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Author Topic: Well designed Photography sites  (Read 5510 times)
tom b
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« on: March 05, 2009, 12:13:28 AM »
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G'day. I've visited Luminous Landscape a number of times but this is my first post.

I've had plenty of time on my hands recently and I have been visiting photography websites as well as updating my own site. During my trips to different sites I have noticed that viewing photographs on many sites can be a pain. I know that there has been discussion about the design of sites and appropriate technology.

What are some good sites that you have visited lately? I don't mean sites with good photography but sites with good navigation and easy to view images. You know the sites where you don't have to wait till 100 before seeing anything, the sites where you don't have to click hundreds of times and the ones that you can navigate easily.

My site Eclectic Exhibitions has just under 2000 images on it so it needs to be organised. On my site I use BananAlbum skin with JAlbum. It is Flash, but I think it works well.

The best thing about it is that it has a simple interface but sophisticated navigation. You can view images by:
  • slideshow (default – it takes about 75 seconds to view an album)
  • by clicking on the image
  • by clicking on the thumbnail
  • by using the keyboard arrows.
  • and images resize to fit the window.
I think that this is a good solution for my site but it not a solution for everyone. What are other good solutions?

Cheers,

Tom
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 12:15:04 AM by tom b » Logged

Chris_T
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 08:16:21 AM »
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Quote from: tom  b
G'day. I've visited Luminous Landscape a number of times but this is my first post.

I've had plenty of time on my hands recently and I have been visiting photography websites as well as updating my own site. During my trips to different sites I have noticed that viewing photographs on many sites can be a pain. I know that there has been discussion about the design of sites and appropriate technology.

What are some good sites that you have visited lately? I don't mean sites with good photography but sites with good navigation and easy to view images. You know the sites where you don't have to wait till 100 before seeing anything, the sites where you don't have to click hundreds of times and the ones that you can navigate easily.

I was (and still am) in the same boat, and started this very old thread, which included recommendation of books and reviews of quite a few sites. If you are unaware of it, it is a good start.

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=13890

Caution: This is an old thread, and many reviewed sites might have been revised by now.

You can also ask for critiques at the User Critiques forum. Some recent examples:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=32521

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=32271

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=31731

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=29762







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Chris13
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 10:07:33 AM »
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Don't know if it answers to your questions but here is the site of Vincent Munier, french wildilfe photographer.

http://www.vincentmunier.com/

Navigation is easy, photos are BIG, design is simple (like its photographs).

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tom b
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 04:20:24 PM »
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Ah … the Gods of the Internet. Just got my website up and I got this email from the person who hosts it.

"Unfortunately, due to the changing over of our mains power board the  
power will be off here for much of tomorrow (Friday) which means, of  
course, that the server will be down so you might like to mention that  
fact in your email to people or wait until after tomorrow to tell  
everyone about the update.

Sorry about the bad timing . . ."

Such is life.

Cheers,
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peteh
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 06:59:35 PM »
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Quote from: tom  b
Ah … the Gods of the Internet. Just got my website up and I got this email from the person who hosts it.

"Unfortunately, due to the changing over of our mains power board the  
power will be off here for much of tomorrow (Friday) which means, of  
course, that the server will be down so you might like to mention that  
fact in your email to people or wait until after tomorrow to tell  
everyone about the update.

Sorry about the bad timing . . ."

Such is life.

Cheers,
I like these sites made with livebooks...
http://www.livebooks.com/packages/index.php
or example of site.........
http://www.gregoryheisler.com/
I like their sites.
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tom b
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 09:52:42 PM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
I was (and still am) in the same boat, and started this very old thread, which included recommendation of books and reviews of quite a few sites. If you are unaware of it, it is a good start.

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=13890

Caution: This is an old thread, and many reviewed sites might have been revised by now.

You can also ask for critiques at the User Critiques forum. Some recent examples:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=32521

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=32271

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=31731

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=29762

Thanks Chris for the threads.

I hadn't gone back two years in the forum so I missed your initial thread.

Two years in web design is a long time and I'm sure there must be some new examples of good design for both pro and amateur photographers.

Cheers,
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jgille
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 02:20:42 AM »
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Quote from: tom  b
My site Eclectic Exhibitions has just under 2000 images on it so it needs to be organised. On my site I use BananAlbum skin with JAlbum. It is Flash, but I think it works well.

