When you ask people in the church who can fix a car, crochet, shingle a roof, or bake a gold medal pound cake… people will most likely not lie about their talents. If they cannot do it, they admit it without shame. However when it comes to the web, everyone has an opinion. That opinion often spills over into them deciding how the site should look. Do not relegate your designers to the task of simply pushing pixels. Let them do their job and they will continue to surprise you!
Know How to Critique
Design is the art and science of solving problems. You gave your designer a problem of crafting a combination of text, colors, and images that is aesthetically pleasing, informative, and supports your overall business goals. If your web designer comes to you with a proposal, do not come back with comments like “I don’t like that shade of blue”. Approach it with reiterating the intent of the design. “I was hoping that site to be light and welcoming, could you change it to make that more obvious to me?” You are no longer criticizing specifics of the design; you are coming alongside the team and offering some clarification. However, realize that some designers consider their work a perfect art form. It is up to you to help them understand that their work needs to fully support a predetermined marketing campaign.
Worry About Big Stuff
Another thing to practice is not homing in on one small detail you do not like. A design is made up of many small details. Changing one small thing like a color, spacing, or a font, can have massive impacts on the rest of the design. It is like making a house out of blocks, and exchanging one size block for that of another. It will cause an imbalance and will often lead to more changes.
If you have someone with in the congregation with web design experience, or you hire an outside company, keep in mind that they are the professional. Keep your opinions focused to the overall feel rather than small details. Make suggestions that are more general and let the designer adjust the composition to convey that feeling.
Give guidance and ask questions, but let your designers do their job. The Apostle Paul grew many churches by planting a seed and watering it from time to time; not by micro-managing the fledgling church to death.
Photo courtesy of Flavio Takemoto