Winner of the 2016 Premier Digital Accessibility award, Andrew Cook, tells us why it's important for a church website to be accessible, easy to navigate and why explaining phrases such as 'Atoning sacrifice' and 'justification' are necessary online.
What inspired you to create an accessible website?
Our church (Goodmayes Baptist) was in need of a web-site. I wanted to create a web-site that gives clear easy to understand information about our church and the Christian faith. I include practical information about where our church is located, and how to get to the church by public transport. I try to put myself in the position of someone who is of a different faith background, and wants to find out what Christians do believe. I like to think that a person wishing to come into a right relationship with God can do so by going through our web-site. I have looked at other web-site, which are not always as user friendly as they could be. I have learned from these other web-sites what needs to be done to make our web-site accessible and user friendly.
Give examples of what makes a web-site accessible and user friendly
Using the Verdana font; this is clear and easy to read. It has a good legibility. On some web-sites the text is not as easy to read as it should be. One web-site I viewed uses grey letters on a white background. This does not provide the best of contrast, and therefore makes it less easy to read. I have tried to avoid this sort of mistake. I try to avoid assuming everyone will know what is meant by things such as ‘atoning sacrifice’ and ‘justification’. I include an explanation of what these things mean on the What We Believe web-page. I also try to remember to put on each web-page ‘This page updated ---.‘ This is to reassure the viewer the web-site is being kept updated.
What was your first reaction when you heard you won the Accessibility Award?
I did not expect to win this award. It came as a pleasant surprise.
What does winning this award mean to you?
I feel honoured that my efforts should win this national award. It gives me a sense of achievement. Even more than that I hope anyone who views the web-site will be pointed towards the Kingdom of God.
I must thank those who gave me constructive feedback when I was building the web-site. I must also thank Gwen at another church in Goodmayes who informed me about the Church Edit web-site. This provides a framework on which to build a web-site. It gave me a head start.
What are your plans for Goodmayes Baptist Church in 2017?
To continue to give encouragement to others in this fellowship, as I have done for last 25 years. Like any web-site there is always room for improvement. I hope to further improve the web-site for Goodmayes Baptist Church during 2017.
How has winning the category impacted your work?
Encourages me to ensure the web-site is kept updated and remains accessible.
How important is the Premier Digital Conference in today’s modern Christian community?
Encouraging Christians to ensure that a church web-site gives clear easy to understand information about the church and the Christian faith.
What advice would you give to Christians with a digital project or idea that they want to launch?
Christians are welcome to look through the web-site for Goodmayes Baptist Church as an example of good practice when it comes to designing a web-site. Our web-site uses a clear easy to read font (Verdana). There is practical information about the church services, and how to get to the church by bus and by train. The web-site includes information on what people need to know about the Christian faith and how to be a right relationship with God. There is also a page on the history of Goodmayes Baptist Church.
How can people get in touch with you?
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