Thinking Out Loud

July 17, 2014

The Moral Quandry of Website Re-Design

Filed under: bible — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:11 am

computerIf you have any technical skills at all, there are boatloads of money to be made in convincing website owners, including a great many Christian organizations, that their website needs to be upgraded.  Sometimes this is true. Most of the time it is simply not the case that the thing needs a fresh coat of paint.

In many cases, websites are under-performing because they are simply not maintained. In other cases, designers have supplied the organization in question with a great template but no little about the mission of the company or ministry to be able to supply content. In yet other cases, consultants are using minor technical glitches to justify a total refit.

Unfortunately, in other cases, the only argument that can be made for change is that people simply want a website that looks current, or want change because every other organization they deal with has upgraded their site this year.

In the case of what is probably one of the most widely used sites among Christians, BibleGateway.com, the changes necessitate relearning a website that was comfortable and familiar.  Things that were at the top are now at the bottom. The “resources” page now consists of a number of links to product that is being sold, not coincidentally, by the site’s new owners, HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

Probably knowing the need to hedge their bets, the site has the option of reverting to the “old” Bible Gateway.

I guess the thing that bothers me most is that designers get paid big bucks to ply their HTML trade, while writers, content-producers and not-so-technically-gifted creatives work for peanuts. This happened to us literally. After not getting much direction from the author and then not hearing anything for several months, a bag of peanuts showed up in the mail. Seriously.

Christian organizations need to save their money and not be obsessed with having the best-looking site in town when website users may not even appreciate the changes. And designers need to stop bleeding organizations of the tithes and offerings they have collected from sincere donors.

Now then. Having said all that, I do have some friends who are website designers, and there are some sites out there that are hopelessly out of date. This wasn’t directed at them, but rather at the industry that revolves around change purely for the sake of change.

And yes. This blog has had the same theme since it started. I’ve looked at alternatives but there have been reasons I’ve stuck with the familiar red border and the thin serif-font lettering, also in red. Oh wait, that’s TIME Magazine. I’ll change when they do.

 

6 Comments »

  1. I think the Bible Gateway “upgrade” has a lot to do with the way the website itself is marketed. They have introduced the Blogger Grid (which I signed on with) and have multiple connection points with every social media outlet. We’ve all added buttons for Facebook and Twitter followers to “share” with their fans but Bible Gateway has taken it to the next level. They have a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a Google + profile, and I imagine an Instagram account. Everything cross promotes everything else, I don’t know how many tweets they send out each day. There’s a dozen different badges that bloggers and other websites can use, and plugins for the Verse of the Day feature (which of course redirects to their main site).

    They did more than a facelift; their redesign was about universal connectivity and over-the-top visibility.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — July 17, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    • So what motivates that? If they were commercial, it would be money. If they weren’t essentially the only game in town, we could say they were consumed with power and control. But all this energy, all this “chasing the wind” seems so unnecessary.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 17, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

  2. The bottom of the home page has links to Harper Collins, Thomas Nelson, Westbow Press and Zondervan.com. FAQ’s include “why we advertise” and “advertise with us” as well as “support Bible Gateway.” You said if they were commercial it would be about money; is it not?

    Comment by Clark Bunch — July 18, 2014 @ 9:50 am


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