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Web Portfolio

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by Krey20, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Hi guys, I've only just registered and introduced myself, so I thought I might jump in with both feet!
    I developed my simple website about a year ago, and because of the growth of my freelance activities and portfolio samples I need to give it a bit of an overhaul soon.
    You should be able to follow the link in my post signature.

    Any comments and suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  2. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Ken,

    Some quick thoughts on your existing site, I would lose the splash/landing page, it's just another point where the user will click off, and risks them thinking its just a holding page, I think you have to assume that people could quite easily miss the 'Enter Site' link in grey, so I would take that page out altogether and have the main home page as the first page you see.

    With regards to your portfolio, I would think about separating it into the different disciplines, like you have in your header, so a section for Illustration, one for Design for Print and the last for Web Design, or go for what seems to be the standard three now - Logo Design, Web Design & Print Design. I would still include your college work in the portfolio sections but would perhaps put this at the end of the sections, so the first work people will see is the live/commercial projects.

    Have you had any thoughts about what you would plan to do with an overhaul?

    Greg
     
  3. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    My thoughts so far are quite tentative. The web pages I produce are very simple and I try to make them design led, so my concerns at the moment are that the samples aren't displayed well enough and that they are organised in a slightly odd way.

    My trouble with organisation of the samples is that some of them stray outside the parameters of Web, Illustration and print. There is a lot of clothing and some of the vehicle graphics work that doesn't really fit, but I believe is still relevant.

    I want to get away form the College work label too, I'm looking for the site to seem a little more commercial rather than it being a "vanity scrapbooking" exercise.

    As for the general look and feel, I'm still quite happy with it.

    I might head over the the web forum and do a little research and see if anything new strikes me for structural changes. I've always favoured a contained look.

    Any comments would help at this stage.

    Cheers.
     
  4. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    I would agree with those points you made Ken, perhaps you could look to have one main portfolio section with all your work in date order, and then pick out some of the work you've done with some case studies? So for example the Hellcat Racing work could make a nice case study with the range of work you've completed for them and a short write-up on what was provided and how it went onto be a successful partnership.

    Perhaps with the design itself you could look to add further interest with some CSS, so stick to a string grid layout in a contained structure, but add something to it to help distinguish the various areas, so whether thats a more visual header image, or stand out typography titles, etc. Take a look on sites like Web Designer Wall for inspiration and ideas, they usually feature some really nice sites - Best of CSS Design 2008 (although I'm sure you probably know about WDW! :))

    Hope that helps,
    Greg
     
  5. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Yeah total agree with Greg about the splash page, the other thing why you shouldn't have it is because the search engines will class that as your home page not your actual home page and it would be better if they didn't.

    Coding wise not sure where to start TBH I would look at putting it through the HTML validator and working through that TBH.
     
  6. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    I'll admit, I'm not a coder. And I'm sure you'll be horrified to know I use the design interface in Dreamweaver, but it worked for what I was trying to achieve at the time. Now I'm looking to tweak and improve. I'm always looking to learn new skills, but web design has always been the lesser of my skill-set. Having said that I know people will think I shouldn't be labelling myself as a web designer, but I make the situation abundantly clear to any prospective clients that come my way.

    I put it through the linked validator and it only found 4 small problems, where un-needed charaters have cropped up? Having said that I am aware that the code isn't all that clean and conventional!

    Cheers, for the link too Greg, looks like it will be useful. I wasn't previously aware of the site.
     
  7. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Change your doctype from this ~
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">

    to ~
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

    Then re-run it, TBH it may pick up a few more than 4.

    But Dreamweavers fine as it allows you to code, I used it while I learnt then switched to coffee cup, but if I'm honest some screen readers, browsers for blind users, may have a hard time on your code.

    Jaz
     
  8. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Ken,

    Have you thought about simply focusing on the design of your site in Photoshop/Fireworks format and then hiring an outsourced web developer/coder to code your site for you? It may be that your restricting your own design by keeping it within the restrictions of what you can achieve within DW? You could even look to move your site onto an opensource CMS to help oyu with updating the site more effectively, as I can imagine doing it manually in DW could be quite time consuming?