Hi,

If you have too many pictures, people will be lost in their search... They will start to look at your pictures and will stop as soon as they'll have the impression that "all the pictures are the same" (on a subject). Perhaps you could have a short selection of your pictures, unless you are selling stock, and your site will be easier to organize.

If you are using flash, you have to take care of the URL you are using for each picture. People are used to copy/paste the URL of a page to send it to a friend. If your entire site or gallery is embedded in a single flash file, they will not be able to send the URL of a picture they like... they will send the URL of the entire gallery or web site. The site of Vincent Munier behaves very well regarding this point.

Finally, you will not design your web site the same way if you want to sell pictures or only have a showcase. You'll need more information if you need to sell pictures.

I have just finished the development of my new professional web site and had exactly the same question. First, ask a designer for the global graphic code and logos for your web site. They are professional and they are generally better than us, photographers.

If you want to see what I have done, the result is here : http://www.juliengille.com/
Right now, the site is only in french language, but it should be easy enough to navigate, even if you are not talking french.

Hope, it will help you.

Cheers

Julien
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tom b
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2009, 08:30:50 PM »
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Quote from: jgille
Hi,

If you have too many pictures, people will be lost in their search... They will start to look at your pictures and will stop as soon as they'll have the impression that "all the pictures are the same" (on a subject). Perhaps you could have a short selection of your pictures, unless you are selling stock, and your site will be easier to organize.

If you are using flash, you have to take care of the URL you are using for each picture. People are used to copy/paste the URL of a page to send it to a friend. If your entire site or gallery is embedded in a single flash file, they will not be able to send the URL of a picture they like... they will send the URL of the entire gallery or web site. The site of Vincent Munier behaves very well regarding this point.

Finally, you will not design your web site the same way if you want to sell pictures or only have a showcase. You'll need more information if you need to sell pictures.

I have just finished the development of my new professional web site and had exactly the same question. First, ask a designer for the global graphic code and logos for your web site. They are professional and they are generally better than us, photographers.

If you want to see what I have done, the result is here : http://www.juliengille.com/
Right now, the site is only in french language, but it should be easy enough to navigate, even if you are not talking french.

Hope, it will help you.

Cheers

Julien

Hi Julien,

It's obvious you haven't looked at my site. Yes it is big but it has been developed over a period of 7 years.

It gets updated every 3-6 moths with around 10 new virtual galleries which would take around 15 minutes to view.

Yes they are in short selections of 15 arranged in 6 categories.

The pages are in html with a css making it easy to update the site. Only the albums are in flash, and yes you can send the URL of each of the 120 odd pages for each exhibition. For example:

http://www.tombrown.id.au/landscape/shoalh...eflections.html

http://www.tombrown.id.au/travel/rajasthan_people.html

http://www.tombrown.id.au/classic/anti_NF_rally.html

I'm not trying to sell stock which would be obvious from a brief viewing of my site.

Cheers,
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jgille
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2009, 01:38:03 AM »
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Tom,

Even if it is not obvious, I have looked at your site.

From my point of view, you have too many galleries and pictures. The visitor is lost and is not looking at all these pictures. It is why I asked the question regarding stock photos. Perhaps, you wanted to change your target audience and change the goal of your site. I was wrong, sorry.

I noticed you can have a direct link to an exhibition. But, you cannot have a direct link to a specific picture.

I am sorry if you misunderstood my first reply. Hope, you will find the perfect site design for your needs

Cheers

Julien

Quote from: tom  b
Hi Julien,

It's obvious you haven't looked at my site. Yes it is big but it has been developed over a period of 7 years.

It gets updated every 3-6 moths with around 10 new virtual galleries which would take around 15 minutes to view.

Yes they are in short selections of 15 arranged in 6 categories.

The pages are in html with a css making it easy to update the site. Only the albums are in flash, and yes you can send the URL of each of the 120 odd pages for each exhibition. For example:

http://www.tombrown.id.au/landscape/shoalh...eflections.html

http://www.tombrown.id.au/travel/rajasthan_people.html

http://www.tombrown.id.au/classic/anti_NF_rally.html

I'm not trying to sell stock which would be obvious from a brief viewing of my site.

