Web Design Critique: Hungry Heart Ministries

Hungry Heart MinistriesToday’s Design Month Critique goes to Hungry Heart Ministries, in Texarkana, Texas.

Their website address is:
http://www.ourchurch.com/member/h/Hungry_Heart/

First Impressions

When I first visited the site, my initial reaction was “Boy, that’s loud!” After reading through some of the pages, a strange thing happened. It actually brought a smile to me face because I could feel the enthusiasm through their color schemes and font size. Of course, being a web designer, I have a lot to say…

I wanted to know what type of ministry “Hungry Heart” was. I saw the huge title graphics, a definition of “Hungry Heart” and then an invitation to visit another website for more info, but I still did not know what type of ministry this was.

Make sure to state what it is that Hungry Heart Ministry does up front. If I were visiting the site, I’d want to know if this was a ministry that could cater to my needs. Is this a church? Is this a food program? Is it for teens? What do they offer?

Text

I have to address the multiple colored text. Usually, in web design, you want to stick to 3 colors at the most. One of those colors needs to be considered your main color and the others would be considered highlights.

Now, I did see another possibility that you can run with if you like. In your menu, I noticed that ever menu item was a different color. If you like the multicolor idea, here’s something you can do:

First of all, make sure all the text in your menu is uniform. Make them all the same size and capitalization. I noticed that the  “A&A Teen Talk” and “The Called” items are significantly larger than the rest.

Next, what you’ll want to do is make the main text color of each page match your menu item. It’s a neat effect if applied properly.

I would avoid any greens, blues or purples on the blue background that you chose. Use yellows, oranges, reds and white (and maybe even fuschia) for the text.

As far as text size. Many people like to use large fonts so the page is easier to read. Well, text can also be hard to read if it’s too large as well. I think the largest you would want to go would be about the size of your menu text.

Images

I liked the image you placed at the top of the questions and answers page. You may consider finding more images like this to place at the top of your other pages. You may consider cropping the pictures so that it looks more like a panoramic photo That way, it can still span across the top of the content, but not be too tall.

Let’s talk about animation. The pulsating hearts are cute, but distracting. It actually took attention away from your text. The spinning cross was okay, but the quality seemed a little poor.

I noticed the jagged outline of your images (the hearts, the cross and the ant). This is typical of GIF images that are on the wrong colored background. These graphics were made to be put on a white background. They actually might look better if you placed a table around them with a white background. As far as the hearts, again, too distracting.

Try sticking to photos or non-animated, high-quality clip art.

Music

There has always been a debate out there on whether or not you should add music to your site or not. Personally, I do not like it, but I know that there are many people who do.

If you are going to put music on your site, make sure that you are allowed to. Then, make sure that your are choosing music that will be appealing to your target audience.

Page by Page Quick Tips

For the Devotion Archives page, make the title of each devotional larger that the body of the devotional.

For the “The Called” page, try to find a larger picture. It’s hard to make out the faces of the members.

For the A&A Teen Talk page, decrease the font and make sure that there is space in between paragraphs. It little “white space” will help it to be easier to read.

For the Do You Know Him page, the same as above. Decrease the font and add space between paragraphs. One big block of text is hard to read.

For the Our Vision page, just decrease the size of the font. There are some lines that only contain 3 words because the text is too big. Plus, I was constantly scrolling to keep reading on.

For the Questions and Answers page, decrease the font and make the questions bold, to stand out even more.

Summary

I think with the decrease in font size and more uniform text colors, you can make this site a lot easier to read and less distracting.

One thing you might consider, being a Beacon user, is migrating your site over to our new NE1 website Builder. There are several templates to choose from that are considered to be more modern that the Beacon templates.

I also noticed that you are asking for people to send their email address to subscribe to you devotions. You might consider using the NE1 website Builder with the Starter hosting package. It includes an eNewsletter that your site’s visitors can subscribe to right there on the site.

If NE1 is not for you, I would still consider purchasing the Ad-Free option to remove the Banner and Text ads from the top and left hand side.

For those of you reading this blog, please post your suggestions for “Hungry Heart Ministries” below.

Mike joined OurChurch.com as Web Designer/Developer in September, 2006. Born and raised in Houston, TX, he is now married and has 3 adorable children. In his spare time he enjoys playing piano/keys and singing throughout the local area as well as at church. You may also see him acting in church dramas as well as a local Improv Comedy Troupe!

7 Responses to “Web Design Critique: Hungry Heart Ministries”

  1. I really enjoy the web design critiques because it has the potential to help everybody. I always go to see the site itself to see if I agree with the suggestions. In this case I certainly do. The website is passionate, sincere and absolutely interesting in what it is saying, but the hearts and the fonts are too distracting. Nonetheless, I read most of the website and really enjoyed the Q&A page, this was probably my favorite. Keep up the good work, Hungry Heart Ministries…and kudos to OurChurch for this informative way to teach all of us how to have better websites!

  2. I enjoy these critiques as it helps me to perhaps go back and look at my website and make adjustments accordingly.
    I certainly agreed with your critique on this webiste (Hungry Heart). I usually go and look at them myself and to me it was all too over-powering. I believe it could be much improved if they follow your suggestions. I really didn’t feel I wanted to go beyond the first page.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading the critiques…this is my first time dealing with a web site and I’m not sure I know what I’m doing most of the time. I’ve been learning through trial and error. I agree the bigger the font the harder it is to read. I have the most problems with images.

    I would love to see some graphics about Black History Month which of course is this month. I would like to incorporate that theme into the website for my church.

  4. Ok, I enjoy the website critiques as it helps me take another look at my own websites. I enjoyed the last critique and while it was a lot more professional looking the critique was actually brutually honest. This month’s seems less honest and a whole lot less brutual, but a serious website needs a serious critique. This website is not just unappealing because of they have different font size or colors…how about the fact that it is gaudy and juvenile?! The site looks like it was put together by a bunch of 9th graders in an “Intro to Websites” class. There is more to a website than font size and colors. The graphics of the heart with the bread of “I AM” in it is cheap and cheesy. The background is annoying. Please critique in a way that is helpful, because if I was the webmaster of this site I would just adjust my font size and make one (or three) uniform color(s) of my text adn felt that you liked everything else. I would wager (a Heavenly bet!) that there is a lot more to this site that needs professional help than just the font and colors. I understand that you don’t want to insult your hosted customers and may be you sent a private message outlining a more realistic critique but please critique all selected websites professionally and honestly.

    God bless all you 9th grader webmasters, you have to start somewhere please start with your colors and fonts..then quickly move on to your graphics and backgrounds, etc.

  5. Well! If you want a reality critique I think this site is way too loud and where is the content? I find nothing interesting to look at or read. In fact what I did find to read troubled me deeply.

    HHM said “2. I DON’T BELIEVE I NEED CHURCH, IT’S FULL OF TOO MANY HYPOCRITES.
    Hypocrites are lost! If you let them keep you from church, you are no better than they are and you will spend eternity with them (Matt.23:27-33).”

    I know there are hypocrites in church but if they are Christians then despite their faults they are still going to heaven. Are you really saying here that if a person is a hypocrite s/he is bound for hell regardless of his/her love for Jesus?

    Come on OCC. Can’t you find any better sites than this? There must be plenty of church websites out there worthy of your critiques.

  6. Cilla, please keep in mind that a) these are website DESIGN critiques and not critiques of the content, and b) we are trying to select a broad array of organizations and websites to critique.

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