years ago when I was stuck with dial-up (approx. 50 Kbps connection) I still preferred Flash Web sites. It took like 3-5 minutes to load the site, but if it was a well designed and worthwhile site then it was usually worth it. It often meant that after loading the first time (where I was doing other things and not actually waiting) I didn't have to wait any longer for the site.

It must be something about Sony fanboys that like the most illogical way to tackle a problem :P

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