Launching new web site

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by Norma Desmond, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. I'm about to launch my web site. I've tested it on various browsers, and on some PCs and Macs, but would be interested in having anyone take a look at it and comment on any technical problems you may notice, particularly with the Flash slide shows. Most people who have tested it for me say things work fine, but one friend had some trouble with a PC and Firefox 3.0. I know I can't cover every possibility, but would just like some reassurance that the majority of people are seeing it without technical malfunctions. If you can let me know what browser (and version) you're using and if it's on Mac or PC and how the site is running, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much!
    http://www.fredgoldsmithphotography.com
     
  2. Hey Fred,
    I ran it on Firefox and Safari on a Mac, everything is ok, but I also ran a few diagnostics and suggest a couple of things. (I am sensitive to these things because I just launched my new site last week!)
    As I said, everything runs fine, but I have both my plug-ins(flash) and java script turned on. If I turn off my plug-ins (flash), I still get your 3 "Photo Galleries" categories but they expands to fill the page--pixelates on my large monitor. There is no message that "this site requires flash and your plug-ins turned on", but at least there is content--a good thing.
    If I disable javascript, then I get nothing but a white page when I go to the 3 categories under "Photo Galleries" regardless as to whether Flash is on or not.
    The good news is that your Home page and the Portraits you are featuring work fine with both Flash and Javascript off. (I was surprised the book works, but see it is sequential html pages)
    I started using Google Analytics with this new site and have found that there are a fair number of folks from this site that neither have Flash nor Javascript turned on. When I first posted the site, if you didn't have flash you got a message but not if you didn't have javascript turned on. Now I have messages in both cases.
    My only other comment, more in design, is that I found the navigation hard to read on the Portrait book--I guess the brightness of the book makes them, being black, recede into the dark background--but since clicking the book works, it may be no issue--except you have to look around to figure how to get back "home". My only other comment, and it might not be an issue for you, is that your name disappears after you start into the book--I always think it is good to have your name present regardless of what someone is looking at, but that may be me.
    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Hi Fred,
    Nice site, I certainly like the portofolio-as-a-book idea. It looks calm, original and well focussed on the photos. However, this way, it does lack something like a thumbnail overview - though maybe that is intentional? Either way, it's not really a punishment to have to stroll through your photographic world ;-)
    The book is considerably slower than the presentation used for the other galleries. On my sluggish 3G connection at least.
    Tried with IE8, Firefox (3.6) and Opera (10.6 and 11) in Windows - works fine in all for me. Did not try on my mobile phone yet, though. It should give a good view what happens if no flash is detected.
     
  4. Well, I did find a glitch! I went back to test the navigation arrows (I don't like chasing such navigation around--it appears to happen only on "Men", so I thought I would test clicking on the image to see if that worked.) The other galleries seemed fine, but--and not always--the "Men" category didn't clear the first page. So, each additional page went over that first one. I then reloaded it and used the arrows, it was fine. I reloaded it again and used the arrows, and it went back to not working--loading the rest of the pages over the first one. So, there is some glitch that appears to be variable, even on the same browser and computer.
     
  5. Looking at your code, my sense is that the issue is with these different settings for "simpleviewer" and the glitch has to do with how fast someone clicks to the next image--fast=a problem, slow=no problem.
    I didn't use simpleviewer, but I did try another JS transition feature (took it out for these same reasons) and it worked fine when slowly clicking through, but had similar issues when clicking fast. So, most likely will need to use the same transition used with the others, which I could not make mess up.
     
