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The Emmanuel Church Web Site

We suggest that you visit the web site for Emmanuel Church and tour around it for a while.  Then come back and read the review.  Feel free to write us with your comments or criticisms at feedback@hartsem.edu.


Emmanuel ChurchWhen first discovering the Emmanuel Church website, you may find something that immediately catches your attention.  It isn't the colors, or the graphics, and you may not notice the vast amount of content right away.  What is captivating is the large center picture, rotating each time you enter the home page, depicting church members involved in the community and having FUN!  The obvious participation of a younger generation in church activities is enough to to peak your interest.  What church is this?  Where is it located? Who are they and what are they all about?  The content will feed your interest and you may find yourself desiring to attend a church such as this one.  Your appetite for content will be rewarded with each page that you view.

Without any previous knowledge of Emmanuel, you will instantly feel welcome and at ease on their home page - an example of why it is so important as a web designer to know who your audience is and how to cater to them.  The layout and design is clean, modern looking, and consistent throughout the site.  Without the photos and content to soften the site, it could very well be a business website, which has both advantages and disadvantages.  The advantage of this is that it is easy to navigate - the link structure is very intuitive, and there is a search button right at the top of the page.  All of the most important features for both new and frequent users (such as announcements, special events, church schedules, contact information, etc.) are easily accessible from the home page.  Those who frequently surf the Internet will find this site unobtrusively comfortable to use.  The disadvantage is that the style and color of the site is somewhat lacking in artistic originality.  Also, those who are not as comfortable using the web might find the number of links on the home page a bit overwhelming.

The site is impressively interactive.  Sermons are posted in RealAudio format for anyone to hear.  There is a music review page, where members of the Emmanuel church can review the latest Christian music CD's and hear clips from them before they buy.  The message board is one of the more active than most church websites.  It has multiple categories, each with its own moderator.  An example is one category called "Faith and Culture:  Discuss Christian Faith and Contemporary Culture thru movies, books, music and everything else in between".  As of this review, this one section of the message board has generated 75 separate posts.  Among the other categories, there is also one called "E-Bae" which is "Emmanuel's Online Marketplace" - something that definitely resonates with a younger audience.  However, The most uniquely interactive element on the site is the "Palm Users" link.  The page reads "Now you can catch up with the latest from Emmanuel Church while you're on the move.  Using AvantGo's free software you can download Emmanuel's Handheld Edition when you synchronize your handheld computer."  Content is updated weekly, and includes sermon notes, music reviews, the newsletter, weekly announcements, directions to the church, the van route schedule, and worship schedule.  The designers of the site express the desire to expand this feature further.  Members are requested to submit suggestions for additional content, comments, questions or problems to the web committee. 

The photos and content of the site are highly expressive, and emit a very strong sense of identity.  Visitors to the home page can observe a young, multi-ethnic, and extremely active membership involved with their church and the larger community beyond their walls.  Among the many types of outreach Emmanuel is involved in, they have a Korean ministry which reflects the church’s origins in the Korean United Church. Space is reserved on the website for this ministry, which is written out in the Korean language. 

Overall, this is an excellent site full of fun and interesting things that routinely change to keep drawing people back to visit.  This site clearly seeks to grab the attention of a certain audience and succeeds in that quest.  It is leaps ahead of most other church sites in terms of its interactive nature.  An artistic spark could be helpful to light up the design so that its appearance more accurately mirrors the warmth and passion of the congregation and its mission.  Hopefully this site, and its congregation, will continue to expand, and flourish, and serve as an example for other church websites to follow. 




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