Updated site.....How'd I do?

Discussion in 'Personal and Professional Photography Websites' started by Katz, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Katz

    Katz TPF Noob!

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    I am not a webmaster by any means, I don't really care for flash, and I wanted a basic simple site that was easy to use, somewhat classy, and very functional. After being told that my site was outdated and pretty much sucked by members on here, I decided to try and make it better....

    What do you think of my site?

    www.katzphotography.net
     
  2. bullitt453

    bullitt453 TPF Noob!

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    I'm a part-time web designer, so I'll throw out a little C&C for ya. Please do not take any of this as harsh or overly critical. I am just trying to help you build the most effecient and effective website possible.

    1 - The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is the orginization that develops the "rules" that all web designers should follow when they are building a site. They have a validator that you can use to test the correctness and/or validity of your website. Using the validator to check your website, you can see that there are quite a few errors just on the homepage. A W3C compliant website is becoming increasingly important in the current day web enviroment. If a potential customer or site viewer sees that you take the time to make your site valid, correct, and pleasing, it lets them know that you take your work seriously. Some designers, including myself, include links at the bottom of their pages so that the users can quickly validate the sites code (both HTML/XHTML and CSS). Have a look at the bottom of my Mustang Club's site and click on the XHTML and/or CSS links.

    2 - Using table as a means to do your page layout is no-no in current web design. Tables should be used for the display of tabular data. This is what they were designed for. They should not be used to position that data. Instead, you should use CSS and div tags for your layout. Again, see my Mustang Club's site for an example of CSS layout.

    3 - The overall site design is very simple, albeit a bit dull. While most photography sites do look better with dark colors as the main palette (like you black background), this site could definitely stand a little splash of color.

    4 - I am viewing the site on a 1024x768 resolution and I have to do some horizontal scrolling on all the pages with the exception of your gallery pages (which I will get to in a minute). This is a bit of a no-no. Most users do use the resolution of 1024x768 (or above), so it is "fine" that your site have horizontal scroll bars at the 800x600 resolution, but not the 1024x768. I see that you have your layout table (something else I will get to in a minute) et at a width of 1018px. That's not quite small enough to handle the vertical scroll bar. Try 1000px.

    5 - You really need to have a Galleries link in your main menu. If I hadn't just happened to mouse over the images at the bottom of your homepage, I wouldn't have even made it to your gallery (even though it is mentioned in your homepage text). I would suggest a simple "Gallery" link with a JavaScript-based dropdown menu of your categories.

    6 - Speaking of your gallery pages, they are layed out differently than your other pages. Consistency is major factor in good web design. Plus, your gallery pages do not contain links back to the other pages in your site other than the homepage. By having them built with the same template as the other pages, the user can easily jump around your site at will.

    7 - I'm usig IE6 here at work (although I truly despise IE). All version of IE prior to version 7 do not show PNG transparency correctly. It actually displays as an ugly blue-grey background instead of transparent. This really makes your logo harsh on the eyes. Since the rest of your site is black at this time, I recommend changing your logo to a JPG file with a black background. This will ensure that it displays on all browsers without anny issues. However, it is possible to use CSS, JavaScript, and other solutions to make PNG files display find on IE6 and other non-supporting browsers. Have a look at the header image or footer image of my Mustang Club's website (sorry to keep referencing my site, but it's the quickest way I know to show you what I am talking about). I use a CSS script to force the transparency to work correctly in IE.

    8 - It is really helpful if you have a means of showing your viewers what page they are on at any given time. The easiest way to do this in in the Title tag in the Head section of your document. All of your pages simply say "Katz Photography", which is all well and good. But I would recommend something like "Katz Photography -- Home", "Katz Photography -- For Sale", etc, etc.
    There are other ways to effectively and visually let the viewer know where they are at any given time. Probably the most common way is though current page menu highlighting. What this means is that, when your viewer in on your For Sale page, the For Sale link in your menu will be highlighted, underlined, or something else to let them know that that is the page they are currently viewing. This is something I have been meaning to implement on our club's site, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Not enough time in the day.


    Again, I hope that none of this has come off as rude or harsh. As you can see, there is a lot, I mean a whole lot, involved in web designer. I applaud you for getting to the stage you are currently at with your site. You have a decent footing to build on and it will only get better and stronger from here.

    Hope this has helped.
    -Jeff-
     
  3. Katz

    Katz TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much. None of that was taken as rude at all. I use Dreamweaver 8, and I just used one of their templates for my home page and then copied it for the rest of the pages(just changing info per page), and then I used Web Album 2.2(extension for Dreamweaver) for my galleries.

    I appreciate everything you said and I will definitely apply it to making a better site. Thank you very much for taking the time to go over my site.

    The only way I will get better is to learn what I am doing wrong. So, thanks! :)
     
  4. bullitt453

    bullitt453 TPF Noob!

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    No problem. I really enjoy examining sites and helping where help is wanted.

    I too use Dreamweaver, but it's the CS3 version. I use it strictly in code view though. No where in your source code do I see a reference to a Dreamwever template, so I think you may be using the template wrong. What you need to do is to define a site within dreamweaver and then set the template in there. Make all of your adjustments to your template, like the menu, header, footer, and then asssign your editable areas. Then simply base your pages on that template. In doing it this way, if you ever want to add/change a menu item, simply change in on the template and select to Update All Pages. Now all of you pages will be updated with the new menu.
     
  5. Katz

    Katz TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again.... Well, I started out with a template!:blushing: hehe Don't know what I did..... but I am starting over and will put it up here again once I am all done and hopefully it will be alot better....
     
  6. bullitt453

    bullitt453 TPF Noob!

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    Sounds good. It is all a learning experience, so the more practice you get, the better you will become. If you have any issues or certain things you're not sure how to do, feel free to PM me or just post up here. :thumbup:
     

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