The Crossroads Church Web Site
We suggest that you visit the Crossroads Church web site and tour around it for a while. Then come back and read the review. Feel free to write us with your comments or criticisms at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the greatest challenges in web site design, especially for congregations, is creating a sense of community while maintaining attractiveness. Congregations may ask themselves "How do we effectively inform our visitors, yet give them the feeling that they have not only connected electronically but have connected spiritually as well." Take a few minutes to browse the Crossroads Church web site and you will see exactly how to do this. Crossroads blends a mix of warm and vibrant colors that lead your eye to pursue the concise and organized plethora of information on their ministries, worship services, and beliefs.
The site seems to load quickly despite the amount of graphics appearing on the front page. We appreciate the simple navigational system at the top of the page that provides an additional description of the section, as opposed to the side of the navigation, which may block out other useful information. As you explore the site, you will find that each section is color coded; "ministries" uses a blue color scheme, "worship" uses a lime green and so on. The layout on the inside pages differs from the front page but remains consistent throughout each section. In addition, the site subdivisions you encounter as you start your journey from the home page continue at the top of each section. This allows the left margin to be used for further navigation options within each section.
As the visitor enters each section of the site, they are offered a brief mission statement, purpose, and philosophy of that ministry. Crossroads has accomplished two difficult feats; they encapsulated the goals of the group or ministry and then presented that information in a concise and easy to read manner. This is especially impressive when you consider the number of ministries and small groups that the church offers. Of course, ministry size is relative to the membership size of the church and Crossroads currently boasts a weekend attendance of over 5,000. Therefore, it is a credit to the designer to have a web site so rich in content and this well organized.
Another great strength of the site is the range of options provided to stay in touch with the Crossroads community. In addition to a listing of staff members’ emails, the church’s contact information is complete with a variety of ways to reach them. We often find web sites that concentrate so much on computerized methods of contact that they forget street addresses, and fax and phone numbers. Other sites that focus so much on brick and mortar contact methods that they don’t provide any email addresses for church staff. The Crossroads site is also to be complimented for its online interactive community building features. The site offers several discussion forums to express opinions and submit prayer requests. This gives members and visitors opportunities to reach out to others but also to maintain some anonymity if they prefer.
We look forward to the virtual tour of the campus that the virtual gathering section indicates will be "coming soon." Offering pictures of buildings, staff and members would really help to convey the true warmth and meaning of this congregation in a way that text can not. Crossroads may also want to consider providing pictures of staff along with the name and email that is currently listed. The variety of ministries would be more inviting with some human faces. Electronic communication can seem cold and unfriendly so putting a name and face together helps users feel like they are sending their message to an actual person, rather than some network in cyberspace.
Overall, we found the Crossroads web site exceptional in its presentation, information, and usability. We commend them for not only on securing a competent web designer but also for taking the time to address the needs of their congregation and potential visitors alike.