Cheers,
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Chris_T
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 11:49:26 AM »
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Quote from: jgille
Hi,

If you have too many pictures, people will be lost in their search... They will start to look at your pictures and will stop as soon as they'll have the impression that "all the pictures are the same" (on a subject). Perhaps you could have a short selection of your pictures, unless you are selling stock, and your site will be easier to organize.

How many galleries/images to show in a site depends on the site's intent. A small gallery should force you to display only your very best images. All else being equal, designing large galleries *well* is more challenging than small galleries, i.e. a page can accommodate a gallery's thumnails without scrolling.

Quote
If you are using flash, you have to take care of the URL you are using for each picture. People are used to copy/paste the URL of a page to send it to a friend. If your entire site or gallery is embedded in a single flash file, they will not be able to send the URL of a picture they like... they will send the URL of the entire gallery or web site. The site of Vincent Munier behaves very well regarding this point.

Not sure how flash vs html urls differ, but your point is well taken. For my own design goal, I want the urls to pin-point to each individaul image, and I know it can be done in html w/o much trouble. Reason? Often, I found the bookmarks I saved at a site do not even distinguish from one page to another, let alone from one image to another. And if they do, the names provide no hint/reminder of what the page/image is about. After two months, they certainly won't help me returning to anything specific. I have skipped this kind of comment in my site reviews, since it would have taken too much time to bookmark and verify. There is a limit to my beyond the call of duty efforts. Very subtle but important point.

Quote
Finally, you will not design your web site the same way if you want to sell pictures or only have a showcase. You'll need more information if you need to sell pictures.

Another very insightful point. A site should be designed with an intent and audience in mind. Again, in all my site reviews, I seldom commented on this, unless the intent is specified or strongly implied.

Quote
I have just finished the development of my new professional web site and had exactly the same question. First, ask a designer for the global graphic code and logos for your web site. They are professional and they are generally better than us, photographers.

What are "global graphic code and logos"?

Quote
If you want to see what I have done, the result is here : http://www.juliengille.com/
Right now, the site is only in french language, but it should be easy enough to navigate, even if you are not talking french.

I'll check out your site when my eyes are back to normal.
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jgille
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2009, 11:58:14 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
What are "global graphic code and logos"?

I have made a bad translation of the french "charte graphique".
The correct translation is "graphic charter"

Here is a definition I found on the web :
The graphic charter is a working paper which contains the whole of the fundamental rules of use of the graphic signs which constitute the graphic Identité of an organization, a project, a company. The term comes from the Latin the charta which means “Papier” and which in French took the direction of “law, fundamental rule”.

The site where I found the definition : http://www.speedylook.com/Graphic_charter.html

Cheers

Julien
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jjj
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2009, 07:15:04 PM »
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Quote from: jgille
I have made a bad translation of the french "charte graphique".
The correct translation is "graphic charter"
I've done some design and photography for Sara Lee and I have a novel sized guide to how the Sara Lee logos are to be used and what fonts are prefered when doing any design for them or when using their graphics.
Graphic Charter makes sense as a way of descibing this item. though I seem to think there's also another phrase - which completely escapes me.
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tom b
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2009, 10:27:21 PM »
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Quote from: tom  b
What are some good sites that you have visited lately? I don't mean sites with good photography but sites with good navigation and easy to view images. You know the sites where you don't have to wait till 100 before seeing anything, the sites where you don't have to click hundreds of times and the ones that you can navigate easily.

So far I have had these examples:

http://www.vincentmunier.com/

Vincents work is excellent but it took around 30 seconds on my computer to get to the slide shows.
When I got to them there was no clue on the page that the navigation appeared when you mouse over the bottom of the window. I stumbled upon it eventually by accident.

http://www.livebooks.com/packages/index.php
or example of site.........
http://www.gregoryheisler.com/
I like their sites.                                          

Livebooks in general do an excellent job and the first three examples on the site work well.

The Gregory Heisler example was not the best.

