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Author Topic: New Website  (Read 9936 times)
kaelaria
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« on: December 11, 2007, 09:42:43 PM »
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I just finished a complete redo of my website - comments are appreciated!

www.bgpictures.com
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kikashi
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2007, 03:10:57 AM »
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I just finished a complete redo of my website - comments are appreciated!

www.bgpictures.com
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=160012\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Nice shots, but it's very slow to load and I found the music extremely irritating (there didn't seem to be any way to turn it off while the initial loading is in progress, until the sound icon in the bottom right is displayed). I'm also not very keen on sites which open their own windows and fill my screen.

I would avoid visiting it again.

Jeremy
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 03:11:31 AM by kikashi » Logged
Provokot
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2007, 09:01:27 AM »
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A good example of why Flash can kill just about any online business.

Its VERY slow to load... you have about 3 seconds before people move on thinking your site is broken...

It looks like you have a good design and some great pics, but no one will ever know because they'll die waiting for the pages to load.

My advice:
Ditch the Flash, go for pure HTML
Optimse all images at max width of 800px for landscape, (600px for portrait) @ 72 DPI and save for web.

Sorry to pee on your fire.  

Some superb pics, by the way.


Kind regards

Paul
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 09:07:18 AM by Provokot » Logged

airchinapilot
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2007, 11:04:36 AM »
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A good example of why Flash can kill just about any online business.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=160083\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In this case I have to agree. Though I've seen Flash for high end fashion portfolios work very well. If the Flash loaded quicker, then it would not be such a negative.

You can keep the same design, even the fading of the pictures, by using CSS and maybe a bit of JavaScript. It will all be web compliant.  

I would ditch the music, scale down the images by about 40%.

I do like the design, but the user experience here is very restricted. Employing a popup is one thing since the user decides whether they want to go into it or not. But then taking over the whole screen is not good. I am tempted to close the popup right away.

It is a bit discordant that the graphic design of the flash part is pretty nice but the landing page is not.

On the information design, I'm not convinced on the misdirection of "Investment". I am first asking myself, why would I want to invest in a photographer? Ah, I see, you are being cute. Interesting but it doesn't work for me.

Is it wise to include the schedule section? First, let us assume that you are indeed very busy so it doesn't look too light and thus turn away customers who think you are not really in business. Let's assume you do have bookings all over the month, why turn off people right away? Why not get them to contact you and then you can try to work something out?

Good pics though
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 11:05:29 AM by airchinapilot » Logged
papa v2.0
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2007, 06:16:32 PM »
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Dump the flash and dump the music
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Chris_T
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 09:32:55 AM »
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Nice shots, but it's very slow to load and I found the music extremely irritating (there didn't seem to be any way to turn it off while the initial loading is in progress, until the sound icon in the bottom right is displayed). I'm also not very keen on sites which open their own windows and fill my screen.

I would avoid visiting it again.

Jeremy
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the review and warning. Saved me a click.

Here's a thread on the dos and don'ts of web designs:

[a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=13890]http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=13890[/url]

Here's a design that seems to get it:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=19369
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kaelaria
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2007, 11:24:43 PM »
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Thank you everyone for the comments, I really appreciate you taking the time to have a look!

I have listened to the comments regarding site speed, and have reoptimized the images to dramatically speed things up.

If anyone would be so kind to take another look, I would certainly thank you again!
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kikashi
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2007, 02:57:44 AM »
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Thank you everyone for the comments, I really appreciate you taking the time to have a look!

I have listened to the comments regarding site speed, and have reoptimized the images to dramatically speed things up.

If anyone would be so kind to take another look, I would certainly thank you again!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161145\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The site seems to load more quickly: this is good.

The music is every bit as irritating as before (and it's still impossible to turn it off for a while): this is not good. Why do you insist on it? What does it add to your photographs, or to the "user experience" (ghastly phrase)?

You continue to open a new window for itself which takes over my entire screen: this is not good.

I still wouldn't want to use the site.

IMHO, of course.

Jeremy
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kaelaria
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2007, 10:14:29 AM »
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Thank you for once again looking, I appreciate it!

The goal of the site is to attract affluent women clients in my area.  Adding the music and using a full screen display is part of my goal to portray my images in the best light, and with the emotional experience that the music helps convey.

Obviously if I was desining the site to appeal to the broadest masses, or as a personal gallery, or to appeal to other professionals, etc. - it would be very different.  With a goal of being a local Wedding/Portrait/etc. site I have decided to appeal to a specific target audience only.

I modeled the site after the top rated wedding and portrait photographer's sites, taking the bits I liked most and represented my own taste.  Almost without exception, they all used flash and music.  Some used full screen displays and very few used large images.  No one else in my market has a site even close to this at the moment, hopefully it will help me further stand out from the pack in the client's eyes.  At least it should showcase my work pretty well to them!

I have asked for reviews on a variety of sites, and luckily the feedback has been right where I needed it to be.  My clients and women on wedding sites have loved it (especially the large images, color combo and music, with little commenting on technical aspects).  Other photographers have liked some of the photos but hated everything that gets in the way of simply seeing them quickly (pop-up window, flash, music, slower loading pics because of size).

