Designing a Website.

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by waynecrider, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I sat last night with pencil and paper creating a, let's call it, storyboard for my website. Today I looked at quite a few different sites to see what I liked and didn't like from the viewpoint of being a potential client for whatever kind of work produced. I saw some good things and alot of bad. As a potential client, what draws you into a website or turns you off from going thru it? I ask only that I don't make some stupid mistakes, and that maybe others with sites could improve them.
     
  2. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    the use of Flash animation/navigation/menus annoys me to no end and I usually completely ignore any website that utilizes it, no matter how good the work is.

    I always tend to enjoy the simplest, cleanest, most efficiently navigable, photo websites. to much glitter and crap just seems to detract from the imagery. sometimes that might be a good thing of course.
     
  3. wfe

    wfe Member

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    My preference is minimalist with nothing that moves. If I go to a site and something is moving or animated I am gone. There are some good sites with well done Flash presentations that I would exclude from this. I guess I am referring to cheesy movements.

    Don't give them too much, it is nice if the visitors want more. Also I think that it is important to have a target audience and design for it considering the purpose of the site.

    When I visit photography sites I am looking for good photographs in terms of subject, composition and general appeal. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to judge print quality on the web. Small amounts of text are also very nice.

    I also change mine up frequently to keep it fresh. If you subscribe to a periodical and it looks the same every month it will not be very exciting and attractive. Granted web sites are not periodicals but if return visitors see the same thing every time they will probably not return.

    I don't know the exact statistics but I believe that on average a person stays on one web page for a very short amount of time (probably only seconds) so give them something attractive.

    Good luck and let us know when you publish it.
     
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    The moment I see "loading, please wait" I hit the back button......

    I like uncluttered, simple web sites where the photography is the main attraction. I see no need for cute backgrounds, PS frames areound the picture, drawn shadows, etc, etc.

    A light gray or beige background, easily visible thumbnail are good enough for me...
     
  5. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'm actually a fan of the flash system (one of the few), but only for the clean design that can be imparted, though usually they are horrid, bloated things.

    One example of a flash site I like: http://www.maraini.com/index.htm

    Flash is definitely not needed at all, though.

    One example of an html site I really enjoy--very simplistic and to the point: http://www.scootermagruder.com/index.html
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Don't use flash.

    Don't exclude people who don't have flash, a particular media player, any special plug-in, or who don't accept cookies. Make it possible to use the site in a rewarding way for people who don't want to load up on flashing-neon-light software.

    Do use CSS. It allows you to edit the content and layout independently, and often displays better across browsers.

    Try using .png image format for your images. It's lossless, compressed, and contains gamma information so that it displays more consistently across different platforms if your browser is a decent one.

    Review the results in a number of browsers.

    Check it for W3C compliance.

    Lee
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Usually the most productive websites are the simplest to navigate and find what your looking for, one thing I see in alot of photography websites, is the photographers/webdesigner allows their ego to override their purpose, to often we see websites where the skill of the programer outweigh the skills of the photographer, myself personally don't like flash, frames or to many things on a page competing for my attention, if photography is the focus, make sure the photography is what stands out, and not the technology of the computer..

    One of the most important things to have a successful website, is the promotion aspect, you can have the prettiest website, if it is not promoted correctly, then it is a waste of time, this means making sure titles are in the page, key words and key phrased are properly done, text is spelled correctly, scrolling side to side, is ususally a no no, unless for panoramic prints, make sure your pictures don't take to long to load, I try to keep images under 100K, a big no no in website design is ever having the term "Under Construction" anywhere on the website, most search engines will not visit again if they run into those terms, so when you submit to search engines make sure it is ready for public viewing, make sure it is easy to contact you either by copyright on the bottom of the page, or have a dedicated contact page.

    In other words, don't do anything that makes it complicated for the prospective client to buy or gain more information from you.

    Dave
     
  8. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    this occurs between graphic designers and photographer when making photography books and I can not stand it.
     
  9. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    I like to view simple sites. I don't like animations (flash etc). I hate unrequested audio so much that I can't describe how much. I dislike being asked about cookies (I almost always say NO) unless I'm on a portion of a site where I'm about to spend money in which case it had better be a secure site. I dislike bright coloured backgrounds and coloured text. If I'm viewing an image I like it to be a full page image, not scrunched into a frame that I have to scroll around. I have no problem with images not being saveable - they don't belong to me anyway. What I like in images is about three steps for viewing size :: 1) thumbnail to get my interest linked to #2) about 650p to 800p wide for a quick view to see whether I want to follow another link to #3) a bigger picture that I know I'll have to scroll to see, but at least I'll want to.

    Summary : simple - untuitively navigable - clean appearance - no invasions of privacy.

    cheers
     
  10. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    Does anyone know how to find a web designer with the aesthetic sense to design a site as everyone's describing?
    My experience is most of them want to display their skills as designers, rather than convery your ideas about photography. The last guy I tried to work with (and fired) just didn't get it. He wanted to put my photographs in these little picture frame graphics, or drawings or whatever, with the picture frames on tripods. And lights spinning around the frames. I don't know if I'm describing this well, but it was just ghastly. Dean
     
  11. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    As one who almost ALWAYS looks to the Web for a product FIRST, both in my professional capacity and in my hobbies, I will list the things I will NOT tolerate when I am surfing with money to spend:

    1) Slow! I have mega-high speed at work and 36K dialup at home but I will not tolerate waiting. Keep the primary pages simple, clean, and FAST. Leave the heavy graphics load for very specific pages, ideally with a warning as to the size.

