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Author Topic: Good and bad web gallery designs  (Read 56312 times)
john beardsworth
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2007, 12:48:29 PM »
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Yes, you can have fun with that image replacement technique. In the past I've served a very large transparent gif that blows the other site's formatting and takes a while to spot. Equally you could serve a gruesome flashing gif.
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2007, 12:54:42 PM »
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Well if I were stealing an image, I'd want to flush the IPTC, and colour managed browsers aren't exactly ubiquitous.... Flash raises the cost in time of nicking your pics, but that's not enough of a reason for using it.

If someone is going to appropriate (i.e., steal) an image, there's no way to stop 'em. However, in the list of pros & cons for site developement, a pro for Flash is its galleries with embedded images.

I'm not a die hard proponent for Flash, I've just done this mental exercise enough to post my thoughts.

On another note, YouTube uses Flash Video to generate the videos. It's slow to load, etc., but those guys did sell YouTube for over $2,000,000,000. Not a bad use of Flash, IMO.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 12:56:35 PM by Chris_Brown » Logged

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john beardsworth
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2007, 01:09:20 PM »
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If someone is going to appropriate (i.e., steal) an image, there's no way to stop 'em. However, in the list of pros & cons for site development, a pro for Flash is its galleries with embedded images.
All you can do is deter and increase the cost in time, and Flash is just one way to do that, and not much better than others. Your case for Flash is on stronger ground when you spoke about the compliments you've received, and that's very much a matter of your site's character as a portfolio or stock/print vehicle.
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brianchapman
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2007, 02:39:31 PM »
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I should start this by saying I'm a web developer but not a web designer ;-)

I personally like (and use) Plogger for my site.  There are a few shortcomings which I am told are being worked on for the next version - things like more control over image and album order, etc.  I modified the default look and feel to simplify the design and to remove some unwanted elements and also to use a lightbox to display the images.  

I'm thinking about moving to something a little more broadband reliant in the future - something like AutoViewer (a cousin of SimpleViewer mentioned earlier).  I really like the presentation with the larger images and if each "album" isn't too large the scrolling seems to work well.  Another similar example is Joe Reifer's site although I can't off the top of my head remember what software he is using.

Regarding flash...the only thing that bothers me is if there is a long initial load time.  If you check out the demo of Autoviewer, I don't think the load time there is a problem at all - many times it takes just as long to load a page full of thumbnails.  

Anyway, just another opinion...

Brian
http://www.brianchapmanphotography.com
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2007, 04:53:47 PM »
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Brian

Not even gone past your home page yet, but thought I'd say I simply love the look of your site. OK, let's see what the rest's like....

John
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brianchapman
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« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2007, 06:38:08 PM »
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You've got me nervous now John...  

Brian
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Brian

Not even gone past your home page yet, but thought I'd say I simply love the look of your site. OK, let's see what the rest's like....

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93356\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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jliechty
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2007, 12:09:37 AM »
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When I first saw the flash gallery that Chris Brown uses in his site, my opinion was not good (the usability of the hover-based navigation for scrolling the pictures is lacking). However, the visual appearance is good, and it appears from Joe Reifer's site that the photo scrolling can be done by clicking instead of hovering, so for now my opinion of one flash gallery is favorable.

With that said, sites that have an "Enter" page which opens a resized-to-full-screen-but-not-maximized browser window for a full-window flash object are as obnoxious as a particular goat-related internet shock site. That sort of nonsense should be illegal; fortunately Firefox prevents most of that sort of mischievous behavior.
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GerardK
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2007, 02:31:29 AM »
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Maybe I should refrase my stated hatred of Flash, what I hate is not Flash technology in and of itself, but Flash, or indeed any technology, used badly. So what I really hate is a site the design of which doesn't need Flash but only uses it to dazzle me with frames and pictures and esoteric statements flying about that serve no purpose whatsoever. If sites are designed simply and effectively with Flash core technology from the ground up, that's no problem, I've seen good examples of that as well.

How about for instance Chris Honeysett's site at
http://www.chrishoneysett.com/

It's built by http://www.livebooks.com/ That seems to work well don't you think?

Agreed my site is built entirely in plain html, it's six years old basically. My nick on some games is OldFart.

Gerard Kingma
www.kingma.nu
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2007, 02:51:51 AM »
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Case in point: The Beatles website

Dig around a bit until you get to the "1" section. That is the most awful use of Flash I have seen yet (spinning links like a funhouse game, large images displayed in teeny windows that need scrolling, etc.).

George Harrison's site is much better, and uses Flash in a humorous way.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2007, 08:37:27 AM »
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Chris, I appreciate your feedback. Don't want to hijack your thread here.
I agree with your assessment of my site's navigational difficulties; I wrestled with the thumbnail layout and have tweaked it repeatedly based on some customers' feedback. I like your suggested layout best of all.

