Monday, May 07, 2007

Too Clever Websites

It's common to use flash to develop websites - I did that for a while - paid for a flash template, custom modified for me, but it was a bit gimmicky. I visited Ryujie's website (great photographer, poor website) and he has a series of rolling thumbnails and if you can catch the right one, up comes a tiny image, not a lot bigger than the thumbnail, with no navigation controls - disappointing. Other sites have images that don't centre on the screen or they don't resize well to my office screen (800X600).

Of course, my own site is a mix of 90's style pages linked to smugmug. I keep it this way for a few reasons - I'm too busy doing other stuff in photography to bother with learning Dreamweaver, I don't like the gimmicks on some flash sites, and most importantly smugmug allows significant flexibility in screen size and viewing methods and it makes editing images quite painless - adding, removing, transferring categories are all simple. Having to re-upload the entire site isn't on when you have hundreds of images.

One of these days I will have another go at improving the site and in the mean time, please people, keep from getting too clever - or perhaps more accurately - put a limit on what your web designer is allowed to come up with.


Anonymous said...

I'm with ya. Just because a web gallery can be created with all the bells and whistles doesn't mean it SHOULD be. The work should speak for itself.

As for sights like smugsmug, pbase, flicker, etc, they are easy to use and require little web knowledge, but they're the domain, primarily, of the photo enthusiast and thus seem to, IMHO, cast a bit of a shadow over serious work. That's why I left pbase last year and struck out on my own. Rightly or wrongly, having a personal site does lend a photographer a bit of credence.

thechrisproject said...

I do think Flash is a tool, like any other, that can be used well and used poorly. My personal preference is for a nicely done non-flash, straight html/javascript/css kinda site, but I have seen a number of Flash-based photography sites, or at least Flash-based galleries in photography sites, that are done tastefully and aren't too over the top.

Hugh Alison said...

Couldn't agree more.

I usually stop viewing immediately if I see a flash site.

I can't stand music on a site either. The last thing I want if I'm browsing is for someone's music blasting out over the top of whatever i have got playing from the pc through my hi-fi. It's even worse if I have ten windows opening and I have to search through them to find which site is producing the music.

I've just finished a major site redesign which moves most of the content off the main site. My site now links to my photos on Flickr, microstock on iStockphoto, and to my two blogs. Now I just have to work on the content, and it's easy to change that without a redesign.

There's no point having a beautiful site without visitors.
People are reading blogs and searching Flickr (and possibly DeviantArt and MySpace).

Alan Rew said...

George - I read your blog for the quality of its content, not the flashiness (or otherwise) of the presentation.
Don't change anything!

Anonymous said...

The issue that should be the first and foremost in your mind when you think about your website is "What do I want the website to represent?" Too often I see people spend huge effort on the style, but almost none on the content or purpose. Lots of flash animation for showing twelve photos. Getting viewers to the "good stuff" quickly requires a lot of thought and mapping even before you begin authoring (or have someone design) a web page.

thechrisproject said...

highalison said, "I usually stop viewing immediately if I see a flash site."

This is a black and white extremist attitude that I just can't understand at all.

Dave New said...

Not at all. Not unlike those of us that really can't understand what all the HTML crap in what passes for online forums these days is all about.

Just give me good 'ol newsgroups and a threaded news reader like tin.

And while you're at it, I'd like to use pine, elm, or mutt for all my email, but since everyone (it seems) these days is so in love with HTML-izing everything (including what could pass for plain text email messages) to death, I've given up.

I still have well-connected old-guard friends, though, that will summarily delete any email sent to them that is not in plain text.