4 comments | Posted: 18 October 06 in Featured, by Natalie Jost
Faith Builders is a site I saw first in the forums when the designer was looking for critique and I enjoyed it then, but didn’t take a real deep look at it at the time, so when Nathan asked me to feature it, I thought it was a good opportunity to look “under the hood”. What I found was pretty good – not without its flaws, but pretty decent overall.
First, the graphics are very well done. Working with stock photos and blending realistic elements and keeping them looking realistic is something I can say from experience is a really difficult thing to do. It takes a strong eye for depth of field, dimension, color, space, and more to pull off a look like this.
The flash is also well done, not real intrusive and not alot relying on flash. It’s an “extra” as it should be, and it’s clean with a simple hover action.
The problems this site runs into is going style-less or image-less. I’m not sure how often a site is viewed without styles or images, but in terms of web standards and accessibility this is one of the first things I use to gauge a good design. The primary issue with this site is that there is no real menu without the stylesheet. When viewing the source, we find the following menu:
<div class="home"><a href="" class="active_home"></a></div>
<div class="ministries"><a href="http://www.faithbuilders.eu/ministries/"></a></div>
<div class="journal"><a href="http://www.faithbuilders.eu/journal/"></a></div>
With styles and images on all is well, but turn images off or lose the stylesheet and there’s no menu. A suggestion would be to go ahead and put a title on the links and label them between the
<a> tags, then give the links a negative text-indent so that the text doesn’t display on top of the images. With a title on each of the links, a person can still find the menu when the hover over it because the titles will atleast display. It’s still not ideal, but a viewer needs an alternative when styles and/or images are not available. It would also make better sense to make the menu a
<ul> as well with each menu item a list item.
Mentioned in the forums was the use of a rounded typeface on the headings being a bit out of place and I agree. Although it is a nice typeface, it seems to give a faint “bublegum” kind of feel to an otherwise strong, rugged look. A bold serif typeface would probably fit in better, contrasting appropriately with the sans-serif body without being too far out of the scope of the site’s theme.
The markup could also be arranged in a more logical order, using different level headings besides
<h1>, but over all, it’s not a bad design. In fact, the image replacement on the headings was done well. The site also fits 800×600 screens, which many argue is pointless today with so many people using larger screens, but it’s still a beautiful courtesy for those who can’t or don’t.
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