Designing a Website.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!
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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.
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.
this occurs between graphic designers and photographer when making photography books and I can not stand it.
Originally Posted by Satinsnow
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.
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