My sites problems are twofold in origin: my inadequacies as a web designer, and the narrow range of design choices presented to me by the template-based hosting service I use. I'll likely upgrade the site to a custom design when I can justify it business-wise. Compromises we must all make, eh?

Good luck with yours, and thanks again.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93283\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Without web design skills, but knowing what I like/dislike, I have yet to build my own site. Finding a good designer is far from easy. Most are Dreamweaver or template jockeys. They can crank out sites that they think are good, but can't build one to my likes and specifications. For that, I need someone who can hand code.

For now, I'll settle for criticising others' sites. <g>
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Chris_T
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2007, 08:43:16 AM »
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Gerard Kingma
www.kingma.nu
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93284\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On my 19" CRT at 1280x1024 resolution, the text on your home page is so tiny that it is illegible. Check out Brian's site to see what good legibility is like.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2007, 08:53:24 AM »
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While there's a lot to be said for this filmstrip / main image principle (which you see in Lightroom and Aperture for instance), the problem is that the thumbnails distract from the main image or are so small that they are effectively useless for navigation. There's no easy compromise - other than using a Flash galleries that enlarge the thumbnails upon cursor rollover... upon reflection, there's no easy compromise.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93291\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Agreed that thumbnail size is a tradeoff. The two sites I referred to both have too many thumbnails on a page. A compromise for such a design is to limit the number of thumbnails to say six or eight in the block on a page, and be able to advance to the next block(s) on a new page for a gallery with lots of images. With a smaller thumbnail block, there is more room to fit a larger enlargement on the same page. Luminous Lanscape chooses the other extreme, in their galleries, there are NO thumbnails.

BTW, does anyone know of a non-Flash template or script that can produce such a page?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2007, 08:58:51 AM by Chris_T » Logged
Chris_T
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« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2007, 09:06:28 AM »
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I used to feel the same way, but after six months of on/off attempts to write my own php gallery, I decided to try a Flash site and have recieved more compliments than any other site I've had.

Here are a couple of examples of Flash used well to produce a quick loading gallery:
Fluid Galleries
SimpleViewer

The biggest benefit to Flash galleries is the prevention of copying images, which helps protect against copyright infringement. Of course, one can still do a "screen grab" but not with the same results as copying the image file from server to client computer.

With Flash galleries you need to make sure your meta tags and meta data is concise & accurate and you'll need to tweak it to get the best search results (or else just advertise with Google & Yahoo!).

Then, there are php galleries. Here are a few php galleries:
Menalto Gallery
Simple Gallery v2
Qdig
Copper Mine (the grand-daddy of 'em all)

A php gallery uses a MySQL database and its greatest benefit is the ability to include IPTC data, captions and searchable key words (for those of us that sell stock photography).

The greatest benefit to a php gallery is that it's dynamic server side programming. Everything is executed on the server and the html is generated on-the-fly. No plug-ins, browser extensions or Java is needed. The browser can be Windows, Mac, Unix, or even Blackberry. Pages load as fast as your server can generate them.

Another benefit is that you can add and delete images and/or folders of images and the php script will change the site as the content changes. This makes gallery generation while working on location a breeze.

My old php site is here.
My current Flash site is here.

Both are pared down to simplify browsing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93301\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for your inputs.

Comments on your site:

The php site's People gallery thumbnail page has way too many on one page. Once I enlarged a thumbnail, it takes me multiple clicks to display another gallery or other pages on your site. Not the best navigation scheme.

The flash site took so long to load that I didn't bother to wait.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2007, 09:07:13 AM by Chris_T » Logged
Chris_T
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« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2007, 09:24:29 AM »
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I'll also side *against* any flash based sites for 2 reasons:

Unacceptable load time for users with slow internet connections
Lack of alternate (ie: keyboard based) navigation
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Comments on your site:

[a href=\"http://imagesbymurray.com/]http://imagesbymurray.com/[/url]

The home page is not only a wasted page, but difficult to enter the site. Clicking on "Images by Murray" returns to the same page, and it takes mousing around to find the entry link. Help opens a pop-up, which I dislike in general. The Update time stamp is a good touch, but would be nicer if a (return) viewer knows what has been updated.

The About link is yet another pop-up. Why? The unlinked text color and the background color can be more contrasty for better legibility. The linked text color is better in this regard.

The biggest gallery has 20 images, and the thumbnails fit ok on a single page. I wonder how would you handle a bigger gallery.

The enlargement page has the same problem as Chris' page: no easy navigation to other pages. Did you guys hire the same designer, or use the same template?
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2007, 09:25:14 AM »
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Comments on your site:

The php site's People gallery thumbnail page has way too many on one page. Once I enlarged a thumbnail, it takes me multiple clicks to display another gallery or other pages on your site. Not the best navigation scheme.

