Page 1 of 17 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 162

Thread: Top do's and don't for websites

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,588

    Top do's and don't for websites

    Lets collect a list of the top do's and don'ts for photographer websites for future reference.

    My top 10:

    1- Minimize the use of Flash: Flash can do some fancy presentation tricks, but in most instances these tricks can either also be done with plain html/css, or are annoying & useless and so should not be done at all anyway. Also, excessive flash reliance syndrome hurts search engine rankings.

    2- Use more text where you can: photography sites are naturally image-heavy, but search engines rely on text to index and rank your site. They can't "see" images. So, don't skip opportunities to use text. Links, for example, should be text-based and not images. Use the "alt" tag. If you're posting a photo, include some text that describes the photo (subject, location, your thoughts on it, etc) All of this makes for a more informative and useful site too. Do you really need an image logo, or will a text logo work just as well? etc

    3- No splash pages: splash pages are the introductory or opening pages to your site, which typically consist of an image plus a little "Enter" link. Get rid of these immediately. They are entirely useless and annoying and accomplishe nothing. And for God's sake don't put a long fancy Flash intro on your splash page either, not even with a "skip this intro" option.

    4- Galleries: should be easily navigable. Use thumbnails: Once I select a gallery of images to view, I should be able to go straight to a particular photo that strikes my fancy by previewing the thumbnails, instead of having to go through 20 images before I come to the one I really want to see. Also, if I am halfway through one gallery, I should be able to stop viewing it entirely and instead skip directly to another gallery or go back to the homepage of your site. So, let me find my way around easily by including a decent range of navigation options instead of just "next image/previous image".

    5- Size/quality of images: A tiny photo of yours won't tell me much. Make it bigger. But also make sure your photos are adjusted using a calibrated monitor and optimized for web displays. Double check to make sure that the background color does not clash/distract from the photo.

    6- Text vs. Background contrast: Its fashionable to make text color and background colors roughly the same - thus making it impossible to see the text easily. Have pity on our eyes and add a little more contrast between the text and the background. Or, if you're using a background tiling image, make sure it isn't too "busy" so as to overwhelm the text on the foreground. On the other hand, don't overdo the contrast. Green text on a bright yellow background will quickly induce sea sickness.

    7 - Links: It is fashionable to remove the underline from links - thus making sure that a link is indistinguishable from normal text on your site, and so minimizing the chances that anyone will actually click on a link - which kinda defeats the purpose. Sure, you could add a hover effect - an underline or a change of color that appears when your mouse hovers over the link - but who has the time to mouse around looking for links? Just make the link look like a link by using the underline and use a distinguishable text color to indicate links, and all will be well. And while we're at it: consistency. Choose your color scheme/layout and be consist about it across your site; don't switch link colors on different pages.

    8- Cross-browser compatibility: test out your site on multiple browsers. What works on Internet Explorer will not necessarily work on Firefox.

    9- Edit your text: Long, wordy, jargon-filled self- promotional text is a turnoff. Most people who use the web only scan through text and don't actually read every word on a web page - thank goodness, because most writing on the web is gawd awful (yes, this post included) so do a bit of editing and keep it short & sweet. Remember to spell check. Break up large chunks of text into discrete paragraphs that each communicate a specific point (and highlight or bold it.) And if you don't have a point to communicate, shut the hell up.

    10- Link out! Include some links to other sites/sources of info - a lot of people will stumble across your site because they're looking for that other info. If your site becomes a good source to find other info, users are more likely to visit your site again. Also outgoing links will improve your site's search engine rankings somewhat (incoming links really help most!)
    Last edited by cyrus; 31-Aug-2007 at 11:13.

  2. #2

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    I think things change when you compare fine art photography to commercial (especially advertising) photography, though there are a few better choices to practice:

    1. If the images are the emphasis, then make sure the interface of the website does not interfere with viewing, nor that it distracts from the images

    2. If addressing the advertising market, keep navigation very simple, and make going from one image to another as easy and fast as possible

    3.a. People who buy fine art images want to know more about the artist, so include more text about yourself, and ideally an image or two

    3.b. A trend in advertising is to show an image of yourself, somehow indicating that you would be an interesting or enjoyable person to have as a creative partner; text about yourself should be kept to a minimum, though client lists are sometimes influential

    4. Realize that many people view websites on smaller laptop screens, and many people do not like to scroll on websites (some surveys indicate less than 10% of people actually scroll web pages)

    5. If you have a block of text, make it somewhat easy to read for your target audience

    6. Easy to find contact information

    7. Avoid pop-up windows, or at least be very careful when you use them

    8. Flash is not bad, if it does not detract/distract from viewing the images. Realize that when you choose Flash, you need to be aware of what version your target audience might have installed on their computers (don't assume the latest). Minimal Flash usage might be okay, but Search Engines struggle to find anything, so combining Flash elements with an HTML interface and navigation might work better. Exception: you have so much work, and are so famous, that it just does not matter.

    9. Use alt text for your images to include descriptions

    10. Update your site and put up new images often to keep the content changing and interesting (once a month would be great)

    So . . . yes, my current website sucks. I am working on GordonMoat.com currently, which will replace my older (last update 2004) website. Bottom line is that you want to appear interesting and creative, and not alienate nor drive away any viewers.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio

  3. #3
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Marin County, California
    Posts
    834

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    And #1 on the top 10 list of website DON'Ts- absolutely no music!!!
    Brian Vuillemenot

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,718

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    DO:

    - Make your site standards-compliant

    - Make your site accessible to people with disabilities (Secton 508 - Compliant)

    - Make your code semantically and structurally correct - use (X)HTML elements for content structure.

    - Make extensive use of stylesheets (CSS) for style and positioning

    - Keep your site as simple as possible. You want people to appreciate your photographs, not your web designer.


    DO NOT:

    - Use (X)HTML for layout (e.g. tables for positioning)

    - Use (X)HTML for styling (e.g. header or FONT tags for styling)

    - Make your navigation JavaScript-dependent! If JavaScript fails, your site will become unusable.

    - Waste your bandwidth with gimmicky flare such as right click disabling scripts, background music, meaningless Flash animation and the like. Those are all big performance hogs and they all get old really quickly.


    As far as "ready to use web solutions", i.e. pre-fabricated templates and/or WYSIWYG software are concerned, it is your choice to make. If you are contemplating going that route, remember the following:

    - Your site will represent YOU and for majority of your visitors, it will be their first impression.

    - You get what you pay for and it shows.

    - WYSIWYG packages are like P&S cameras, both quality- and capability-wise.

    P.S.

    If you don't know what majority of the above stated really means or at least you don't know how to do it, consider hiring a pro. Yes, good sites are expensive, but just think how much a bad site would cost you!

  5. #5

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    One thing I notice is allot of LF photographers websites have very small images in their online galleries.But I've seen quite a few digital capture only websites who's online galleries have nice big images that show allot of detail, and make the LF images look inferior to the digital ones.Is there a reason for this?

  6. #6
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1997
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    2,311

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    DO NOT:

    - Use (X)HTML for layout (e.g. tables for positioning)

    - Use (X)HTML for styling (e.g. header or FONT tags for styling)
    What are exactly the adverse consequences of doing so ?

  7. #7

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Vuillemenot View Post
    And #1 on the top 10 list of website DON'Ts- absolutely no music!!!
    LOL.... I thought I was the only one annoyed by this.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Luxembourg
    Posts
    319

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Strobel View Post
    One thing I notice is allot of LF photographers websites have very small images in their online galleries.But I've seen quite a few digital capture only websites who's online galleries have nice big images that show allot of detail, and make the LF images look inferior to the digital ones.Is there a reason for this?
    It is quite worthless stealing relatively small images form a website. Unfortunately, image theft (or unauthorized copying) happens quite often. A large watermark can be an option, but it ruins the pleasure for the honest viewers too.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,718

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    Quote Originally Posted by QT Luong View Post
    What are exactly the adverse consequences of doing so ?
    Two major things - code bloat and search engine problems.

    Using (X)HTML for structural markup only and using CSS for positioning, layout and styling produces small, semantically correct files that are easily searchable, while all the layout and styling information gets loaded only once and gets reused from cache for the entire site. If this is done right, it will also include all of non-content graphics such as logos, dividers and other decoration. This can easily result in bandwidth savings of 40% or more.

    In a nutshell, separation of content and style results in smaller files, faster response, better searchability and increased accessibility. Not to mention easier maintenance. Just think of changing bakcground color or link style in a couple of months...

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    64

    Re: Top do's and don't for websites

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Gasteazoro View Post
    LOL.... I thought I was the only one annoyed by this.
    It bugs me too Jorge.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •