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Last week we acquired a Nintendo Wii and connected to our wireless home network (it was surprisingly easy to do). And since then we have been using to the Internet Channel (powered by Opera) for ‘incidental surfing’. Such as checking the cricket score, tv-guide etc. rather than booting up the PC. It works fantastically (here is a press release and more info from Opera).

Then we looked at the church website to see if that worked and it looked fine. However there were two problems;

  • PDF files: PDF files cannot be viewed at present, so the weekly bulletins can only be viewed as HTML (if available). This follows the suggestion in the comments to a previous post that having an HTML version is essential, not optional.
  • eBible plugin: this plugin does not work, the ‘pop-up’ is permanently open, making other text unreadable. (The comments to the plugin post on eBible.com are closed however, so I’ll have to find another way to report the problem).

It might be hard to imagine someone sitting on their settee on a Saturday afternoon looking for a church, but just in case, it is worth checking that your church’s website is accessible and readable on a Wii.


Previously: Changing your web viewing glasses

For church websites, the main reason they want to use flash is for impact. It can look really professional. However as mentioned before the main downside is accessibility.

But if all you want is fancy rotating graphics, perhaps a bit of AJAX can help?

Tim Hyde has modified one of his wordpress themes and incorporated JonDesign’s SmoothGallery. It looks fantastic and mimics the flash clickable gallery seen on many large church websites. But best of all it is fully accessible, with changing title, alt, etc. attributes for the elements.

Over at alistapart, there is an article on embedding or inserting flash files into websites. The article covers the current situation of flash embeds and the techniques that can be used to insert files into pages. In covers the issues of cross-browser compatibility of flash insertion techniques and what the future might hold for flash on the web.

Although I am not a big fan of swf or Adobe Flash files embedded in websites because of the current accessibility issues (although this may be changing), flash elements in church webpages can have a powerful visual impact. Much more than a static picture. But with any of these things, too much flash can have users switching off.

As every old-school web designer knows, your latest greatest creation may look great on your 1600×1200 32bit LCD screen on the latest version of firefox, but that is no guarantee that it will be readable, let alone look as you designed on other web browser and system configurations.

It is therefore, a good idea to test your website in multiple browsers, because you need to make sure it works in as many of them as possible. That way, you do not need to worry about which browser has the highest market share because you have tailored you site to all browsers.

Of course, you could install multiple internet browsers and adjust your screen size. But a new website called browsershots.org aims to change all that by giving web designers quick and dirty screen shots of your site on 22 (at the current count including versions of firefox, safari, internet explorer, flock, epiphany, opera and many other) browsers and other selectable preferences (such as screen size, java, swf, pdf). It then posts the screen shots for you to view.

It is not a perfect solution, as there is no interaction with the browser, but it is a good place to start and at least gives you an idea if the layout is acceptable.

Found via: If Jesus had a website

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