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.|
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.|
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
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 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
Cascading Style Sheets – the almost universal code which sets site-wide (and individual
page element) style: colors, positioning, fonts, borders, etc.
|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:
Tooltips are a recommended addition for all links, especially navigation menus.
|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.|
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.
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 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 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 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
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
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 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.
|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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