  6. John, first, thank you so much for the attention and detail. It's really helpful!!
    I appreciate what you said about javascript and flash. So how did you go about generating a message so the viewers who have java or flash turned off don't just get a blank page or a pixellated image and get the accompanying message that flash and/or javascript is required. Is that easily programmable? Thanks for any info on that.
    Also, thanks for telling me about the arrows and home button under the book. On my monitor and friends I've seen, they looked fine but I'll consider a different color that will provide more contrast.
    As for the MEN gallery, I was considering changing that because I, too, don't like the arrows moving and on the other two galleries they remain stationary. I liked the way the MEN gallery kind of slid from one photo to the next, but can easily give that up given the hiccups you found and keeping it consistent with the other gallery is not a bad idea.
    A couple of more commercially-oriented friends suggested having my name appear with all the pages but that one I vetoed, as an aesthetic decision. I don't want that impinging on the viewing of the book and I'm willing to risk a few minutes of not having my name visible.
    Yes, I was almost going to do the whole site as html but started just with the book, which I like a lot. I'm oversaturated with flash for showing photos and wanted at least a little something different. But for the three galleries, it was easiest and most efficient to do the flash and I wanted them presented differently from the book anyway. As time goes on and I add more galleries, I may think about other methods.
    Finally, did you have any issues with the speed of the book pages loading? On my system, it's pretty seamless and immediate as you go from page to page in the book. Wouter seems to be having a speed issue, but maybe it's just his connection. The way I've got it set up as that each page of the book loads the following page.
     
  7. Wouter, thanks for the kind words and for checking it out. Yes. I know thumbnails are more traditional but I didn't think they worked given the format of the book. I did want people to have the book experience rather than jumping from thumbnail to thumbnail as they desired. Maybe a little manipulative, but I never said I wasn't. LOL.
    Not sure why the book was slow for you. Will check into that with the "experts." Maybe John will have an answer.
     
  8. The speed issue thing sort of varies, but no blanks, just a burp at times, but I think that helps it feel like it is paginating. On my site, I load the next pages images as well, but sometimes it is fast and sometimes it is slow.
    Here's one thing you might check. I had an image or two that were only 500K as a photoshop files end up as 3+ meg as jpegs?!? A friend asked, while I was in testing, why such and such took so long to load. I went into the folder with those images and saw that it was huge by comparison--as was another. I corrected those by using the "Save for Web" option in PS and got them down to the size of the others--I couldn't get them to save small with just the save command. I don't think you had that problem, but it doesn't hurt to check and be sure.
    As to the message coding, it was odd because my program is supposed to generate those automatically, but they never showed up. I ended up stealing code from another site where it did work. Feel free to steal mine and see if you can get it to work on yours. The code at the bottom reads when Javascript is off while the one further up reads when Flash is not present. Honestly, I have no idea about these things--why one works in one place and the other elsewhere, I am a tinkerer and just try this or that until it works--if it doesn't, then I go find something else--probably could save a lot of time if I actually knew what I was doing!
     
  9. John, Yes. Everything is saved for the web and not of the book page jpgs are actually more than 100K so I think I've done the best I can there. Believe me, it took me a while to get there, until a friend told me about Saving for the Web.
    I can relate well to actually knowing what we are doing. It's kind of fun winging it, though, and actually getting a result that does showcase my work! I'll check your site and see if I can generate the message as you do. Thanks.
     
  10. On second thought, don't steal my code--we aren't using the same versions of html. I stayed with html whereas you are using xhtml coding. I was going to move to xhtml, but I haven't found a way to "float" the site both horizontally and vertically with xhtml and I like that feature as most of my clients have large monitors.
     
  11. John, Yes. Everything is saved for the web and not of the book page jpgs are actually more than 100K so I think I've done the best I can there. Believe me, it took me a while to get there, until a friend told me about Saving for the Web.
    I can relate well to actually knowing what we are doing. It's kind of fun winging it, though, and actually getting a result that does showcase my work! I'll check your site and see if I can generate the message as you do. Thanks.
     
  12. OK, John. I'll look around. It shouldn't be too hard to find.
     
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I had no technical problems, Chrome on a Mac.
    I find the pictures in the book presentation very nice but the images are pretty small. Bigger ones might be more compelling.

