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11/27/2006 09:24:18 PM · #1
Hi Peeps

I've recently been working on a website (more for the learning factor than anything else) and it would be really great to get some feedback, be it positive or constructive, if any of you have a spare 5 minutes....

It's still being worked on and there are a few things than need fixing but the address is:

www.dewdodesign.co.uk

Thanks :o)

11/27/2006 09:31:19 PM · #2
I think your design is decent and easy to navigate. I'd probably prefer colors other than the standard blue and red text you've chosen but that's a personal preference. You could probably stand to have a little opening information on your front page, in addition to the news. I'd probably also capitalize the U in "About Us" and "Contact Us."

Most importantly though, the file size of your images is Way Too Big and is taking forever to load. You really shouldn't need the photos to be much over 150kb and some of yours are around 3MB. I can promise you that folks aren't going to wait around for more than one or two of those to load. There's a tutorial here on preparing images to enter for challenges...the same method can be used to resize for your website.

Hope that helps. I think you've gotten off to a good start and just need some tweaking. :)
11/27/2006 09:43:31 PM · #3
dude your pics are in high resolotion!, be carefull some one can steal your pics.
about the style, looks very clean, not very designed, i mean is simple but ok

Message edited by author 2006-11-27 21:46:48.
11/27/2006 09:47:39 PM · #4
Thanks MK for the suggestions it's good to know i'm at least going in the right direction and your comments are appreciated - will work on reducing the size and resolution of the files :o)

11/29/2006 12:46:15 PM · #5
Aha - I've founds something I can comment on! My photography skills may not be National Geographic quality, but I do know a thing or two about web development. Here are some thoughts for you (and other photographers, too!):

- Look. The site is interesting, but I bet there are a few things you can do to quickly improve the site. I notice you're picking similar colors on the color wheel. Although that may be interesting for certain websites, I'd suggest using bolder colors and a more artsy look. After all, photographers are artsy, so people might expect you to be more artsy. Here's an example of a simple site that might be of interest: //www.chrishinds.com/portfolio/chrishindsphoto/index.html. OK, so the muzak is canned, and probably better for a wedding portfolio, but it'll give you an idea of what you can do. Incidentally, this site was easy to make and manage using a flash tool that has a web backend for easily uploading new photos. This is, of course, just a demo site. Pick your own exciting color selections, and make them consistent (just as in a well designed shot).

- Just another idea, but what about a "portfolio" that resembles a book? Check out //www.chrishinds.com/portfolio/photographyportfolio/index.html for the thought.

- Yet another idea, this time with a marketing intro to show people that you mean business about capturing their life. //www.chrishinds.com/portfolio/perryaslyn/index.html. Again, this is just an example.

- Commerce. I notice you have some e-commerce on the site. Have you looked into some of the open source solutions? I haven't yet enabled e-commerce, but I use an open source solution to give my clients a way to view the work product online. Visit //www.chrishinds.com/photo/main.php for my portfolio site I'm working on now. By the way, I use my web browser to upload original images, and it automatically resizes them to the appropriate thumbnail and "full" image size. It has a shopping cart component that can send the info to a fulfillment house so you don't even have to mess with mailing the pics. Although this sounds a little salesy, I'm not related to the project, and it's free anyway, so if you're "sold," the price is still free. :)

If you have other questions about web design, perhaps I can help! I'm sure you'll reciprocate when I have my photography questions.
11/29/2006 01:05:04 PM · #6
i echo a lot that has already been said, especially the image size/load speeds.

also, consider the direction you are taking with your site. U have the shopping cart deal, and services you offer (which is a dead link now), but your front page reads like a version tracker history. are visitors to your site really going to be interested in the fact you have a new logo? or more interested in purchasing prints. (and if they are undecided or just clicking around...lead them to the more profitable option).

maybe add some photos to the main page, and some text about what you are doing instead of the latest updates to the site. get the user excited about your photography.

-max


11/29/2006 09:01:05 PM · #7
Chris - I'm loving that portfolio book! Just amazing. And thanks for taking the time to write so much, it's definitely given me plenty to think about - I'm in the process of trying to learn flash, as well as continuing to learn HTML, so hopefully in the future I can bring the two together. I'm also trying to learn a bit of PHP so I can make it more dynamic, but i'm struggling at the moment so we will see how this goes.

Max - I totally agree about the front page, it doesn't exactly spell out photography. This is likely to be my focus for the next few weeks.

