SansBlogue  
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
 
Vision Network, Evangelical and Open, or Adobe and closed::

Vision Network, the Evangelical "umbrella" in NZ has a new website. It is done in Joomla an Open Source CMS. Whether you start by some random clicking around (as I did) or by reading Glyn Carpenter's welcome "speech" you'll soon spot the intention of being open and interactive. You can comment - like a blog - a surprisingly rare feature on an "institutional" website. If you register and you can even go further and place content on the site! (Though currently this is not working for me, probably a temporary glitch, they had to move the site to the new CMS under time pressure due to ISP problems...)

The site design is fairly clean and easy, it has a nice feature (given the basic print-legacy reluctance of most CMS designers to really accommodate variable width designs) of allowing you to "set preferences like page width and font size" (a technical step in the right direction - of user empowerment [especially nice for IE users, FF users can just CTRL-+ or - anyway ;-)]).

Currently the site has too little content, though getting people to submit reports from the annual meeting was a good idea. Glyn is also approaching people to get discussion starter type material which should help.

The real innovation here - especially for Evangelical sites in NZ - is that it seems set up to encourage interaction and discussion. As a Baptist I like that, church is about a community of people seeking God, and God's will, together... Discussion and even debate is not something to be feared, but welcomed and encouraged.

Apart from more content, which time and Glyn's efforts should fix, how could this be better? Give us RSS and/or email notification of new material in sections we choose to subscribe to, that way I don't have to remember to visit, but will be reminded when there is something new to read. Glyn also says that they are working on a "help" section, so that users who are less inclined to play can be told how to perform various tasks...

So all in all a really good start, and an encouraging move towards greater interaction with people outside the inner circle. (Not just "Web 2.0", but the "priesthood of all believers"! )

PS: I also just "attended" an Adobe eseminar on Adobe® Captivate™ 2 for Education lots of brouhaha and reminder emails, started at 6:45am (good job I'm a "lark"), and then quite disappointmentnt. Basically a long Flash presentation with audio, but (almost) no interaction. It seems to me that Adobe just don't "get" it, top-down, daddy-knows-best no longer "captivates" even with "multimedia"multimediaia here means that the words are read as well as printed, and the slides are animated Powerpoint style as well - wow [what is the smiley for "yawn"]).



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