Tuesday, 28 December 2010

DPP1: Exercise 25: A web gallery

I have had a website for a couple of years at www.npmimages.com so this exercise is mildly artificial. I’ve checked with my tutor and, having looked at the site, he does not feel that I need to produce another gallery. Even so, I thought it was worth running through the key points of the exercise against my existing site.
First up is image size. The maximum size permitted is 800 pixels on the longest edge, but I chose not to go that large to reduce the likelihood of image theft. I would probably have to concede now that this is something of a conceit, but the site works well with the existing sizing so I shall be continuing with this size.
Why do I have a website? Largely it is to show off my skills as a photographer – I admit to a certain satisfaction if I see a pulse in visitors to the site when I change the content. Recently I have linked it to my personal blog so that they support each other. The blog is for my photo-a-day project while the website provides a more permanent home for my strongest images.
Quality of images – one area I need to strengthen is putting in a proper review process so that I ensure that the site displays the quality I would hope to be recognised for.
Layout. As the site is a template site the worst design excesses – flashing buttons, multiple fonts etc are difficult to implement even if I were so inclined. The navigation menus are inherently simple and the gallery designs are tried and tested. Some significant customisation is possible, but other than changing background/font colours to match my blog I have tended to stick with simplicity. I’m not sure this would continue to be adequate if I were a full time professional as, in those circumstances, I believe the design of the website would need to be more personalised. For example, Marc Rogoff’s website is as striking as his images, while Wolfgang Tillmans’ is apparently ‘undesigned’ – which seems highly unlikely - and results in the images being the only object of interest on the screen once you scroll past the navigation menu.
Another good example of design to suit the photographer is Julia Boggio Photography where the quirky intro page is a perfect fit for her style of photography and shows a very clear understanding of who her customers are.
Searchability is another area I need to improve – the photos on the site have a limited number of keywords – most have none beyond the heading.
A final issue, and one not included in the notes is integration with social media. My website itself does not have any obvious integration tools but my personal blog in particular has a number of share buttons, and every entry is published to my Facebook stream and to Twitter. The statistics show that these two acts alone are responsible for a significant portion of the traffic to my blog. I have also made sure that my website, my personal blog and my other learning blogs are easily accessible from this site and from each other.

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