Dan rants: Chattanooga Spirit website

Recently, in a discussion amongst friends, the Chattanoga Spirit web site came up. I've been in an obnoxious mood recently and I wasn't about to let my click get wasted.

Yes, this is nasty and personal and vicious. Piss off. Taking my angst out on anonymous people via sarcasm beats some of the alternatives.

I thought it was a gorgeous site. Lots of whitespace. Lots and lots of whitespace. Lots and lots of useless wasted whitespace. So much whitespace, in fact, that my mouse hand is cramping up from scrolling. That stolen cheesey clip-art wizard. The appropriate font for every word, in some cases they even went so far as to customize size, style and color by individual letter. That shows real attention to detail.

The use of banner ad shaped graphics for navigation is simply brilliant, ensuring that the only people who follow those links are of the mentality that click through banner ads. What a fantastic way to filter your users and select your audience, one can only assume that the workshops start with MLM seminars and if you sign up for the mailing list you'll get all the "Work part time from home", "Pay no taxes legally" and "NPR petition needs your support" email that you've been missing out on.

Obviously having everything centered reflects the spiritual centeredness of the creator of the site. Similarly, the use of single word lists, incomplete sentences, and lots of ellipsiis indicates someone thinking on such a higher plane that they don't even make sense to us mere mortals.

The fact that they've taken the time to build 7 categories of places and extensively populated that list, often with two or three references to their own businesses per category, shows a desire to be all-inclusive in a way that one rarely sees in web publications these days.

The intuitive navigation scheme, enabled by text like "Click on the rainbow buttons" and "click here" shows an attention to the user experience that is just stunning in its minimalism, especially since the "rainbow buttons" look nothing like... well... buttons. Such brilliance hasn't been seen since David Siegel published "Creating Killer Web Sites" or Jeffrey Zeldman proposed making web pages unusable if you aren't using his favorite browser.

The whole "Christian Tantra" thing shows an ability to think outside the box. So to speak. I'm looking forward to "Muslim Zoroastrianism" personally, although I think I'd settle for a little good old Baptist sodomy.

As if renaming "swingers who go to church" wasn't enough (next we'll be "leveraging the synergy by exploring new paradigms!"), they've also the nebulously named "Juicer", in "PG, R or X-rated" varieties for "singles, duets, small intimate groups" and, wait for it, "large gatherings". The prospect of mass gropes of a scale not seen since the Lookout Mountain Adult Motel... or... maybe just since the last Chattacon... is ever so enticing.

And lest you think that this is the home of fringe wackos, why, they even include mainstream Chattanooga organizations. Yes, sir, that link to WGOW shows that... well... that they figured out enough HTML to link to sites off of their own server too.

I think this deserves front and center attention on Chattanooga.net . In big bold blinking multicolored text. In fact, I think might even have potential to be the next Mahir.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2001 danlyke@flutterby.com