Generation Church

14 comments | Posted: 19 January 06 in Featured, by Nathan Smith


After the discussion over the blandness of our previously featured site, I figured I should keep an eye out for one that pushes the envelope visually. I didn’t have to look very far. This is another great site that comes to us from our Website Critique area of the discussion forum. I really like this site because of it’s great use of vibrant color. In a way, it’s sort of a throw back to yester-year, with its use of typography and overall style.

And yet, this church is on the cutting edge technologically, sporting links to an MP3 audio archive with little iPod headphones on mouse hover. As for the mechanics of the site, it’s XHTML 1.0 Transitional, just about perfect, except for one little unencoded ampersand, (&). Other than that, it degrades quite nicely with CSS turned off. It seems to be every bit as accessible as the AOG site we featured, but without sacrificing presentational flair. Expression Engine gives it power, an increasing trend among standards compliant church websites.

I would only make two suggestions for making this site just a little better: First, adding in the site’s RSS feed to the head, so that browsers like Firefox and Safari will be aware of it. Secondly, I would do some .htaccess trickery to tweak the funky /index.php/section/ URL scheme. That’s my only qualm with EE actually, since usually a web address is terminated by a file extension, and it’s always best to hide your index. Anyway, this is a solid site all the same, and a job very well done by Sean Sperte.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 Joshua

    Alright, this site just wowwed me. WOWWED ME I say. Great combination of good code and good design, that effectively hits the target it is reaching for.

    Did I mention this site wowwed me? wow.

  2. 2 Yannick

    Well done Sean. I love it.

    It was also featured over at CSS Beauty.


    Blessings on you and everyone who was involved.

  3. 3 David Russell

    Said it on the forum and I’ll say it again here: This rocks!

    Sean has mad skillz. :)

  4. 4 beth

    I saw this earlier and wondered if you’d seen it.

  5. 5 Wesley Walser

    That is really nice. The top is really busy, giving a lot to look at and no clear reading path, but thats really a minor complaint as actual users of the site will get use to the placement of things. Also I like that the visual style is carries through the entire page witht he background sticking, and the vignette footer.

  6. 6 Nathan Smith

    Beth: I’d seen it, and immediately wanted to feature it. However, by the wording in his post on the forum, I was unsure if it was to be considered live or still in progress. It looks complete enough to me though, so I decided to add it.

  7. 7 Sean S

    Thanks for featuring it, Nathan! The response so far has been very encouraging.

    Onto your suggestions:

    Which feed are you referring to? We actually don’t have a feed for the “fresh stuff” section yet (what would be considered the blog, I guess). Should I put the podcast feed in there, or would you suggest creating a RSS feed for the fresh stuff?

    As far as the URLs that’s definitely something I’m looking into. Unfortunately the site is sharing the EE engine with the main site so in order to strip the index.php I’ll have to do it from both sites. I just have to investigate the implications before I do it. ;)

  8. 8 Nathan Smith

    Sean: I would do an RSS feed for both fresh stuff and your podcast. Anything that changes regularly that people might want to know about, go ahead and put in your feed. You could probably just combine the two categories, to make it a no-brainer for your congregation. Don’t sweat index.php if its a big hassle.

  9. 9 MattSingley

    Wow, this site is just stunning. I was drawn in to the point where I cannot wait to download the messages and listen to them. And that, after all, is the focus of nice design and code isn’t it? To package the message of Jesus in an appealling way? Well done!

  10. 10 Yannick

    I listened to one of the messages the other day and it was pretty good. Pastor J. Smith is pretty funny too.

  11. 11 Sean S

    That’s great, Matt! That’s exactly why we provide the site and take the time/energy to make it look good.

    Keep in mind that this is a youth church so the messages will be oriented that way. Pastor Judah is a great communicator with a hilarious sense of humor, but he doesn’t skirt issues that are serious to students, either. For a (possibly) lighter approach, our senior pastor’s messages are also available.

  12. 12 Evie Shaffer

    The design reminds me alot of the Tenessee Vacation site. Did anyone else pick that up? I really love this style of design. I wonder if the designer was inspired at all from that website.

  13. 13 Nathan Smith

    Evie: It has that same sort of “feel” to it I guess, but then again so do many other sites out there. Wicked worn is becoming so common that it’s hard to tell who inspired who. We’d have to ask Sean I suppose.

  14. 14 Sean S

    I was definitely inspired by the Tenessee Vacation site! I had already decided on going the “Wicked Worn” route for the style, but the layout and execution on the TNV site gave me great ideas for how to integrate and organize the site elements. Everytime I hit a stump, I referred back to their site, as well as some others with the same idea.


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