There was no caption, no explanation on the home page of what was going on. I said to my young friend who asked me to look at the site, “A picture of a sexy woman in a tight t-shirt getting out of a hot tub and being hugged by guys might be viewed by a Web visitor who knows nothing about church as just weird, or they might think hot tub parties are what you do at church.
Many people have no idea that a baptism in a hot tub in Southern California is not anything unusual; most likely, they may not even know what a baptism is, what it means, or why we do them.”
My friend groaned…and realized that the church had a lot more work to do on the site.
The challenge of images
Lots more can be said about Web site construction, but the important lesson here has to do with one of the most incredibly stupid statements ever made, and that is, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Maybe. But as I always remind people, without a caption or explanation, the question is always “Which thousand?”
To compound the confusion of these images, in the case of this Web site, my friend told me that the baptism really meant a lot to the Webmaster who put it up there. It was his friend’s baptism, someone he had about prayed for years. He knew what was going on, and the images did bring back perhaps a thousand thoughts and memories of that joyous occasion, but without a caption or explanation, his happy memories really couldn’t be shared with anyone else and could be confusing and distasteful.
Some lessons to be learned in communicating with images on your Web site or in print: