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Thread: WWW site tips and examples?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    2,395

    WWW site tips and examples?

    I want to start a WWW site for images. I may want to sell images in the longer term, but at the moment I just want to get some of them online and start building visibility. I have some experience with building and runing a large text site (http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/) but not a clue about the nuances of a photo site. I use Dreamweaver for my text site.

    Are there useful guides? Affordable or free software tools? I work digitally from 4x5 black and white negatives, but have no idea of the right image size and scaling for good WWW work.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    950

    WWW site tips and examples?

    there are many free photo gallery packages out there. All have their pros and cons but the one thing I have not seen in any of them is a good interface for selling images.

    selling online is complex depending on the options you want. e.g. framing or no framing. size options, shipping options, payment options, local taxes, currency conversion etc.

    Mostpeople just end up saying please email for details.

    Good free photo gallery packages are:

    exhbit engine ( can be tricksy to install but worth it) see the EE forum for help on installation

    photography-on-the.net/ee/beta/

    Jalbum
    jalbum.net/

    Coppermine
    coppermine-gallery.net/index.php

    follow this link for a big list of free gallery software:
    the first GALLERY is very popular.

    sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=soft&words=gallery

    also see in the list SPGM which is simple as it says but if you know some php scripting then it can be configured how you like.

    Nearly all the packages require your server to have PHP installed and many require MySQL database as well. Some require ImageMagick (Gallery does).

    Alternatively, you could buy some software:

    www.imagefolio.com/

    the above has both gallery and storefront options.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    950

    WWW site tips and examples?

    Write it yourself tips:

    The vast majority of people on the WWW have their monitor set at 1024x768 screen resoluton but 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 still use 800x600 screen res. Thats a big enough percentage not to be ignored.

    This means you have to consider your audience: for example, if your target audience is the www in general then design for 800x600 and 1024x768. If your target audience is photo editors then they are likely to have much higher res set on their monitor so 1024x768 and up is OK.
    Image pixel dimensions are therefore dictated by screen res you are designing for.

    I'm getting my site near completion(after a lot of rewrites) and it is designed primarily for 1024x768 but also works at 800x600 (if you hit the F11 and are not a Mac user).

    www.visualperception.net/

    It includes online selling but has a very simple layout with nothing too fancy.
    (must get some text put in it and start making prints at a size I can scan for web content)

    dreamweaver and PS should be about all you need in terms of software but if want to start generating server side scripts (PHP, ASP) then having to upload to web space to test is a pain. That means installing local webserver and script interpreter and database etc etc locally. Thats several very big learning curves.

  4. #4

    WWW site tips and examples?

    Are there useful guides?

    Probably the best, most useful guide to web design is the Yale Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition, which you can find online at www.webstyleguide.com/

    Beyond that, you should spend some time browsing the web sites of other photographers and take notes on things you like, and things you don't. When you find things you like, I'd suggest that shameless copying is the correct approach, provided that you don't infringe on copyright or other IP. But barring just cloning someone's site, there's little reason to reinvent the wheel. This is particularly true with regards to division of content.

    Funny story - I'd had my web site up for some years. Finally, Ralph Lambrecht got his own website, designed by some web design outfit he'd hired for the job. Ralph's new web site was an almost exact clone of mine - it was mortifying for Ralph but extremely amusing to me. Since I had done all the work on my web site, I just viewed it as validation that I was better off not hiring a web designer.

    An excellent resource for learning what NOT to do, and why, is www.webpagesthatsuck.com. Try to overlook the pointlessly antagonistic web site name.

    My observation is that the web site that are the simplest are the ones I like best. I do not like animated thingies whizzing around. I do not like website that require me to learn an entirely new interface to interact. I do not like web sites that make noise. If you are considering some feature, and it requires some client side software (like Flash, or similar), I'd suggest forgetting it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Chicagoland
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    364

    WWW site tips and examples?

    Take a look at this: http://projectseven.com/extensions/info/show_pic/index.htm

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    9,477

    WWW site tips and examples?

    I agree with Paul Butzi's advice about simple sites being better and avoiding Flash and "unique" navigation schemes. Since I hadn't visited Paul's site in several months I took a gander and went to my browser's "view source" command.

    I almost snorted my club soda out onto my Powerbook. All that Javascript and table cells. Com'on Paul, clean it up!

    ;-) of course.

  7. #7

    WWW site tips and examples?

    All that Javascript and table cells. Com'on Paul, clean it up!

    Yeah, it's a nightmare.

    At least I changed it so that when you mouse over a menu item, it only underlines the item instead what it did before, which was change it to bold face.

    That was really gacky, and in poor taste, and I'd like to apologize to all of you.

  8. #8

    WWW site tips and examples?

    There is a simple implication for web design of photo web sites. If the guy isnt able to design his web site well, then he isnt able to design his photos well. Would you buy a photo from a guy whose web site looks aesthetically displeasing? A photo web site should be simple with very conservative use of color. Photos must be the center point of the web site, not the web site itsself. It should load quickly, that means no Flash and no Java. I designed my web site black and white; I kept it very simple.

    A central problem in photo web design is the size of uploaded photos and their color&lightness. I found it very hard to match the color of small jpegs on my web site with the 300+MB originals. I assume that most people do not use any monitor calibration and I guess that some people can face a very mixed experience when viewing photos on a non-calibrated monitor. Nevertheless, they will mostly never realize this fact and blame the photographer for that.

    The quality/value of your photos is also going to be judged by your ability to promote them. I think it is better to have no web site than a bad one (but its is better to have a good one than none at all).

    Martin / www.martindrozda.com

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    950

    WWW site tips and examples?

    And another thing...

    Some of the best photography web sites I have seen from an aesthetic design point of view have been written entirely in Flash.

    here's a few:

    193.109.190.29/

    www.dirklambrechts.com/

    www.jorgealcaide.com/

    this one really needs broad band and fast processor:

    www.eccentris.com/

    I would have written my site entirely in flash except that flash does a really great job of hiding text embedded in it from search engines. That's a bit of a major problem if one of your design goals is good search engine position.

    Flash also gets gets bad press because of designers embedding very large and complex background images in it which take a long time to download.
    If its used properly then its a very good presentation tool.

    One big html tip:

    Don't use framesets unless you want problems with search engines. each frame gets indexed separately and anyone linking from a search engine to it, gets half a page of your web site. You can put javascript to make it check if its parent is there but that is a PITA.

  10. #10

    WWW site tips and examples?

    From the four Flash sites mentioned above: one does not work with Netscape 7.2. After visiting another one the music would not switch off after leaving(!!!), isnt that annoying? On the other two I could not judge the photos because they move.

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