New Life Glenside

4 comments | Posted: 9 December 07 in Featured, by Nathan Smith


I happened upon this site while perusing the portfolio of Matthew Smith at Squared Eye. From what he tells me, New Life Glenside was a collaborative effort. He enlisted the help of Matt McManus who did some of the front-end and CMS work, and AJ Penninga who is a whiz with ExpressionEngine.

Overall, Matt S. did a great job with the design. The site feels solidly jointed, while not being constrained to a typical boxy layout. The broad, sweeping arc helps to fill the extra whitespace beyond the main portions of the page. The color palette is easy on the eyes, consisting of soothing blues and greens, slightly subdued with a saturation level just a touch less than vibrant.

The code is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, and the CSS only has a few syntax errors here and there. My main criticism with the code is that large chunks of JavaScript reside within <script> tags, embedded in the markup. Much of this ought to reside in external *.js files. The benefit is twofold:

  1. Easier maintenance by other developers
  2. Browser caching, for use on more pages

As was the case with the New Song Church website, the <title> element is severely under utilized. It reads “New Life Glenside” no matter what page you are on. This does little to help orient users as to their location within the site’s information architecture. Sometimes I think that we as web developers are so focused on doing cool tricks that we forget to sweat the small stuff.

For the most part though, Matt M. and AJ did a good job with the EE implementation, allowing the church to keep their content updated with relative ease. I like that they have an audio section, where people can listen to MP3 recordings of sermons. The site seems intuitively structured, though there appears to be a slight problem with the events page functionality.

With a bit more elbow grease to work out some of the minor details, this site would be exceptional. Squared Eye and crew have crafted a fine product.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 matthew Smith

    Thanks for the review! What a project. This one was a real doozy from a build and implement perspective, with deadlines short, emotions high, and trying to maintain some faith and perspective :)))

    I was pleased with the end product, though, as you’ve mentioned there are ways it ought to be improved.

    I was thinking a list of the “small” things to make sure were implemented might be something I’ll go after. It would be a good resource to find, or make, for having around at the end of a project… as a “double check” list.

    Thanks Again!

  2. 2 Matthew McManus

    Great feedback Nathan.

    This is a long term project for me so I will be continually updating and revising the site so this is really valuable. Thank you.

    Keep up the great work. This site is amazing.

  3. 3 Boyink

    ..and just for the record (and because he probably won’t say it) AJ’s last name is “Penninga”.

  4. 4 Nathan Smith

    @Boyink – Whoops. My mistake. I’ve corrected the spelling of AJ’s name.


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