Thank you to both of you for your comments :o)

11/29/2006 09:41:37 PM · #8
Just so you know. The two pieces of software used above were from //www.slideshowpro.net and //gallery.menalto.com
Both very useful and easily integrated. I did exactly the same thing:
//www.samchadwickphoto.com
11/29/2006 09:47:02 PM · #9
Originally posted by dewdodesign:

Chris - I'm loving that portfolio book! Just amazing. And thanks for taking the time to write so much, it's definitely given me plenty to think about - I'm in the process of trying to learn flash, as well as continuing to learn HTML, so hopefully in the future I can bring the two together. I'm also trying to learn a bit of PHP so I can make it more dynamic, but i'm struggling at the moment so we will see how this goes.

Max - I totally agree about the front page, it doesn't exactly spell out photography. This is likely to be my focus for the next few weeks.

Thank you to both of you for your comments :o)


I'm happy to help! Although some of the examples I gave are in Flash, and although some use flash, html, AND php, you can still make very nice sites in just HTML. If you want to "pick your battles" and also want to fight the battle yourself (instead of picking a developer to do the work for you), I'd suggest focusing on HTML. Another item I'd suggest focusing on - which is even more important than HTML - is layout design. In larger marketing firms, that'd be a unique person, separate from the HTML coder and separate from the backend coder. Here's where you can use your photography skills to determine how you want the site to look. Then, once you have it in your mind's eye (Horatio - thanks Shakespeare), document that either on paper or, even better, in Photoshop (or equivalent). When you have that down, then you can implement your design in HTML using text and graphics. I lay the site out in Photoshop EVERY TIME before even starting HTML. Two advantages exist: 1 - I can have the client sign off on the Photoshop mockup and 2 - I already have graphics created. I can then slice the mockup into graphic components and build the site using those slices. Ideally, I'd separate graphic elements from textual elements (for search engine optimization), but that's an intermediate technique.

Hope this helps, too!

Chris

12/08/2006 08:31:34 AM · #10
Thos blue bars on the sides look very "distracting". And that menu bar needs a little retouching IMO.
12/08/2006 11:44:47 AM · #11
Originally posted by mk:


Most importantly though, the file size of your images is Way Too Big and is taking forever to load. You really shouldn't need the photos to be much over 150kb and some of yours are around 3MB. I can promise you that folks aren't going to wait around for more than one or two of those to load. There's a tutorial here on preparing images to enter for challenges...the same method can be used to resize for your website.

Hope that helps. I think you've gotten off to a good start and just need some tweaking. :)


MK is right. Way too big. I use a standard for my site and make every picture 150K and resize the longest side of the image to 800px. I ONLY use those settings for my site. When I print they are sized differently and of much better quality for printing but it doesn't seem to have lost any quality as displayed on the website.

I also use autoviewer and simpleviewer and made minor changes to the xml to customize it. They are free downloads. Feel free to email me if you need any help with those products (if you decide to use them in the future.)

IMO your site looks "canned" instead of professionally created. That's just my opinion though and it all depends on the type of viewer you're looking for. My site is meant to display artwork, not sell pictures so our goals might be a little different in that respect.

m. sean mcclintock photography

Message edited by author 2006-12-08 11:45:24.
12/08/2006 12:44:36 PM · #12
My main gripe is that the large photos open in a new window. I don't want that. If I did want that, then I would tell my browser to use a new window.

If you open a new window, you've just lost the viewer from your site. Yeah, I could go back to the main site, but I may not bother. Keep the viewer on your site, and don't override the behaviour of the user interface.
12/13/2006 12:00:39 PM · #13
Originally posted by mist:

My main gripe is that the large photos open in a new window. I don't want that. If I did want that, then I would tell my browser to use a new window.

If you open a new window, you've just lost the viewer from your site. Yeah, I could go back to the main site, but I may not bother. Keep the viewer on your site, and don't override the behaviour of the user interface.


Right on!! One of the first things I learned in college business courses is to design your site for the USER, not the OWNER. You have to think about the person that is going to be viewing the pics. If it's your family you may want to make it simple. If it's for sales purposes you want to drive traffic and keep the viewer interested. Making it as easy as possible for the viewer to navigate is a key though and mist is right, you don't want to give them a chance to leave your site.
12/14/2006 07:51:42 AM · #14
thank you to all of you for taking the time to write your opinions - I really do appreciate it.

I've already made a few changes and reduced the file size of all the images which I think is a big step forward and i've integrated a bit of flash for the gallery sections (which was a lot harder than i though it would be!!). I'm still trying to learn PHP but I've got really stuck so it's on the back burner for the time being... who knows, maybe santa will bring me a book on it for crimbo ;o)

Thanks again for all your help

Chris
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