Explanation of terms, plus resource links

If you are unsure of the meaning of any technical words used in our Church Site resource pages, here are definitions (plus links giving further information). Use Google and Wikipedia [www.wikipedia.org] to search for further definitions and help. {Second-language English speakers: double-click any word on this page for a popup definition, and scroll down that popup for translations into other languages.)
In deference to usage by the majority of English speakers, US spelling is used in this church design resource.

Alt tags Alt tags provide a short verbal description of a web-page graphic. This enables ‘screen reader’ software to audibly read a short description of the graphic to a person with visual disability.
Breadcrumb trail This concept comes from the Hansel and Gretel story where the children laid a trail of breadcrumbs so they could find their way home. On a web-page, a breadcrumb trail shows links to the ‘parent’ subject area for that page, for instance:

  Home > Team members > Jill Smith < You are here

A breadcrumb trail should not normally be the main method of showing where a page fits within the site structure, but it can be a useful supplementary aid.
Captcha code A ‘captcha’ code is a set of numbers and/or letters contained in a graphic on a contact form. The user must copy them into a text area, to prove that he or she is a real person and not a spambot. Research shows that a percentage of users will never submit a form protected by a captcha code because they become confused or do not understand it. Do not therefore use aa captcha code on a church contact form. There are other PHP-based ways of blocking spambots – see our entry on spambots below.
Color blindness There are various types and degrees of color blindness. Many sufferers find it hard to distinguish green and red. Some cannot see color at all – effectively everything is in gray-scale for them. Ensure that important page navigation elements are not red on green (or vice versa).

More reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness
Contact form A contact form is a web-page where the user can write a message and his or her own email address, and send that message to the website without knowing its email address. They are far preferable to using a clickable ‘mailto’ link because:
1. People using web-based email (e.g. Yahoo), or a computer which is not their own, cannot click on these links.
2. ‘Mailto’ links can be collected by ‘spambots’ in order to send you spam.
See our entry on spambots, regarding the importance of protecting contact forms from being hijacked.

Never add a ‘clear this form ’ button (coded: input type="reset"). This fulfills no useful purpose and is easy to press in error.
Contextualization Contextualization means: communicating the Gospel in terms that relate to the context of the recipients. In other words, expressing the timeless truth of the Gospel using a language and style that relates to the particular audience. Gospel presentations should not be ‘one size fits all’. Communicating effectively with children, teens, postmodern students, or senior citizens, obviously requires very different styles. One missions expert sums up contextualization as, “Appeal to their authorities, speak their language, use their imagery.” A common failing of the Western Church is an inability to communicate with people who do not already have a church background.

More reading: InternetEvangelismDay.com/context
CSS Cascading Style Sheets – the almost universal code which sets site-wide (and individual page element) style: colors, positioning, fonts, borders, etc.

More reading:
Domain name A domain name is simply the root address of a website – e.g. www.yoursite.com. Domain names are sold by registrars. Some registrars are both cheap and good. Others may not provide the best service. Ask others (and Google) for recommendations on who to use. .Com remains the most common type of domain, because it is the default domain ending that most people will try.
Graphics: pixel and file size All graphics have width and height dimensions measured in pixels. They also have a file size measured in kilobytes. In general, the larger the pixel size, the larger the file size. However, it is possible to use graphic software to optimize (i.e. reduce) the file size for a given pixel size, making the graphic quicker to download. Many people still use dialup connections, and not all broadband connections are particularly fast, so it is still important to reduce graphic file sizes where possible.

More reading: www.webreference.com/dev/graphics/compress.html
HTML HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. This is the coding that creates web-pages. You can view a page’s HTML coding by clicking ‘View’ and then ‘Page source’ on your browser toolbar.
Hyperlink and hover tooltip A hyperlink is a clickable graphic or text link taking users to a different web-page. By convention, text links are underlined blue, and turn purple when a user has visited them. Think carefully before you assign different colors or remove the underline from text links within normal page text. (Navigation menu links, in contrast, are not usually underlined or restricted to one color.)

A ‘title tooltip’ is a short description of a link, which pops up when a user hovers the mouse of the link. They can be added to text and graphic links, with this code:
<a href="alink.html" title=" Details of our monthly seminar program ">Seminars</a>

Tooltips are a recommended addition for all links, especially navigation menus.
Javascript disabled Javascript is a coding language within web-pages which gives commands to a browser. A surprisingly high 5% of web users have disabled Javascript within their browsers. Javacript can be very useful in making websites usable. But it is vital to take account of the 1 in 20 users who will benefit. Test your site with Javascript disabled, and create alternative options (for instance, using <noscript> tags) for them.
Mailto links A ‘mailto link’l is a clickable hyperlink which opens a ready-made outgoing email in the user’ email program. See our entries on ‘contact forms’ and ‘spambots’ on why you should not use them on your site.
Navigation menu A list of links on a web-page leading to different sections of the site. Typically, these are arranged vertically in the left-hand margin, or sometimes horizontally along the top of the page.

