Christ Church of Berkeley
7 comments | Posted: 13 June 06 in Featured, by Nathan Smith
I’m not sure why, but I hadn’t seen or noticed this site before, because it is quite well done. It is simple, to the point, and has an quaintly inviting feel to it. Through clicking around a bit, I realized there is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye. It blends simplicity with a variety of features.
Their menu system is a bit different, but makes sense once you get the hang of it. The main navigation drops down and is replaced by the secondary menu on sub-pages. At first this was a bit disorienting, but when you think about it, the implimentation actually is quite intuitive, keeping the navigation you’ll want to use next in the same general area.
Particularly impressive is their Event Calendar, which is completely driven by ExpressionEngine, as is the entirety of their site. Calendars are one of the key things I think that a church website needs, and is an area which many CMS‘s fall short. In the past, I resorted to using EasyPHPCalendar for client sites, which is anything but “easy” to work with. When I last used it, Easy had two doctypes declared on every page, HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
Imagine being able to blog an event, even one well into the future, and have it’s title show up in the correct day on the calendar. No switching between the main CMS and calendar app, just seamless integration. That’s sure to make any church webmaster happy. Anyway, I will quit ranting about calendars. Suffice it to say, this is a big plus both on the admin side and for the end-user.
As far as design goes, I love the subtle background pattern which fades into a solid gray-blue. I like that the color pallette has been kept consistent, as it is often easy to go overboard. I myself have been guilty of this. Also, the logo type is very cool. It’s sort of retro looking, and reminds me of an antique shop. In case you are curious, the name of that font is Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
For a church in California, I think it was a bold choice to not go for a super-slick Hollywood style look and feel. If you look closely at the logo, you will see the top of a Celtic style cross, which also hints at a sunrise shape over the bridge. This is juxtaposed by the spire, which is positioned slightly to the left, and hints at the continued shape of a cross, without being obvious.
Overall, Christ Church Berkeley has done a superb job in making an experience that feels comfy and inviting while also boasting impressive site functionality.
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