Claremore - Disciples of Christ

3 comments | Posted: 7 February 07 in Featured, by Nathan Smith


This site was posted in the Godbit forum awhile ago, and has been undergoing gradual iterative improvements. It was designed and coded by Carl Camera and runs on his ASP.NET driven CMSVine Type. While I know next to nothing about the Microsoft’s .NET framework (being more into PHP myself), I think that anyone can appreciate the fact that Carl gives half of all Vine Type proceeds to the children of Guatemala. The system is also free for personal use.

As for the Claremore site itself, what I like is that it takes a quaint, community centered approach. For some reason, I think of a friendly neighborhood cafe or bed-and-breakfast. I can’t help but think of the song from the show Cheers:

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see: Our troubles are all the same… – Full lyrics

Cheesy references to 1980’s television aside, I think that the approach Carl has taken with this design speak well of the church. The logo, while being highly liturgical in its depiction of the cross and chalice, is balanced well by the playful text and photo of the playfully happy child. The site seems to say – We respect liturgy about Christianity, but don’t take ourselves too seriously.

I also like the four buttons to the bottom-left, answering common questions that newcomers might have. It’s not often that you see a “What to wear” guide on a church site, yet it is a subconscious dilemma as a visitor – not wanting be under or overdressed. On the FAQ page, the answer is reassuring:

Come as you are, you are welcome in our church.
We want you to be comfortable in worship.

From a technical standpoint, this site is top-notch. It boasts valid CSS and XHTML 1.0 Strict. I really dig that the drop-down menus still work even with JavaScript disabled – definitely a nice touch. The Google map on the contact page is also a cool enhancement, and is part of the Vine Type Pro package.

The site as a whole is a good effort by Carl, and a testament to the fact that if done right, .NET and web standards can play nicely together. If you happen to be on a Windows web server, you might consider checking out Vine Type as a possible option for your church’s content management system.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 Jesse J Anderson

    website is broken in Safari (at least on my machine it seems to be).

    When I first load the site it looks fine, but if I move my mouse at all over the browser (anywhere inside the site) all the content in the yellow/orange bar (the logo and navigation) shifts over to the right (floating over existing content) leaving out 1/3 still over the orange bar and 2/3 of the graphics hanging over the main content.

    Once I hover my mouse over the yellow/orange bar it seems to fix itself fine. Not sure if this might be some problem on my end though, I’d double-check the code to see if I could figure anything out but I’m about to head to bed, perhaps I’ll check in the mornin.

    Other than the bug though the design looks great!

    On a side note, hey Agent (Nathan) Smith – if you’re reading this I was hoping you could perhaps update the Godbit css to allow the text cursor o be a different color than black (causing it to disappear on the black background in the comments box). My typing is awful and it’s really hrd to correct typos without knowing where your cursor is. =)

    - Mr (Jesse J.) Anderson

  2. 2 Chris Huff

    Very nicely designed from my perspective. Great use of color and layout. I saw three things that would make the site more perfect: 1) When hovering above a menu link that has a dropdown, I would still expect its background to change like the others’ because it too is a clickable link. 2) When you click the search arrow without inputing a search word or phrase, an attractive error appears. Replace it with a more attractive error notice. 3) Make the squares below the search box have mouseover images as well.

    The site really is great, and my suggestions are probably more just details that I myself would add rather than necessary features.

  3. 3 Brent O'Connor

    The site is very nice and has a nice design. I wouldn’t say the design is a personal favorite but I can appreciate that it’s clean and professional.

    My only constructive criticism is that I think the site needs clean urls. I guess I’m a little bit of a clean url snob in that I think every site should use clean urls.

    Carl, if it helps and your reading this… I asked my friend who is a .Net guy if he had anything on working with clean urls in .Net. He gave me this link. I also checked out Vine Type and it looks pretty good and I might consider it if I ever need a CMS on a Windows server. However, “clean urls” is a definite feature request! :) Good work!


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