It’s unimaginable the amount of information that the human brain processes without the individual even knowing. Color patterns, text size, and pictures are just a few of the many factors that subconsciously influence what the individual thinks of a certain think. While he or she doesn’t realize, the brain registers what is being seen, felt, smelled, etc. and puts it in perspective of previous memories, and after all, that is done the individual has an opinion of whatever is in question. This process takes fractions of a second and is done thousands, if not millions of times per day by every single person. Analyzing things and formulating opinions is inherent to the human being, and thus when creating something companies and organizations should think carefully about what they want their customers to perceive. And most do. This wasn’t the case, however, for the Community House Church. When looking at their website, it is easier to analyze what’s not there than what is. The message conveyed to the public is one of simplicity, lacking detail and being straight to the point about what they want the reader to know.
Maybe the developers aimed for simplicity. But even if that’s the case, their website is still too bland. Their texts lack detail and depth, leaving many questions unanswered. The same image is displayed across all pages, and no other images are available. Many hyperlinks don’t work, and some that work display malformatted texts, with words overlapping and not fitting in the frames.
The color scheme is very neutral, combining a gradient light blue that eventually fades into white. Choosing this color pattern makes sense because it incites tranquility. Had they chosen red or other stronger, more vibrant colors, they would’ve deviated from the main message of their community. Lighter and less vibrant colors subconsciously make the brain think about peaceful and pleasant things, the kind of thoughts a church would want their members or prospective members to have.
Another element that is very perceptible to the viewer is the lack of images in the website. Throughout the entire website, only one image is displayed (See image below).
The image is rather dull and uninviting, which makes the viewer question why it was chosen to be the only one used. The people in the picture look very expressionless, all of them are looking down and they’re holding bells. Maybe the image was captured in a moment of reflection or prayer, but it doesn’t do a good advertisement for the Church. Having only one image is a risk because the viewer will make up their mind based on only one piece of evidence. In this image, for example, every single community member is white. This could lead someone to question their race and diversity acceptance, even though the website states they’re open to all the public. This is just one of the many conclusions that someone might jump to because there’s only one image present. On top of this, the image seems to represent one type of their meetings, which is for kids. The picture isn’t of their main service, and it raises the question as to why they chose not to include a representation of their main “product”. This also emphasizes the simplicity of the website. The image is stickied to the top of the top of the website and is present in all the pages throughout the domain.
The writing present on the website is very straightforward. There’s no praising or speaking highly of the community on the website, it is just there to inform the viewer of their purpose, the services they offer and the meeting times. It is limited to describing objectively the Church. The text below was taken directly from the website:
Small groups of 4-8 people meet regularly to get to know each other better. The format of the small group is flexible and decided by the members of each group. Speak to a regular attender if you are interested in joining a small group. (Community House Church)
The church relies more on a word of mouth advertising, rather than advertising through their official website. It is interesting to note that they don’t specify who to talk to. This shows that they must have a strong relationship with their members since they trust any one of them to inform newcomers about the proceedings of the church. Also, the text informs the reader about how the church functions. Aside from the worship services, the church offers small group meetings and Sunday School for children. Again, this shows the simplicity that whoever developed the website was aiming for, using limited text and being straight to the point.
The meetings of the church are held in the building shown in the picture above. Once a week the church rents out rooms at Mary’s Center, where they hold their infant and adult congregations. The organization was founded in the 20th century and works to provide medical help to those in need. While its initial purpose was to help latino females with medical aid, Mary’s Center has expanded and today serves thousands, if not millions, of people in the DC area (Mary’s Center). Even though there could be a strong connection between the church and the health center, both fail to establish it. The church mentions its meetings are located in Mary’s Center, but the church isn’t even mentioned in maryscenter.org.
The Community House Church isn’t the biggest nor the only church in the Adams Morgan area. A quick search in the yellow pages reveals that there are at least five big churches around the area (Religious Organizations Adams Morgan). This search doesn’t take into considerations small communities such as the Community House Church. According to Find The Home, Adams Morgan has 82% more religious organizations than average for DC neighborhoods, with the majority being Catholic or Baptist (Adams Morgan). The neighborhood that was once divided because of race is now fairly split on religious affiliation. This divide is interesting when put into the scenario of the Community House Church since they claim to be non-denominational (Community House Church). According to Find The Home, the church is the only official non-denominational gathering in the Adams Morgan area. Again, this could be beneficial to the community. The Huffington Post recently came out with an article stating that millennials are the least religious generation yet due to the focus on individualism. Millennials are seeking betterment for their own lives, and if it takes changing religions or having no faith at all to achieve that they won’t hesitate to do so (Cooper-White). This is why a broad church with a wide acceptance of beliefs such as the Community House Church is important. It is a more appealing place to the younger generations, a place with fewer do’s and don’ts and more acceptance.
The common idea that is present in the entire website is simplicity. One may judge this as good or bad, but at the end of the day, the key message that the website has to deliver is there. The community doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, so why should the viewer? They don’t see their church as a product, and therefore they don’t feel the need to work on advertising it through their website. While there would be ways to make it more appealing and have a stronger representation, there’s nothing wrong with what they currently have. As said before, it is easier to analyze what they don’t have than what they do, since it is overly simplified. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” Keep it clean, keep it simple, keep it effective. There are different ways to convey the same message. How one chooses to deliver it is entirely up to their judgment.
“Adams Morgan.” Find The Home. Graphiq, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.
“Community House Church.” Communityhousechurch.org. Free Website Templates, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.
Cooper-White, Macrina. “Millennials Are The Least Religious Generation Yet, And Here’s The Surprising Reason Why.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 May 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
“Mary’s Center.” Mary’s Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.
“Religious Organizations Adams Morgan.” YellowPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.