Month: February 2014

Wanderlust Productions

Navigation

The main navigational menu of Wanderlust Productions’ website is located at the top right corner of the site page. It’s a smaller menu with five tabs (three of which have drop-down sub menus) and is easy to navigate through. Within the drop-down portions of the main menus’ tabs are appropriate subsections depending on the category of the tab. For example, under the “Movies” tab are links to each of the company’s individual sub-sites for their films, under the “Updates” tab are various news, blog, and video updates, along with press reviews, etc.

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Also featured on every page of the company’s website, is a vertical tab on the left side of the page labeled “Questions”. Here, anyone who is has any type of question for Wanderlust Productions can click on this tab and submit their question to be answered by the company. The only link that is not easily navigated to from the main page is the customer support page. The customer support page is actually a forum-like page with FAQ’s and additional customer support info. One suggestion I would make for a more viewer friendly navigation, is to implement a “Search” bar somewhere on every page in case a viewer wanted to find a specific page, article, or piece of information they had seen or read in the past.

Page Layouts

The main pages on the Wanderlust site are setup in a user-friendly style as are the individual sub-sites for each film. On the main pages of the website, the company’s name is located at the top left corner which provides a link back to the main page on every other page. The menus are also very visible and well placed on every page throughout the site. The use of pictures and graphics (especially on the main page) is very appealing. Each of the films has their own individual sub-site which are all laid out in a balanced and similar style. The entire site is unified and balanced but gives each of the films a unique graphic look and design for their sub-sites.

Consistency

The pages are consistent with the placement of the menu tabs as well as with colors, font types, and headers. The sub-sites for each of the films are very consistent as well. The menus on the film’s individual sites are consistent with the labeling of tabs and the placement at the top of page as well.

Another consistency is found in the Wanderlust Productions “Store” page. A new menu is presented and remains constantly on the right side of the page throughout the entirety of the store. The store menu is simple and easy to navigate, and it doesn’t provide any way for you to get lost within an endless rabbit trails of pages. The main menu is always available on the top right of every page in the “Store” and the “Store” menu provides different methods of browsing and shopping (by project, by product type, and by category).

Tone and Voice

Since most of the updates and blog posts are written by Wanderlust’s founder Darren Wilson, most of the writings from the website are in his personal and friendly tone of voice. However, on the informational pages about the company as well as the itinerary page a more formal and corporate tone of voice is used. The difference in the tones is obvious and the tone of the informational, corporate voice may be slightly too formal in regards to the spirit of Darren Wilson and the company as a whole. In my opinion, the difference isn’t distracting or bothersome though.

On the page about the members of the team, a friendly tone of voice is used, similar to Darren’s, but I’m not entirely sure who the author of each bio is. This is definitely a very fitting tone of voice for Wanderlust, especially with this section of more personal information about each team member.

Writing Quality

As I mentioned, Darren Wilson writes in a very friendly and casual tone which is easy to read and comprehend. The writing on the site is free from any blatant errors and mistakes (I haven’t proofread the entire site, but I haven’t noticed any obvious errors while reading). Darren is a writer and a storyteller, so his writing is not only grammatically sound but is entertaining as well. The audience that is most likely reading anything from the Wanderlust site (fans of the films) will be captivated by Darren’s updates and blogs.

Wanderlust Productions’ films are all documentaries about God and Darren is the narrator and storyteller in all three. His writing style is identical to the way he narrates the films so the majority of the writing on the site is perfectly geared towards the target audience.

Site Organization

Wanderlust Productions provides an easy to navigate website loaded with entertaining updates and news, insightful background information on the company, in depth summaries and information on the films and future projects, quick ways to contact the company and ask questions, and fast and easy ways to buy any of their products. All of these features are organized in a simple and viewer friendly fashion with the help of the main menu, drop down menus, and a content focused page. There are no ads screaming at you from the sides of the screen or in between the messages of content. The site doesn’t give you the opportunity to get lost in myriad pages of endlessness. Also, the page options are all neatly organized by category via the tabs and drop downs in the main menu.

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Back Pain: Gone In 60 Seconds

Way of Hope

The Way of Hope is an organization that provides food and shelter for homeless women and children in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Every day, local ministries and churches take turns letting the Way of Hope use their facilities overnight to provide the women and their kids a safe place to sleep.

Last August, I decided to volunteer at the Way of Hope for the first time and help as the “security team” with two of my friends one night. This particular story, however, begins that next morning whenever we woke up.

In the Morning

That entire morning, I just felt out of it. I felt like I was not really in control of anything I was doing. Almost as if I was simply going through a daily routine, or something of that nature, but this was definitely not my daily routine. I mean, I woke up at a homeless shelter and was about to eat breakfast with these women and children who I had never met before. Well, I fixed my breakfast, then I noticed Tarah. Tarah was one of the ladies who had stayed there that night, and she was sitting at a table by herself. Being in the unusual mindset I was in that morning, I just automatically walked over to her, without putting any thought into it, and asked to sit with her.

Love In Action

As I began to eat, we started chatting. She told me about how she had constant back pain and has had six surgeries due to some deteriorating discs in her back. My response was slightly off from what I would have normally expected from myself:

“Hey, can I pray for your back?”

She said that anything would help, so I put my hand on her back and started to pray. I thanked God for how much He loves Tarah and asked Him, in Jesus name, to just glorify Himself and demonstrate His love and power by creating new discs in her back and taking away all of her pain. When I finished praying over her, I looked up and, at first, saw tears in her eyes, then saw her open them up real wide.

Hope & Healing

“Your hand was on fire when you were praying…” she almost whispered, as she reached out to feel my hand which was back to normal temperature.

I knew immediately that God had just done something, and she confirmed it by telling me that there was no more pain in her back. She absolutely lost it at this point and was just crying. I lost it too, but I going crazy with joy! God had literally just healed this lady right before my eyes. I looked over at my friend Austin, both of us with gaping smiles on our faces, and I started running around praising Jesus for what He had just done. Tarah, full of tears and all kinds of emotions, said she needed a cigarette, so she walked towards the door and told everyone she walked past what had just happened to her.

Ever since that day, I have continued to help at the Way of Hope as much as I can and have seen God move in creative, new ways in many more people’s lives.