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Author Topic: My New Site and Blog  (Read 8463 times)
joshmcculloch
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« on: December 13, 2006, 01:40:58 AM »

Hello everyone,

I have recently completed a complete rebuild of my photography website, and am looking for feedback on overall layout, navigation, ease of use, loading speeds, and whatever else you'd care to comment on.  I also have a blog on my site, but it is more about what I'm up to rather than educational.  If you have time, check it out here www.joshmcculloch.com and either post back here or drop me an e-mail with comments.  Thanks for your time and enjoy!

Cheers, Josh
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Josh McCulloch
Josh McCulloch Photography
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada
johnbeardy
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2006, 03:57:42 AM »

Hi Josh

Well you asked for it....

Not too bad. One thing I noticed was how much vertical scrolling is needed - that's firstly because each section's top banner is so big, and is then followed by 2-3 lines of text describing what it's about. Suggestion - shrink the top banner and put the text in it too. Secondly, the links along the top spread onto 2 lines (Firefox on PC) - Contact falls onto a second line. Suggestion - put these links in a table. The end result is a clunkiness of design as though someone has thought first I "must" have a row of links, then I "must" have a block for a banner, then I "must" have text explaining what the banner is about, and I'll slip in a few links there too, and at the bottom I "must" repeat the links.

Loading speed isn't wonderful and that's partly because of big graphics like About%20Josh%20McCulloch%20Vancouver%20Island%20Photographer%20Victoria%20BC.png - firstly it's traditionally not a good idea to use png files online, and secondly nearly 600k for a banner? Plus each thumbnail is over 33k. Another reason is because you've put the captions as more png files - which also means I can't copy a file title into an email asking for a print. I would also point you to some other good web principles - never use spaces in file names of anything that goes online, and keep everything lower case.

You could also save yourself effort by not putting the copyright symbol on the thumbnails.

Now have you tried looking at the site in IE6 on PC? As it loads, there are strange white backgrounds. These eventually disappear, but my suspicion is they're a result of using pngs.

I'm not keen on popup windows for showing large images. Sooner or later you'll find someone's popup blocker will stop them, and it's a pain to keep closing windows. It makes the site heavily JavaScript dependent. But as the files are (surprisingly) normal size, it's easy enough to use the next and previous. Regardless of those thoughts, I'd note that the brushed metal background is inconsistent (as well as rather old hat) and that the windows are too big for the pictures.

Anyway, I have had to work a little at being the devil's advocate here. I could point you to many worse sites!

John
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2006, 07:04:54 AM »

Josh,
As usual, I agree with John on pretty much everything.
He *did* seem to forget to mention that the photos are quite good...
Peter
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joshmcculloch
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2006, 10:10:28 AM »

Wow!

Thanks to the both of you for taking the time to check out my site and for the awesome feedback!  

John:

I am using iWeb (Mac) to produce my website, as I don't have enough coding experience to build my own site from scratch, and can't (yet) afford to pay someone to do it right.  Unfortunately because of that, I don't have any control of how iWeb exports the HTML, or the file types it chooses to use.  The pop-up window seems to be the only way to have images come up larger in iWeb (any other iWeb users out there feel free to correct me), and I agree the brushed look is a little passe...  in fact, as I read through your comment now, most of the technical issues you bring up are caused by iWeb.  I guess that's what you get for a WYSIWYG HTML generator.  And the 600k banner really baffles me...  that image is 232k (which is still way to big, I know) so I can't figure out how iWeb made it 600k!?

Anyhow, technical details aside, I will implement some of the design changed you mentioned (with regards to scrolling etc) and will work on renaming the files without spaces in them!

Thanks again!  Josh
« Last Edit: December 13, 2006, 10:12:15 AM by joshmcculloch » Logged

Josh McCulloch
Josh McCulloch Photography
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada
johnbeardy
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2006, 01:46:30 AM »

Josh

First - lots of great pictures.

I'm usually pretty brutal when people ask for opinions on sites. You're so lucky you didn't create it in Flash!

I don't know iWeb. It may well have preferences to change the export file format. In any case, site building isn't that difficult - not real coding. If you have iView, it's pretty good for generating galleries and the templates aren't difficult to adapt to your style. You can then build the main pages "by hand", and then generate the individual gallery pages directly from iView and take advantage of its control of your pictures.

Cheers

John
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pjbraune
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2006, 01:49:36 PM »

John

I'm interested in this thread and have been in touch with Josh directly, as well. He's found some pretty smart ways to improve the quality of the metadata that iWeb normally generates which really brings the value of the site up in terms of web visibility.

I've just started using iView recently and haven't gotten into all that it can do, but I wonder if you would flesh out your comments a bit about building main pages by hand and adapting templates, etc. Html strings look pretty scary to me, but I really haven't tried to learn it, yet. Too much to do. Can you recommend a source of info that would give me what I need to build a site this way without wanting to blow my brains out in the process?

Thanks,
Peter
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Peter Brauné
Mac G5, 10.4.11, IIP, iView 3.1.3, QT 7.4.1, Canon
johnbeardy
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2006, 04:00:12 PM »

Peter

Have you seen iView's HTML Galleries in iView MediaPro 3 pdf ? I'd suggest altering a template first, so you'd see html's not so tough.

Alternatively, W3schools is a good way to get into it.

John
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pjbraune
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2006, 04:47:45 PM »

John

Thanks for these suggestions. I'll have a look.


Peter
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Peter Brauné
Mac G5, 10.4.11, IIP, iView 3.1.3, QT 7.4.1, Canon
joshmcculloch
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 09:59:48 AM »

Hi Everyone,

In case you're interested, I have made some big changes to my site.  I have migrated all of my galleries over to Photoshelter, and now my galleries are searchable, you can create lightboxes, and purchase prints and license images directly from my site.  I had the good people at Photoshelter customize my pages to match my own site, so you never really feel as though you've left.  See how it all comes together here www.joshmcculloch.com

I am still using iWeb for the main pages on my site (the non-image based ones) and have eliminated the large graphics at the top of each page to eliminate as much vertical scrolling as possible and improve page load speeds.  (Speed feedback would be appreciated!)

Let me know what you all think!

Cheers, Josh

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Josh McCulloch
Josh McCulloch Photography
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada
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