Larger sites can use ‘flyout’ or ‘dropdown’ menus, which display extra links when the user hovers the main subject links. The best type to use are ‘pure CSS’ menus because they are quick to use, and largely independent of the need for Javascript.

View samples: www.cssplay.co.uk/menus
Page head The area of code in a web-page contained within <head> tags. It is not displayed visibly to the user. The head contains the ‘title tag’, ‘meta tags’, CSS settings, and various other information. You can inspect a web-page head (and the other parts of coding that create the page) by clicking ‘View’ and then ‘Page source’ on your browser toolbar.
Plugin A browser plugin is an add-on piece of software, which enables a browser to view extra types of content.
RSS RSS is a system to deliver regular information (e.g. newsletters or blog postings) to subscribers without using email. Their chosen RSS feeds are collected (or ‘aggregated’) by their browser, a web-based RSS aggregator page, or an RSS ‘feed reader’ or ‘aggregator’) on their own computer.

More reading: InternetEvangelismDay.com/rss
Screen reader Screen reader software enables a person with visual disability to access a web-page. The software audibly ‘reads’ the words on the page through the computer speakers.

More reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_reader
Screen resolution Screen resolution is the chosen setting for width and height of a computer screen, defined in pixels. Each pixel is one dot – the smallest bit of information that a screen can display. A majority of users have their monitors set to 1024 pixels wide and 768 pixels high.

More reading: www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp.
Search engine optimization There are some very simple techniques which will help a page gain a higher ranking in search engines for any given keyword search. And there are other easy ways to promote a website.

More reading: InternetEvangelismDay.com/promote
Sitemaps and XML sitemaps A sitemap lists all the pages of a website, usually subdivided into subject areas. It can help users locate a page quickly. Some people (including those with visual disability) may prefer to scan a sitemap to get a sense of the site contents. By convention, a link to the sitemap is included in small font within the footer of all a site’s pages. A sitemap also helps search engines to spider though all the pages of a site, because it provides a clear path to all pages within two levels of the homepage.

Sites can also provide an XML sitemap. These are not for site visitors to read, but make it easy for search engines to spider the site and allocate priority to different pages. Do not use an XML sitemap as a subsitute for a normal sitemap, but it is a recommended addition.

More reading: www.xml-sitemaps.com
Spambot Automatic software which spammers use to search thousands of websites for email addresses or insecure email forms. Any web-page ‘contact form’ which does not contain powerful anti-hacking coding, can be hijacked by these bots, not only to send spam to you, but also to other people unknown to you. Research ways to protect your contact forms. The PHP language is ideal for creating secure web forms. Our contact form at InternetEvangelismDay.com/feedback is strongly protected using PHP. Try entering multiple sender email addresses, HTML code or ‘BCC:’ into it, and note how your email is rejected.

More reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spambot
Splash page An introductory entry page to a website, usually containing a fixed or animated picture, with an ‘Enter site’ link, which takes users to the real homepage. Users find them very irritating.
URL Standing for Uniform Resource Locator, an URL is the unique address of a web-page. When referring to your website homepage, it may be the same as the domain name, i.e. www.yoursite.com. Other URLs for pages on your site will include the file name for the specific page, for instance www.yoursite.com/howtofindus.html
Usability Usability is the overall ease of use of a website. A wide range of issues contribute to usability. These include easy-to-understand navigation links, attractive design, clear print, enticing headlines and subheadings, short paragraphs, amd readable text. Website testing is a key to improving usability.

More reading:
We encourage church websites to be outsider-friendly, user-friendly and inquirer-friendly – accessible to, understandable by, and prioritized for, non-Christians. We do not imply by these terms any particular style of worship within the church itself. Emphatically, we do not advocate any sort of watering-down of the Gospel, a sort of Gospel-lite. We have largely avoided the term ‘seeker-friendly’ in relation to church sites because of its application to a style of church service, and also because we want websites to be attractive and enticing to people who are not even yet seekers! Another useful term is ‘skeptic-friendly’.
Unreached people group This term is used in mission research and outreach strategy. Different groups of people may live in proximity to each other, yet barely interact. Because the Gospel tends to flow through inter-personal relationships, it is likely that one such group will not easily be able to evangelize another. A demographic group with an inadequate number of Christians within it who could share the good news to the rest of the group, is classifed as unreached. Typically, in a mission context this would apply to a group with only 2-5% of Christians.

Within a Western context (and increasingly, we need to see the West in missiological terms), there are a usually a number of demographic groups within even a relatively small community, and some may be dramatically under-represented within the churches of that community.

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