    I don't like different types of presentation in the same website. To me, it dilutes any sort of unity around the photographer's vision. The exception would be if you shot commercial work that was different and presented it as a very different type of portfolio. The book concept works well but the other galleries seem to lack something after looking at the book.
     
  14. Thanks, Jeff. As for the size of the book and the pictures in them, I didn't want to go any bigger because so many people look at these on laptops. On many of the laptops I checked out, the book occupies the full screen and everything seems relatively quite a bit larger, so what seems to be suggested by most of the reading I've done is to optimize for the resolution of the majority of users (which is in the 800 - 1000 range) rather than for users like photographers and graphic designers who tend to have bigger screens and higher-resolution monitors.
    Thanks for your point about the difference in feel between the galleries and the book. I understand it, but don't find it as much of a problem as you do. In time, I may come up with something different for the additional galleries, but for now I'm OK with the aesthetics of it.
     
  15. I've tested it on various browsers, and on some PCs and Macs​
    Did you test it manually, or use one of the tools/sites referenced here:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=41252
    A couple of my pet peeves about your site (from WinXP, Firefox):
    On your home page, there are navigation links to other pages. But once on another page, all the links are lost and there is only a single link back to the home page. That means it takes an extra click to get to another page, if a viewer should bother to do so.
    There is no image count for a gallery or portfolio, before and after entering one. Once in a gallery or portfolio, there are no thumbnails, and no way to skip forward or backward. Designing a gallery this way is like handing someone a book and expecting him to read from cover to cover sequentially, without knowing how many pages and unable to flip forward or backward. Yes, my ego wants everyone to view every image in my gallery sequentially. But that's not typically how a gallery visitor behaves.
     
  16. Fred, the slowness seems mostly due to my slow connection, though the portofolio suffers more from it than the other galleries. Could be the flash animations use a way to preload the next image.
    An idea would be on the portofolio pages to add each next image as a 1-by-1 pixel somewhere, and reference it on the bottom of the page (HTML-wise). This way, the page loads, and starts preloading the next image as a last action - it could speed up the perceived speed for those with lousy connections like mine.
    Today, Opera 11.01 (on Vista x86) gives some strange screenflicker when I go over the entries on the start page - almost like it reloads the entire page just to show the shadow behind/below the text. Again, probably my slow connection, and it's just Opera (not exactly the most used browser on the planet).
    I agree on Roberts points for the navigation. Adding a small "bar" at the bottom with the option to navigate to the galleries and other pages would be added value, I think.
    As for the picture size, you are right in the lower resolution screens, though I am typing this on an notebook with the rather standard 1280*800 resolution, and it is still smallish. For my own site, I use 900 pixels for the widest end, and except for tiny 9"/10.1" netbooks, that works out fine. So, you could go a bit larger maybe.
     
  17. Robert, thanks. I'll check out the luminous link. I appreciate it.
    Right now, I'm appealing to a relatively small, personal audience. If I decide to go more commercial or for a larger audience, some of the things you mention may become important to me. When you're in the book, an extra click to go home and then to another page doesn't seem so troublesome to me. For the book, I prefer a background clear of clutter. On a site this simple and small, I don't think it's as much an issue as if there were a lot of different places to go and things to see.
    The thumbnail issue and particularly the image count in the galleries is something I'll think about a little more. I really don't like thumbnails but I do understand that people might want to know how many photos they're in for (I kept the count purposely small). I do consider the order of the photos part of the presentation. Whether that's ego, I'm not going to speculate.
    Wouter, thanks. What you're experiencing in Opera (the flashing) is very likely a speed thing. On every other system I've viewed it, the book transitions are much faster than the gallery transitions. By the way, I am already pre-loading each page of the book on the previous page. As for the size, it's driving me nuts trying to find the least common denominator and I may eventually change it but I don't think I will now. Most of the laptops I've seen it on (quite a few, actually) already cut off the bottom of all the book pages, so it would be a drag in all those cases for it to be any bigger. Maybe my friends are behind the times in their resolution!
     

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