When I loaded the URL I got the usual Flash percentages and the site opened. I was waiting for something to happen… nothing, no navigation just his name and a picture.
I started clicking and eventually found the navigation under his name. Then when it came to viewing his photography it was click, click, click without an idea of how many images were in a gallery.

http://www.juliengille.com/

Julien's site is easy enough to navigate although as it is in French it took a bit longer for me so spot the breadcrumb navigation and I would have preferred an additional choice of clicking next or previous instead of going back to the thumbnails all the time.

Are there any other examples of sites that work well out there?

Cheers,

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Victor Glass
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2009, 12:51:48 AM »
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Oh, I resisted adding to this thread but I couldn't help myself. The design and implementation of web sites is a large and complex topic, and despite this I can state my opinion simply: a well designed web site is one where the visitor is able to glean information quickly and easily. Anything that gets in the way of achieving this should be eliminated. Furthermore, the simplest solution is usually the best solution - simplicity is preferred to complexity. Clarity is preferred to confusion. One problem in achieving this is techno-creep - bells and whistles that may be cool but are not needed and in fact impede the visitor's ability to get at what the site really offers. Flash is one example - and I'm sure many will disagree with me - it is cool but slow. Another example is the infamous "splash" page - which adds a useless step to getting at a site. So, to underline, anything that gets in the way of the achieving the goal of a site should be eliminated, whether it be a hard-to-read font or an overly complicated navigation design.

A couple of non-photographic sites that are well designed are http://www.google.com and http://www.ronaldslabbers.com. Notice the simplicity of google and their resistance to increasing complexity over the years. Ronald Slabbers' site is also well designed, simple, and easy to use - he is a seasoned and talented graphical designer and know how to do this.

I have tried various web solutions over the years, and since I don't have the 1000s of dollars needed to hire soneone to design, implement, and maintain a superb web site I keep going back to http://www.pbase.com which is simple, straight forward, and remarkably customizable using very simple menu driven tools. My web site is always a work in progress, but take a look: http://www.pbase.com/vglass. One thing's for sure - visitors can easily get at my images and navigation is simple and straight forward.

Take a look at this site too: http://www.olafheine.com/
I always enjoy visiting this site because the images are cool and good - but I sort of like the set up, even though flash is used. Notice that it is clean and simple.

Just my thoughts.

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Victor Glass
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2009, 09:57:09 AM »
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An addendum to my response, above. Another example of a good web site on pbase.com:
http://www.pbase.com/ruthemily

By the way, the cost of having a site on pbase.com is 23 USD per year  
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AndyS
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2009, 01:58:20 PM »
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Hi,

I'll throw my own website in to the mix - link in my signature

It generally seems to get favorable comments. Some things I know could do with improving though....

- Can't use arrow keys for navigating between pics
- Use of vertical space in the gallery pages isn't great, although you can click on the image to get an even bigger version (albeit in a 'no thumnails' type display)
- With the current design there is a limit to how many thumbnails I can handle before vertical scrolling occurs.

Cheers,


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jgille
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2009, 03:07:27 AM »
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Quote from: tom  b
http://www.juliengille.com/

Julien's site is easy enough to navigate although as it is in French it took a bit longer for me so spot the breadcrumb navigation and I would have preferred an additional choice of clicking next or previous instead of going back to the thumbnails all the time.

I took into account your comment.

Now, you can navigate to the next/previous picture in the gallery by clicking on the picture. When the mouse cursor is over the picture, I display arrows that let you navigate to the previous/next picture or go back the the gallery index.

I think, it is now easier to navigate.

Cheers
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2009, 01:14:28 AM »
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Found this on Jeff's Photowalk blog (http://www.revellphotography.com/blog/?p=2608):

"Atlanta based photographer Zach Arias has been running a very cool series lately.  He has agreed to do online critiques of photo websites.  He put out the word and it seems that there was no shortage of people that were dying for a little scrutiny.  Here’s what I really thought was interesting about the critiques.  Zach doesn’t just discuss the photography on the site but also the website itself.  Does the site relay a message to the viewer as to what to expect when they get there?  I recall one photographer’s site that said he featured fashion and portrait photography and yet he had lots of pictures of kids and landscape work.  It really was interesting to watch Zack break it down and do it quickly.  He received over 150 requests but has only reviewed about 15 so far.  You can check out the series starting with the first round of critiques here.  Even if you don’t submit your own site for review, you can still learn a lot from those that have."
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