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Author Topic: New website of Irish Landscapes  (Read 2719 times)
Enda Cavanagh
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« on: February 20, 2009, 12:24:09 PM »
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Hi everyone
I posted this originally a few days ago in the landscape section. I'm new to the forum. Was kindly pointed to the critique forum. Didn't realize there was one. Thicko that I am.

I have recently launched my website of irish landscape and architectural photos. I am based in Ireland. I would really appreciate what you all think of the photos and all aspects of the site including usability.
I tried to make it as user friendly as possible while at the same time giving it a strong simple graphic so that users are not overloaded with information. The point is to concentrate on the photos. Bar the home page there is no Flash.
So see what ye think.

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dalethorn
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 12:03:24 AM »
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The slideshow on the front end has some very professional-looking images. Nice job. I'd like to mention that you can gain some free publicity by posting a slideshow on Youtube as a '.WMV' file. Although Youtube's conversion produces a lower-resolution version of your video, you can still make a decent sampler if you use the most appropriate images for the low-rez format.
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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 12:58:04 AM »
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Looks fine. And compliments to the fine integration of the shopping cart.
The only thing I don't like is the background image of the image sets.
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brianrybolt
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 03:41:04 AM »
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Edna,

A very fine website and images.  A couple items that I think would make it even stronger.

1.  I feel you have too many landscape shots.  Less is More.  (if you are trying to sell them as prints or stock then I would have a different section devoted to that)
2.  In the 'About" section, your name appears 10 times excluding it's appearance in the © notice.  Again, less is more.

Very good architectural coverage - like your use of people.

Brian
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 07:51:09 AM »
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The ould background image idea is really turning into an either love it or hate it scenario.

Quote from: ThomasK
Looks fine. And compliments to the fine integration of the shopping cart.
The only thing I don't like is the background image of the image sets.
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2009, 08:09:27 AM »
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That's because we were the 1st cloned decuplet family. Forget Dolly the sheep. We the 10 Enda's are the pioneers of cloning. I had to mention us all or my brothers would get very offended.
 

Quote from: brianrybolt
Edna,

2.  In the 'About" section, your name appears 10 times excluding it's appearance in the © notice.  Again, less is more.


Brian
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Chris_T
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 09:47:51 AM »
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General comments, based on viewing only a few pages by skipping the long loading home page: Simple elegant layout, with consistent color/font/menu on every page. Text font size too small, color blends in with background color, making it hard on my aging eyes.

Search box a nice touch. Adding an explicit GO or SEARCH button, a la Google which we are used to, would help.

Search Results page: After searching for "landscape", only a handful from a dozens of landscape images showed up in the results listing. If this is intended, why? The text color of visited links are dimmed, making them even harder to separate from the background color. I nearly missed the difference. Same comment for the Menu bar on the left. You may want to check my recent post on marking visited links:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....60&start=60

Landscape gallery pages: For me, overlaying the thumbnails on an enlargement does nothing positive. The enlargement does not display long enough for me to appreciate it. Then it turns into a distracting background. Some serious thoughts had gone into designing a large gallery, which can be challenging. There are some nice touches, but also a few things worth considering:

- Let the viewer know how many total images are in each gallery.

- Adding the gallery title on the thumnail and enlargment pages would help.

- Hovering over a thumbnail brings up a medium sized enlagement. Very speedy and nice touch, allowing me to randomly preview any thumnail. But I discover this quite by accident, the second time on the page. Also, does this not discourage viewers from viewing the real enlargements? Perhaps a note about hovering and a larger hovering preview (and eliminating the real enlargments entirely) is the solution.

- The currently/last viewed thumbnail is dimmed. Not sure what purpose that serves.

- I expect to see a thumnail page when clicking on set_2, but no cigar. Set_2 thumbnails are displayed via the on/off switch at the left, ONLY after displaying an enlargement. The 22/31 thumbail does not display.

- The forward/backward buttons work fine for sequential viewing of enlargements. But there is no easy way for me to skip forward/backward by a few images. While we may want/wish/hope other viewers to sequentially view each and every image of our large galleries, I don't think that many do. I, certainly, do not. Do you? This is one of the hardest things to design well for a large gallery. My comments about hovering over the thumbnails may very well be the solution.

- When viewing the last enlargement 36/36 of set_1, the forward button automatically advances to the first image 1/33 of set_2. Backward button then returns to 36/36 of set_1. Very nice touch again, and not properly handled by many large gallery designs. But, in between 36/36 and 1/33, I don't get to see the thumbnails of set_2! This is another difficult challenge for large gallery design: how to display a large number of thumbnails.

- The right red verticle on/off bar is very confusing. A more conventional up arrow button near the forward/backward buttons may be more intuitive.

