Bethlehem UMC

8 comments | Posted: 21 July 06 in Featured, by Nathan Smith


At the risk of everyone crying “nepotism!” and looking like we’re handing out self-congradulatory pats on the back, I have decided to feature this site by the duo of Rob Soulé and Mark Steinruck, even though Rob is a Godbit writer.

When I first saw this forum thread, I was immediately impressed by the quality exuded by this site. I like how it takes the tried-and-true header + two column layout, and playfully breathes new life into that layout format. The index page places the current sermon series front-and-central, and the rotating header shows the many facets of the church, ranging from liturgical to zany.

The navigation intuitively combines a typical stacked arrangemenet with drop-down, or in this case pop-out, menus. It’s nice that even with JavaScript turned off, it continues to function in good browsers. That being said, I would suggest making use of the noscript tag to replace the header with a static image, in the event JS / Flash is not available, as explained on Maratz.

Rob has informed me that this is on the to-do list. To be fair, I am jumping the gun a bit by featuring this site when it was just posted to solicit feedback. There are also a few minor HTML errors, being caused by the search form, but those fall within the 10 error limit for our featured site gallery criteria.

There are some cool jQuery effects being used in places such as the About God section, but sadly the content is not viewable with JavaScript turned off. An alternative would to have it shown by default, but then make jQuery hide it as the page loads. This is a small / simple fix, so I’m not going to dwell on it.

All in all, it’s a very nice site, and I’m eager to see how the rest of it is fleshed out, particularly the photos area. Subtle elegance abounds, from the typeface in the logo, reminiscent of hand-cut metal printing, to the cool logo in the bottom left of the main page, depicting Bible, tree and world simultaneously. Rob and Mark are each solid designers individually, and their teamwork here: superb.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 David Peele

    Great looking site!!

    I really like how the color palette blends so well with the great images. The subtle “scrapbook” effect is very cool as well as the subtle layout differences in the subpages. Also, some very cool javascript stuff going on here.

    Nice Job!!

  2. 2 Tobi

    This site is awesome (just like the other ones presented here at GodBit)! I am glad, you mentioned the use of JQuery, Nathan, for this is just what I needed for my own site. ;-) But as you wrote: The content should be visible by default…

  3. 3 matthew

    This is not right, you all just set another bar! Being around this kind of work is like trying to make it through the naval academy—-> no I didn’t just watch that cheesy movie Annapolis Sheesh!
    Well done fellas. Always reminding me that I have a lot to learn, but good people to learn from. :)

  4. 4 Nathan Klaiber

    Excellent. Beautiful. Functional.

  5. 5 Damian

    Beautiful site…not quite sure if the domain name was a wise choice. :)

  6. 6 Mark

    Sorry I’m a little late to the party. Thanks for everybody’s kind compliments on the site. Rob did an awesome job coding it up and it was a pleasure to work with him.

    The domain wasn’t our choice. :)

  7. 7 Mark Priestap

    I’m blown away. Even the fonts are done exceptionally well.

  8. 8 Sean Sperte

    Brilliant site! From the Moll-esque design, to the beautifully constructed source, to the unique features, this site truly deserves kudos from the church AND secular world.

    I love the “Why Bethlehem” section on the homepage. Very classy and creative. Now, how in the world will I be able to NOT deploy a similiar feature on The City Church site? It’s so simple and yet so cool.

    The IA is also very refreshing. Everything is where it should be, easy to get to, and clearly marked. The challenge to organize as many sections as the site has was wonderfully overcome. Awesome job, guys.

    (And I personally like the domain name—it’s memorable, short, and even if it does spawn a little controversy, at least it gets attention.) ;)


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