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.
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.
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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.
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)
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.
Originally Posted by colrehogan
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Finally, a voice of reason!
Originally Posted by dylder
Now for my thoughts...
The first thing you have to honestly ask yourself is what do you plan to do with your site? Is it really going to be a marketing tool? If so, then the site is just a small part of the work that must be done. You need search engine optimization and an actual STRATEGY.
Consider your audience. What are the demographics of those who will be purchasing your photography? Are they using PC's or Mac's? What is thier screen resolution? What is the price point? Do you want to sell volume or big ticket?
The answers will tell you what to design the funtionality around. The "look" will be determined by a competent and professional designer who should be asking you these questions and giving you several rounds of comps. If he or she doesn't ask or gets a blank expression on thier face when you bring these things up they aren't who you're looking for.
If your site is a way to share your work with the photographic community with the occasional print sale then you need to design to the weakest link or lowest common demographic. For this option it may be appropriate to design it yourself. There's a reason why Banana Republic looks different than Old Navy.
Sometimes these two audiences require the same functionality. You may be suprised.
My own site is designed for a very specific audience and I'd say that 99.9% of APUG users are not in my target audience (especially since there's no photography on my site!).
Be prepared for some sticker shock when dealing with a professional Graphic Designer. When I take on side projects like this my rate is no less than $50/hr. The good thing you have going for you is Graphic Designers are suckers for beautiful b/w photography and we love to make trades.
Do you live near a university? Go to the design professor, find out who the best student is and make a deal. Students need the experience and a photo site poses some interesting challenges and look great in a portfolio.
Remember, brutal honesty about what you really expect out of your site will prevent a lot of headaches.
Originally Posted by MenacingTourist
I agree with this 1000%, many times people do not be honest with themselves and then sit around and wonder why people are not looking...
Websites are not about technology, but are about ease of use and how quick can the person viewing get to what they want to see, I find that most of the time, photographers, over do it, when designing a website, I love to look at good photography, but hate to have to go through hoops to do it.
I agree with this, with one caveat. Depending on your needs, it may be a very workable option to have a website designed for you that permits self-maintenance - i.e. once you have it designed for you you can, with limited assistance, keep the site updated and current. If that is your goal, you need to make sure that your designer has experience designing that type of site, uses tools that are suited for that purpose, and is able to educate/train you in its operation. A review of a portfolio of work may not provide that information - you should ask for references from customers who have previously had that sort of work done.
Originally Posted by Logic
I used dreamweaver for a couple years, but I have found it is much harder for me to design using a GUI. It seems they limit what you can do to the way the programmer thought it should be done. I much prefer to use PHP, CSS and a good text editor. Also if you are doing your own design work you may want to install the webserver your host is using so you can test on your local machine, I would suggest Apache and if you need a database MySQL. Even if you start using Dreamweaver you will be glad you took the time to learn HTML because it will give you a better understanding of what your seeing and how to accomplish your goals. Also I would stay clear of GoLive, You may want to give a free program called Arachnophilia a try though.
Originally Posted by Kerik
Carpe Lumen -- seize the Light
Top Ten Web Design Mistakes - 2005 Edition (#3: Flash)
Look at other shooters' web sites. Do you have a lot or material like VII or a little material like Michael Kenna?
Look at the sites listed in B&W magazine every month (Ailsa, these ought to be collated on the web! Maybe as a special del.icio.us listing?) Likewise, PDN has several big "best photo web site" and self-promotion listings every year, all of them are very much worth your perusal both for getting ideas and of course seeing great content.
Web design for photography is like photography itself -- the subject should usually be at the core.