The flash site took so long to load that I didn't bother to wait.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Strange wait time on my Flash site. It loads in at most 2 seconds on any of my computers, but I know what you mean about waiting for a site to load.

The bonus of the PHP galleries is that the original JPEG can be accessed by clicking on an image while browsing. Some find this a perk for clients, others find it a great way to steal images.
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GerardK
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« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2007, 09:56:53 AM »
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On my 19" CRT at 1280x1024 resolution, the text on your home page is so tiny that it is illegible. Check out Brian's site to see what good legibility is like.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Chris,

Thanks for your input, but do you mean the text that you see on the Enter page, scrolling down below Enter? That text is intended for search engines, not humans. Humans are supposed to just click Enter. When you enter the site, all text on the news page should be a basic 10 pt Arial, which is perfectly legible on my 1280x960 19" CRT. Please confirm?

By the way, if you have a standard 3:4 CRT, you might want to try 1280x960 instead of 1280x1024. Display a perfect circle and measure its width and height with a ruler to check. Try a monitor checking utility such as Eizo Test or NTest.

Gerard Kingma
[a href=\"http://www.kingma.nu]www.kingma.nu[/url]
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LMO
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« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2007, 10:10:38 AM »
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Interesting.. It took me about 2 sec to load the site from where I am.

I experience the same thing with my new site. It takes me about 20 sec to load the site, others tell me it takes 2 sec and no problems..

It seems the choise of hosting service, the location of the server ++ are all important factors ?

Lasse
 
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The flash site took so long to load that I didn't bother to wait.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Lasse Mørkhagen
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2007, 10:11:50 AM »
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I've been following this discussion with interest as i have been wondering if I should try using Flash on my site (ie: the "way of the future" in sophisticated web design) but I'm hearing that most people don't like flash and personally I don't either.  I know nothing about html so i've used iWeb on my Mac (don't think that has been mentioned here) which is very easy for web site design, but has lousy slide show capability so I've been thinking of removing the slide show feature altogether and just having folks click on individual images.  But for those who know nothing about web design and have a mac, iWeb is a reasonable way to go. eleanor

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Well if I were stealing an image, I'd want to flush the IPTC, and colour managed browsers aren't exactly ubiquitous.... Flash raises the cost in time of nicking your pics, but that's not enough of a reason for using it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93311\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Chris_T
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« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2007, 10:40:19 AM »
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You've got me nervous now John...  

Brian
http://www.brianchapmanphotography.com
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93381\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Finally a site by a pro, and what a difference. Like the simple layout, and especially the large font size and spacing between lines. However, just to make you nervous, here are some comments:

Is the Enter page necessary? The About page is lacking in content. Perhaps beefing it up can be your home page and get rid of the Enter page.

The entry page to your site is your blog. Is this what you want? It loads slow, but the rotating flash is cute. The News menu botton can be more accurately be replaced with Blog. That's what it really is!

An exception to the overall good text legibility is the menu button names on the Portfolio page. The text color is way too faint for my eyes (the gallery titles' color on the same page is acceptable). Like the buttons' hover color change. But the color change is different from the blog page. Intended? Why?

The gallery thumbnail page has only eight images. Works fine for a small gallery. But how would you handle a large gallery? Unlike other sites I mentioned earlier, your gallery button page has links to other pages. Great. There is a large horizontal space between the thumbnails and the Recent News, etc. at the bottom. I think that these links at the bottom can either be part of your blog or implemented as button(s) at the top navigation menu. It makes navigation more obvious. Without the space and these links, you can get rid of the need of vertical scrolling on most monitors.

Displaying an enlargement as an overlay on top of a dimmed thumbnail page is an interesting idea. Is it done with flash? The Next/Previous buttons in the enlargement are hidden and need mousing around to find. I missed them the first time. Clicking on a blank space (I did it by mistake) closes the enlargement window. Is it intended? Is it possible to position the enlargement so that is does not cover up any thumbnails? That way, you will have something like the two example sites I posted earlier.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2007, 10:45:34 AM »
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Chris,

Thanks for your input, but do you mean the text that you see on the Enter page, scrolling down below Enter? That text is intended for search engines, not humans. Humans are supposed to just click Enter. When you enter the site, all text on the news page should be a basic 10 pt Arial, which is perfectly legible on my 1280x960 19" CRT. Please confirm?

By the way, if you have a standard 3:4 CRT, you might want to try 1280x960 instead of 1280x1024. Display a perfect circle and measure its width and height with a ruler to check. Try a monitor checking utility such as Eizo Test or NTest.

Gerard Kingma
www.kingma.nu
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93644\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have a standard CRT, and testing with a dialup. Yes, there are still some of us out here!

Yes, once I entered your site, the text font size is bigger, but still nowhere near Brian's. For short text pages, I think Brian got the right idea.
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