    You could even try and find a developer to work with as an exchange of services? You could provide some graphic design work for them, and in return they could code your site, could be a mutually beneficial relationship, and could be good for your freelance work in the future?

    HTH
    Greg
     
  9. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Cheers for the help.
    I better start pencilling in some time to redevelop it!
     
  10. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    That's certainly a great suggestion, and something that I'll be considering heavily. As I've mentioned in other posts, one of the reasons I've joined the board is that I've felt a bit of isolation since I've lost my former studio environment. And the fact is that at the moment I haven't got those "sort" of contacts to make it possible.

    If there are any developers out there that feel we might be of mutual benefit to one another, then I'd be glad to hear from you.
     
  11. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Good stuff Ken, I hope you're able to find someone through the forums :up:

    If it was me my first priority would be getting the site design just right, there's plenty of developers around, even if you're unable to find someone to exchange services with, the cost of coding a simple portfolio site shouldn't be too much from my experience.

    Good luck with it all, and keep us informed on your progress.
    Greg
     
  12. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Sure will.

    More comments are welcome, especially criticisms! I'm constantly wondering if I have too much on the site, and I know it's a question that doesn't have an answer, and it's up to the individual to develop a portfolio. It's a very personal thing, but if there is any work you especially like or think is particularly weak, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    I promise to do the same for anyone else. In fact I'll be exploring some time soon, I haven't had a good nose through portfolios for a while!
     
  13. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    From my point of view, I really like the following pieces of work...

    • Packaging designs for Ridgard Components
    • Annual Report for Solbian Steel
    • Radio 3 project
    Not to say I don't like the other work, just those are the stand out pieces for me. I also like the work for Hellcat Racing as it has the broad range of applications. My least favourite piece of work is the Goldstar Angel Racing, just not my style personally.

    I'm sure you'll have more feedback as people start to see you around the forums ;)

    Thanks,
    Greg
     
  14. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Heres a few thoughts ~

    TBH the links to featured projects to me look like ads, so I wouldn't click them TBH, and they don't look inline with the rest of the page, I would say give them a white background but leave a gap around the sides to show the background colour.

    The writing at the bottom is too light, I can hardly make it out and I would be careful, as you are probably being penalized in the search engines for trying to hide text just for them, cloaking.

    Your Home link I like it different colour, makes it obvious what page I'm on, however it links in, never link to the page you are on as it leads to confusion, is this the home page? if it is why is their a link to the home page? So I would say deactivate it on the home page.

    The rest of the nav should change to the bolded red colour on hover as it would make it easier to read.

    Your tag line is way too small and needs to clarify what you do, I would change it to ~
    Print and web designer.

    Also your title element would be better if it read as ~
    Ken Reynolds ~ Print and web designer based in .........

    Fill in where you live at the end, as that would help you to get more traffic, and more localized traffic.

    Change this section ~
    <p class="homepgred">Welcome
    to the graphic design portfolio of Ken Reynolds Design.</p>

    To ~
    <h1 class="homepgred">Welcome
    to the graphic design portfolio of Ken Reynolds Design.</h1>

    And then add style similar to ~
    h1{font-size:1em}

    To get the same effect, but it will help you to rank better in the search engines.

    You need to redirect the non www. version to your www. version to stop you being penalized in the search engines to do that create a file and call it .htaccess. In thier place this ~

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.krey20design\.co\.uk [nc]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.krey20design.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]


    Upload that to your main root directory.
    I have said in other posts create it in notepad, however that will create it as a text file and will give you problems, my fault, so you can use dreamweaver to do it.

    Again the writing in the upper right is to small for modern screens and needs to be bigger IMO.

    Any way hope that helps.

    Jaz

    Key:
    Green ~ CSS
    Red ~ Mod_rewrite
    Purple ~ XHTML
     

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