Launch of new church website

It’s launched! See It was much harder than I thought, but it’s wonderful to see it live. We announced it to the congregation this morning.
[My sister shot a video of our website launch and speeches … it needs editing before being uploaded here]
I have to thank the rest of the team for pulling through this together. Individually:
Chrissy – The best project manager I’ve worked with. In the face of deadlines, she kept her cool throughout. She reminded us nicely when things were due, and she was really prompt with meeting notes and deliverables. She also stepped in when things didn’t make sense. Thanks for praying for us all.
Tony – The mild-mannered guy who edited all the copy and got everyone to submit their content in time. If you’ve ever been in a project involving lots of people’s inputs, you will know that is not an easy thing to do. He laid down the ‘no more than two clicks’ rule for our website to improve usability.
Carson – If you think me being a law grad turned self-taught web designer/new media person is unusual, try an investment banker turned Ruby on Rails developer, among other languages. Also self-taught. Respect! But I think this is the last time we’ll ever use Joomla as a CMS. We made a lot of phone calls to each other to sort out funny things, had debates over screen resolutions, colours, layouts… but it was a good experience.
Gordon – A reliable and familiar face as we both worked on the previous website together. Initially it hurt me a bit to hear people dissing the old site, which looked OK when it was launched 4 years ago but was left untouched until our new Vicar arrived. Gordon spoke up for my efforts then, and was also there to provide the IT know-how throughout this project.
Our Vicar, Philip Sinden – The whole site was planned based on his vision for the church, that the website should not be about the church as a building but about the church as a community. That certainly put us on the right track and we bore that in mind throughout our project. His humility shone through, but he was also decisive and firm when he needed to be. He’s a great guy.
Annette, Brenda, Vanini, Cynthia – all the church staff who helped us sort out the content and publish pages. It was a team effort and I admire their efforts to learn how to use Joomla when they normally use Office. Thanks to Annette for updating the old site in Dreamweaver for the past 4 years. She learnt fast.
Thanks also to the Parish Church Councilfor their feedback and content contributions. I am still tickled by that meeting with them, when we realised they were not old fogies but very Web 2.0 savvy!
What do I remember most about the project, as a designer?
I remembered why we should pray to God for all things. After the initial excitement, I started treating this like any other work project and was feeling inadequate at not being able to figure out why the stylesheets were disobeying me (yes, it was starting to get personal). Suddenly I realised I had not prayed for help! After that I kept asking the Lord to guide me. I even put prayers at the start of my rebellious stylesheets. Not so coincidentally, a few bugs which were, erm, bugging me, suddenly became very obvious to me and I fixed them. After that all the styles fell into place. Amen!
As with the previous church website, as far as I could help it the site does not have any colour codes with the numbers #666 (mid-gray). I changed it to #777 which is a close match – but don’t the numbers look more assuring!
Web standards police – please go easy … at first our templates were perfectly validated and I was positively gleeful. However as more of us started pasting text in and creating new modules, the ampersands and other things got out of hand. It seems that Joomla changes whatever valid code I’ve written into invalid code again! It also generates mystery span and div classes not in my stylesheets. Oh well. If it is good enough for God’s word to be accessed by members and newcomers, I will leave it at that.