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  • New Portfolio Website Design

    I've decided to redesign my portfolio site in order to streamline a visitor's path through it, and to better highlight my work. In addition, the old layout was a bit drab and unpleasant, not to mention my coding skills were far iffier then vs. now.

    Here's a link to the site. All comments/critique are appreciated. The CMS I'm using, if anyone's curious, is Textpattern.

    http://www.ajw-art.com/txp-test/

    And here's a link to the old site, for comparison:

    http://www.ajw-art.com

    Thanks!

    Edit: I'm aware of the issue where one of the images on the homepage slideshow is too small. I have to fiddle with that; the end result may be that I make the #slide div a little smaller, or use a different slideshow that pans across images before fading.
    Last edited by Carrot; 12-08-2009, 03:50 PM.

  • #2
    I like the old site better. It had a little character. the new site looks too generic.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with drawingguy. Your new site would be better suited for a more technical drawing style than yours. Your illustrations are loose and fun and your site should reflect that.
      I could give you a dose
      but it would never come close
      to the rage built up inside of me
      fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy

      Comment


      • #4
        What about the old (well, technically, current) site is better? The type, the graphics, or just the overall style?

        My biggest reason for changing the design was the concern that as I updated my portfolio I'd have to change the image that's the "face" of my site when I phase it out, and probably change the color scheme to match whatever the new image is. Technically this isn't a big deal, but I was worried about constant change hurting my branding. Should I perhaps keep the featured image idea, but focus on a consistent type/grid to minimize the jarring effect of a sudden facelift?
        Last edited by Carrot; 12-08-2009, 05:33 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I like that your site and your work now fits in my 1024*768 screen, although the homepage is cut off.
          'Portfolio' makes more sense than 'Illustration'

          The thumbnails in your portfolio are bigger and easier to click on, but I'd like to see more of the image in the thumbnail. You still get that same 'clipped' effect where you see so little of the graphic that you have no real motivation to choose one image over the other.

          I wish you'd say more about your work. What was the project done for? What challenges did you face? Think about your potential clients and why they'd want to hire you over someone else. It's about more than talent: it's also about being able to work with people, being able to work with certain software, limitations, etc.

          I think your spiel at the top should be wider, to match the width of the image. Try around 21.5em.

          There is a little too much vertical space in the layout. Try shoving your navigation into the top right corner, in the same black space as your logo/name.

          Your resume page's body copy should look more like your about page's copy. For some reason, the lines are being wrapped too soon. It doesn't look good and it wastes space.
          Last edited by vanishdesign; 12-08-2009, 07:59 PM.
          Swedish Meatball Pornography

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Carrot View Post
            What about the old (well, technically, current) site is better? The type, the graphics, or just the overall style?

            My biggest reason for changing the design was the concern that as I updated my portfolio I'd have to change the image that's the "face" of my site when I phase it out, and probably change the color scheme to match whatever the new image is. Technically this isn't a big deal, but I was worried about constant change hurting my branding. Should I perhaps keep the featured image idea, but focus on a consistent type/grid to minimize the jarring effect of a sudden facelift?
            Your illustrations kind of are your branding. Your current site looks like an illustrator site. The new site looks like a template for a designer.

            My speciality is children’s illustration. I’d like to work in children’s media, including animated features and shows, publishing, and games.
            Your site should reflect the above statement. Right now, it doesn't. I think you could keep the same navigation while changing the main image.

            To answer your question, everything about the current site is better. I don't find the new site, other than the incorporated blog, any easier to navigate. I like the feel of the current site more.

            That's just me though...

            Comment


            • #7
              @Vanish-- The page fitting better on the monitor was a big concern for me; it always just kind of floated in space the way I had it before, and I definitely wanted it to scale better considering how big screens are these days.

              All of my current portfolio stuff were personal projects, so I don't have much to say about them other than what software I used and their titles. I could certainly add those in, though.

              The weird line wrap was my attempt to make the resume mimic the layout of the portfolio PDF. It's an easy fix.

              @drawingguy -- Thanks! I guess I'm so used to seeing the old page that I'd grown a bit disenchanted with it; I didn't realize it was so effective. As far as making my design reflect my goal, I did have a layout in the draft pile that I'd discarded as a little too gimmicky, but on second thought may be more fitting for my work.

              Here's a (very rough) sketch of what I was originally going to do. The idea was that the header image would change depending on the time of day, with each image telling part of the story of a young boy's fishing trip. I'd also planned to use a smidgen of flash to animate the bobber, and maybe the tree, depending on how technically difficult it was.

              The rectangles are thumbnail images, and the box off to the right would be text similar to what I have beneath the headings of the newer site I was working on.



              Or perhaps I should just stick with my current site and clean up the code a bit?

              Comment


              • #8
                I like your site, though I agree with the above that there are elements from your old site that look alot more appealing.
                I think your 'about' section needs work on. There is too much plain text - it just looks like its been slapped on the page and left behind. I suggest maybe reducing the amount of content? Try make the page more interesting - reduce your line lengths, add a photo, or your illustrations and create some sense of order .

                Comment


                • #9
                  The idea was that the header image would change depending on the time of day, with each image telling part of the story of a young boy's fishing trip
                  Depending on the time of day is both not easy and not practical. Your visitors will see the site once, maybe twice, maybe more if they like your work (or maybe they'll look once and call/email you). I highly doubt anyone will visit it 3 or 4 times in one day, esp. not once at 9am, once at 3pm and once at 9pm. It's a neat concept, but it's better suited to an email program or news site.

                  If you were to go this direction I'd recommend you change the image depending on which page you're on, or something simpler.
                  Swedish Meatball Pornography

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well it's definitely a lot cleaner now but it has lost some of it's character. The whole background being taken up by an illustration could look nice, or even just some hand drawn elements on the page. I think you could make more of your illustration skills and really show them off.

                    There's a usability issue on the front page with the yellow highlighted text. The first two highlighted words are not clickable but the third set is. Either all of the Yellow text should be a link or none of it should be, only having the last bit as a link isn't very good practice.

                    Also it feels like there is too much space between the top nav bar and where the headings start.


                    Overall it's pretty good though.
                    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like the overall atmosphere of the first one better. Maybe look at some other illustrator sites, to see what I mean.
                      My issue with both of your sites, however, is that the balance is off. In the original, the weight is all in the header, so much so, that there's nothing to draw your eye downward to the rest of the content. It's ok to have a big header, you just need to counterbalance the effect. On the redesign, it is generic, and it has a very odd balance. Your logo & images are right on the left margin of my screen, while the menu & describing text are floating out in the middle of the right side. It feels like being in a house of mirrors, and is uncomfortable. Maybe take a look at the 960 css layout system. It's a method for determining balance in layouts that are pleasing to the eye and natural to the way we see things.

                      Good luck!

                      Comment

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