What I'm most happy about is what feedback I have NOT received, and that is - no problems with the site functioning, spelling, grammar, bad links, incoherant message, prices out of whack, etc.

Thank you again!
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2007, 10:40:16 AM »
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I agree with the comments about popup, music, image size. But whatever....

Why can't you make it a single click to kill the music?

I must say I didn't get the impression the site was targeted at the wedding/portrait market. In fact somewhere you say landscape is your speciality, and I felt you were looking for lifestyle work - that's how I read the series with the shaven headed guy and the two women. I looked at some of that series and thought one woman's dental metalwork might put people off your work. Maybe you could add more content that gives the message you want to convey?

I do look at the spelling and grammar and felt the wording was a little trite but OK by American standards.

Not being an affluent woman myself, I wonder about your assumption that music and full screen would appeal to that market. The black colour scheme looks a bit male, don't you think?

John
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 10:40:56 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

kaelaria
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2007, 10:50:18 AM »
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You make some good points - thank you!

I didn't think about it until just now, but I need to take the emphasis off my personal landscape work - that's not what sells.

Music control, including off, is one click - just hit the stop button.

Black was used by the majority of the other top sites I reviewed, and the comments from women have been 'I love the colors', so I'm happy with it.

ROTF about the two women comment!  Even my wife said words to that effect!  One of the 'women' is his daugter of 13!  That's a family portrait session!
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fike
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2007, 11:01:53 AM »
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I would have to say that I think the expression "Less is More" would encapsulate my feedback.  

I am fine with the Flash stuff.  It is cute and fun.  I am okay with the window size and graphic size.  

I think you devalue your best work by presenting it with your less exceptional work.  (That is not an easy issue to deal with.  An earlier thread had me struggling with the same thing).  I would reduce the number of images to only those that you deem excellent.  

I like what you have to say in the "investment" category, but the label is cryptic.  I would try something like FAQ, What to Expect, or About a Photo Shoot.

I don't like being told the requirements of a site.  That is a problem for the designer of the site to worry about, not the viewer.  Because the site is all flash, you can easily scale it for different resolutions.  It is fairly straight-forward to use javascript to query the screen resolution and then spawn your new window at the right size.  Your swf file already scales perfectly.  

As a general comment about your photos, in general, I think your work needs some work in curves or levels.  Numerous images look kind of gray and muddy to me and could benefit by simply pulling down the white-point slider and pulling up the black-point slider.  Don't be afraid to clip off a little bit of the highlights or shadows.  Frequently your image will appear much snappier.

Your lighting work on your portraits is generally pretty good.  Focus seems to be a bit soft sometime though, that could be the jpg or swf compression though.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2007, 11:16:50 AM »
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ROTF about the two women comment!  Even my wife said words to that effect!  One of the 'women' is his daugter of 13!  That's a family portrait session!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161252\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yeah, couldn't think what it was called in English or American! Anyway, this sort of thing might make people not want to commission photographs that might show up things they don't like about their own appearance. I might also point you to another image that shows one of their hands sneakily hovering over his crotch, and he's smiling.

re music, it's a touch more inconvenient than it really should be. First I have to figure out that the wonky disc represents the sound, then hover over it, then move to the off button in the panel that appears. The fast forward etc controls are unnecessary - folk use iPods for listening to music, you know, not your site. Even if you don't think of the person's taste in music, at least remember they might be doing a bit of covert browsing at work. It's best to have a quick on/off button labelled "Switch sound off".

John
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fike
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2007, 11:19:47 AM »
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I might also point you to another image that shows one of their hands sneakily hovering over his crotch, and he's smiling.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161255\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I saw that too, but dismissed it as just my dirty mind talking.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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kaelaria
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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2007, 01:35:26 PM »
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I agree, less IS more.  I have trimmed the fat, and will do so more in the future, thank you!

I have now also added a 'same window option' for those that hate full screen and pop-ups, should they choose it.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2007, 02:20:37 PM »
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Do you think that those two images give the impression you want to convey? The one on the left seems in tune but the one on the right, used in this prominent entry point, might make your affluent woman potential customers think it's a site more suitable for their creepy mammary-obsessed teenage nephew. Don't you think you should put a wedding photo in there instead?

John
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kaelaria
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2007, 02:25:14 PM »
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Good point - done!
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fike
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2007, 02:25:31 PM »
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Do you think that those two images give the impression you want to convey? The one on the left seems in tune but the one on the right, used in this prominent entry point, might make your affluent woman potential customers think it's a site more suitable for their creepy mammary-obsessed teenage nephew. Don't you think you should put a wedding photo in there instead?

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161287\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Women like beautiful women as much as anyone....as long as it is dignified--look at any women's fashion magazine.  That image may be borderline for some women, but I don't think it is anything but flattering.  You can kill yourself with bland mediocrity if you try not to offend everyone.  Being a bit edgy is excellent, just be careful to not step over.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2007, 02:26:45 PM »
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Good point - done!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161288\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Oh well.    I guess you have to go for safety.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2007, 03:59:48 PM »
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Sorry Brian, but everything seemed to take so long to load that i just gave up. I have satellite internet connection, which is not exceptional, but miles ahead of dial up, and it just seemed to take ages to load each image. Only got as far as 2 images in the gallery section when I didn't feel like waiting any more. Sorry.

Julie
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