Many similar comments were raised and buried in the old thread I suggested. The books recommended there also address many usability issues. Since that thread three years ago, we now have Lightroom web gallery templates which solve many of the large gallery design issues mentioned here. Apparently I have not been the only one on the Holy Grail. The challenge now is how to customize these templates so that they don't look the same for everyone. But I don't expect web designers to take that on. These templates take care many of their heavy lifting coding/designing tasks.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 09:51:14 AM by Chris_T » Logged
Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 09:08:38 PM »
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Hi Chris
Thanks for your post. Didn't agree with everything but appreciate your views.   See the bits in red below.
Thanks

Quote from: Chris_T
General comments, based on viewing only a few pages by skipping the long loading home page: Simple elegant layout, with consistent color/font/menu on every page. Text font size too small, color blends in with background color, making it hard on my aging eyes.

Search box a nice touch. Adding an explicit GO or SEARCH button, a la Google which we are used to, would help. The magnifying glass is what you click to run the search (or enter)

Search Results page: After searching for "landscape", only a handful from a dozens of landscape images showed up in the results listing. If this is intended, why?  I would not worry about it that only a handful of images showed up when you type landscapes. I would presume that people would click the landscape button to view landcsapes. The search button is when you want to search for photos of specific areas for example
The text color of visited links are dimmed, making them even harder to separate from the background color. I nearly missed the difference. Same comment for the Menu bar on the left. You may want to check my recent post on marking visited links: .

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....60&start=60

Landscape gallery pages: For me, overlaying the thumbnails on an enlargement does nothing positive. The enlargement does not display long enough for me to appreciate it. The image is there before you click the thumbnails and it fades out. So surely you have seen it by then?? I'm getting mixed feedback on this one. Some people like it. Some don't. The idea is that the current image fades to a masked image and visa versa as you go from thumbnails to image. I think it works fine with the landscapes but it doesn't work for the architectural shots. I think the reason is the landscapes which are quite often BW are quite dark and low key. The architectural shots are quite often the opposite, which means the same applies for the thumbnails, which makes them look lost. I'll have to think about this one. Then it turns into a distracting background. Some serious thoughts had gone into designing a large gallery, which can be challenging. There are some nice touches, but also a few things worth considering:

- Let the viewer know how many total images are in each gallery.

- Adding the gallery title on the thumnail and enlargment pages would help.

- Hovering over a thumbnail brings up a medium sized enlagement. Very speedy and nice touch, allowing me to randomly preview any thumnail. But I discover this quite by accident, the second time on the page. Also, does this not discourage viewers from viewing the real enlargements? Perhaps a note about hovering and a larger hovering preview (and eliminating the real enlargments entirely) is the solution. I can't stand it when I have a page of thumbnails and I select one and than I don't like the image i choose. I just tend to give up quite quickly. The idea is that the intermediate image gives you a better feel for the images before actually committing to click the image you want to view in the large size. People can quickly move the mouse around and get a quick preview. I wouldn't eliminate the large images. There are too many photography websites where the images are too small to view properly. If I was to purchase an image I would want as clear an idea as possible as to what I was buying.

- The currently/last viewed thumbnail is dimmed. Not sure what purpose that serves. So you know what the last image was

- I expect to see a thumnail page when clicking on set_2, but no cigar. Set_2 thumbnails are displayed via the on/off switch at the left, ONLY after displaying an enlargement. I asked my web designer to rectify this before. I'll talk to him on monday. Thanks. The 22/31 thumbail does not display. Seems ok here

- The forward/backward buttons work fine for sequential viewing of enlargements. But there is no easy way for me to skip forward/backward by a few images. While we may want/wish/hope other viewers to sequentially view each and every image of our large galleries, I don't think that many do. I, certainly, do not. Do you? This is one of the hardest things to design well for a large gallery. My comments about hovering over the thumbnails may very well be the solution. That is one of the main points of the hovering image.

- When viewing the last enlargement 36/36 of set_1, the forward button automatically advances to the first image 1/33 of set_2. Backward button then returns to 36/36 of set_1. Very nice touch again, and not properly handled by many large gallery designs. But, in between 36/36 and 1/33, I don't get to see the thumbnails of set_2! This is another difficult challenge for large gallery design: how to display a large number of thumbnails.(Hopefully will have this sorted on monday. Thanks)

- The right red verticle on/off bar is very confusing. A more conventional up arrow button near the forward/backward buttons may be more intuitive.

Many similar comments were raised and buried in the old thread I suggested. The books recommended there also address many usability issues. Since that thread three years ago, we now have Lightroom web gallery templates which solve many of the large gallery design issues mentioned here. Apparently I have not been the only one on the Holy Grail. The challenge now is how to customize these templates so that they don't look the same for everyone. But I don't expect web designers to take that on. These templates take care many of their heavy lifting coding/designing tasks.
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2009, 04:49:33 PM »
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Just a bit of an update. I'm getting an SEO company to do some work on the site. It needs some work on it, I guess marketing wise but also, and I knew this all along but it's a bit confusing for some people when they visit it first in that they don't understand that I work as an architectural photographer and as a fine art landscape photographer, and that the landscapes are for sale but the architectural photos are not. Some people also don't realize for a while that there is a shopping page. I just didn't want to sledgehammer people with info going buy me buy me buy me now. I had tried to get the point across subtly. So hopefully it will work better when finished. I will keep you posted.
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