    2) Poor index, site map, or search functions. I know what I want and the first question I have is whether or not you have iti (or similar). If that question isn't answered in 30 Seconds, I AM GONE!

    3) Too many "phone for price" or "price on request". I am there to shop and if you wont post your prices, I don't have time for you.

    4) Information (links to other pages) too hard to find - they should JUMP right out at me when the page opens. Remember, I know what I am looking for - I probably got there thru a search engine and there's 7,000 other pages I can look at if your's doesn't grab me.

    Now I will say there are different styles of Web pages: some for entertainment, some informational, some aimed at sales. Make sure your Web page caters to those you are willing to spend you bandwidth on!
     
  12. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    You've started off the correct way. Figuring out how you want your web site to look and operate is the absolute first, most important and primary thing you can do. If you can reduce your concept to specifications then you should be able to communicate these to a web designer. Failing that, there is nothing quite like doing it yourself. I started with a six week course at the local community college for web design. I was able to construct a simple web site as a result of the course. After a year of playing with it, I upgraded my site. Web site construction is pretty easy. It's the image preparation and photoshop skills that are the time killer.

    My site is very different from other photography web sites. My stats show that web traffic dropped off after I launched version 2.0 this July, but traffic is now starting to pick back up. Most people are staying longer. Still, it's amazing the percentage of people that spend less than a minute at a web site.
     
  13. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    I recommend Jean at: http://www.welltempered.net/

    Just make sure you let her know you really want what you say you want.

    You can also let her know jvarsoke sent you. :wink:
     
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  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Here's a couple that seem rather nice and straightforward; No comment on the images. I'm on a DSL lite connection so both loaded very fast.

    http://www.michaelwilliams.co.uk/

    http://www.strawbridgephoto.com/

    Likes and dislikes:

    1. I don't like having to go thru alot of clicking to get to pictures in a particular category.
    2. I don't particularly like images that open so large that I have to scroll to see them on my 15" monitor. I can never see the whole image.
    3. I do like categories or images in a frame on one side opening to images on the other.
    4. I like to see properly exposed pictures where important details are not lost in shadows. Quite a simple thing, except some people don't know what consumates a good picture.
     
  16. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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  17. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Steve there's something about that dead space at the top on the second page that I don't like. I do like the fact the whole image on the second page can be seen. I think the images need to be moved up tho. Btw, I don't personally read copy except, place, type of print, cost if being sold etc, unless, your writing a travel column with images; I'll read that.
     
  18. Logic

    Logic Member

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    Dphphoto, why do you still deal with designers? I had the same problem as yours until I found that there are many programs which do not require any knowledge of HTML (which I had started learning at some time, just for the sake of making the type of site I want) . I personally use sitekreator.com as it’s free and offers a lot of decent and simple templates for the site. Simplicity makes your content stand out! You have the option to change the template whenever you want, to arrange the content on your pages however you want and even pass protect some of the pages or your whole site. Check it out.
     
  19. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    I have an old friend who referred to this as "dancing baloney." I still giggle when I think of that term.

    Sorry, I can't help you find a designer, however.
     
  20. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    I'm having Debbie Parker do mine (actually 2 different sites) ... it will be up and running soon and I will be able share with you all....she is very efficient....contact thro Satin Snow...Dave's wife...

    Dave in Vegas
     
  21. dylder

    dylder Member

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  22. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Don't use flash, shockwave or in any other way require me, the user, to download a browser plugin or any other kind of excecutable to my machine (including an OCX, ActiveX or other DLL). I absolutey will not and your site will either be broken or completely useless.

    If I have to click more than three times to find what I'm looking for, I'm likely gone.

    Dead links are a bad thing.
     
  23. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    I am looking to re-vamp my website. Up til now I've done it myself using a simple HTML text editor. I'm considering purchasing either Dreamweaver or Adobe GoLive and would be interested in hearing feedback from users of these (or other) programs.

    Thanks!
     
  24. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    As Dave mentioned, that is what my wife does for a living and is an award winning designer, the best program she has ever found that she uses for part of her work is a program call Netobjects, very easy to work with, not a big learning curve and very flexible to your input.

    Dave
     
  25. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Dreamweaver is a very powerful tool. I just purchased the Studio 8 (of which it is a part) and the parts mainly used by people like us would be Dreamweaver and Fireworks. I have yet to finish a site though I've been working on one in the evenings. If you have an older version of Dreamweaver, you can get Studio 8 for the upgrade price.

    p.s. before I tried Dreamweaver, I tried Net Objects 8 and it wasn't as easy as Dreamweaver. (my opinion only)
     
  26. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Just must be what you get used to, My Wife has been using Netobjects since day one about 10 years ago, I tried Dreamweaver and hated it, as I did golive, Adobe needs to stick to graphics programs and now that Macromedia is owned by Adobe, perhaps that will change.

    Dave