secret shopping the sites #5: simple, upfront, & in words

As I continue working to help all our web sites be stronger, I Googled upon an InterVarsity chapter in the West. Some observations:

Simple was strangely refreshing. I haven’t found the other sites on this “tour” to be overly complicated, but landing on a page with a very straightforward welcome – alongside a happy little picture of the chapter’s meeting spot – was pretty nice. Page navigation and content were centered on my screen, allowing me to pick what I wanted to get short descriptions for – and making it very clear what was available.

Upfront isn’t un-welcoming. This isn’t the first campus ministry site that has been overtly Christian from the outset. But in this case, the words were especially clear (but in a very winsome and even thought-provoking way). I knew this was a Christian group interested in impacting its campus for Christ. They also made it clear they welcome unbelievers, but because of the site’s clarity, those unbelievers would be under no illusions – and couldn’t accuse anyone of “bait and switch.” For most college ministries, I think that kind of clarity works better than trying to “ease people in.” But approaches and methodologies differ within the field of collegiate ministry, for sure.

Notes. This IV chapter provided long, typed-out summaries of at least a handful of past messages – enough content to provide a reading around each topic. I figure it ultimately takes longer to type out content than simply to provide recordings – and for some students, the audio might be the preferred vehicle. But if you have time to do both or feel like written notes would be handier for your students, go for it. (This, too, could be a great task to give a (studious) student leader.)

Harrumph. Pictures gave evidence of being quite old. Facebook link was broken. No events (even first events of the fall) in the Events section, with a picture that should be showing up but wasn’t. Harrumph. I’m getting used to this kind of thing.

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