Nominating committee

Wow. That throws me into flashbacks. Nominating Committee season in a Baptist Church always turned our house (the parsonage) into a prickly pear patch of anxiety (would Janice agree to teach the pre-schoolers instead of the early elementary group, which has been her self-proclaimed “calling” for 20 years?); frustration (why can’t Bro. Halstead and his wife see that nobody wants them leading the youth group anymore?); and resentment (you just know the Trustees are going make a stink about getting a fourth member added to the board now that the new fellowship hall is finished). Anyway … enough rabbit chasing: nominations are pretty much in for the first ever Averys. The category: worst website for a fulltime sg group. And the nominees are (as per your emails):

Jody Brown Indian Family
The Lesters
The Imperials
Greater Vision
The Stamps
The Chuck Wagon Gang
The Inspirations

Obviously, different people have different criteria for what constitutes BAD and WORST. The Imps site, for instance, doesn’t look so bad to my eye, but - as one reader asked by way of condemnation - is it ever updated? Another interesting one is the Jody Brown Indian Family. I’m not much surprised that someone nominated them (the site lacks discipline and focus for sure). But I am surprised how many of you wrote to complain about the site, which - while less than stunning is not nearly as bad as some of the sites that only got one or two nominations (i.e. The Inspirations). So now may be a good time to lay down the criteria I’m using to select a “winner.” Essentially, I’m looking for two things: design and timeliness. Is the site professionally designed (that is, does it look like the online face of a fulltime ministry and is it intuitively organized?) and is the information on the site timely and comprehensive?

By that standard, the list above can be pretty quickly pared down a few key contenders: namely, the Inspirations, the Lesters, and Greater Vision. So without further ado:

Second Runner Up: The Lesters. This site is actually a pretty recent revamp from what was there six months or so ago. Unfortunately, it’s a change for the worse. The biggest problem with the site is that it just lacks any intuition, either aesthetically or organizationally. I mean, what’s up with two different group pictures tombstoned on the home page? Why is one of those pictures distorted and hotlinked to a page that doesn’t logically appear in the site navigation anywhere else, while the other picture is static? Why have two separate links for EVENTS and SCHEDULE? Why do key pages exceed even the generous width of my monitor? And so on. This is all the more painful for me to say because the Lesters are hometown favorites and very good artists. Sigh.

First Runner Up: The Inspirations. This site pretty much speaks for itself … and speaks and speaks and speaks. Indeed, the site’s main problem (among many) is its too-muchness. Too many colors. Too many animations, too many fonts, too many words, too many clickables, too many pictures, too much of just about everything … except of course taste, discipline, and clarity. What kept it from being the best/worst is that, oddly enough, it seems strangely appropriate for the Inspirations. The site, like the group itself, is unsophisticated and garish (those matching red and blue suits, down to the shoes). Both the site and group’s music share a conspicuous lack of ironic distance from itself … somehow, when you listen to the group and look at their website, in both cases you can pretty much imagine the guys sitting back, surveying the workmanship and saying, “yeah, … that’s just about right.” And everyone nods with self-satisfaction.

And the worst winner is: Greater Vision. Hands down, the worst site of a genuinely top-tier, musically first-rate standard-bearing group in sg right now. I’ve railed about it before, so I won’t go on at too much length but this site is just atrocious. Unlike the group itself, the site has no class, no sense of taste, no discipline and no coherent notion of what it wants to do and achieve. The pictures are cartoonishly distorted (which is too bad, because the photo section is pretty interesting), the online store is a mixed bag at best and more than a few readers regularly write into say the site is altogether inaccessible on a semi-regular basis. And this is America’s favorite gospel trio? C’mon. It’s just baffling to me that a guy as savvy as Gerald Wolfe, a group as attuned to what works from the stage and in the studio, can be so oblivious or unconcerned about their online presence as this site makes them out to be. Imagine if their cd covers looked this amateurish? Or their clothes? Or their bus? Oh my.

Thanks to the resident avfl artist for the statuette. And thanks to everyone who wrote in with nominations and ideas. I’ll follow up later with the best good sites.

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