Presenting Photographs on websites - conventional vs. unconventional

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by terry_stedman, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Hello everybody,
    Recently I had a discussion with my girlfriend about webpages. It got me thinking about the way photographs are displayed on the web. I've noticed that the vast majority of webpages for displaying photography (including this one!) use a thumbnail-gallery system. This is what our discussion revolved around: is the thumbnail gallery system the "best" way to publish or display photographs on the web?
    It seems to me that thumbnail galleries are an attempt to take a typical photogallery and stuff it on to the internet. If you are standing in the center of a one room gallery, by simply turning about you can see, from a distance, all of the photos on display; you can then decide which photo interests you the most, and then approach it. From that point, you can either walk along the walls and view each photo in sequencial order, or look back around the room and only go to the ones you find interesting from a distance. You can see how thumbnail galleries follow the same idea - you see miniature versions of all the photos, and can choose which ones to view, or after clicking one, can hit "next."
    That's the system, or close to it, that I would estimate 90% of the photogalleries on the internet use. However, I wonder at the wisdom of simply cramming the physical-space method (that is, the way one views photogalleries in real life) onto the internet, which is by nature a "interactive multimedia experience," to barrow a catchphrase. Since the internet is by nature at least somewhat interactive, why wouldn't photographers take advantage of this to display their art in a way that impresses their "message" onto the audience more effectively?
    My girlfriend is currently involved in a photo project, and has been planning a website to feature her work in the way that she wants it. She and I agree that presentation of the work -any work, not just what she's doing now - is of great importance for delivering the "message." For an analogy, the photos are the vehicle; the presentation is the route. However, as she described how she wanted to set up the page, I realized that it was a styled example of the formulaic approach - it was a thumbnail gallery with various "dressings" to suggest atmosphere and so on. Now, I do not mean to knock on the thumbnail gallery way of doing things, as it is the conventional and respected way to do things, but it seems to me that for all its conventionality, it is limited.
    I find thumbnail galleries limited for a number of reasons. The audience chooses which photo to view based on a small copy of the image. Photographs of great complexity and detail therefore have an inate disadvantage. On the other hand, simple photographs are easy to recognize in a thumbnail, and those with a single large subject attract more attention than may be due. Attempts to link photographs to convey certain things are hampered by the audience's ability to pick and choose what to view. Galleries are often divided into subsections based on superficial differences - color vs. black and white, or instance.
    So, when it became my turn to describe my ideal website, I found myself describing a site with no thumbnails, and what can only be described as a "nonconventional" method of navigation. On the web, the only hamper to how one may wish to present one's photographs is the lack of real physical space - which can be simulated by graphics engines and the like, if one knows how to do that. I decided to use my very limited knowledge of frontpage to produce a proof-of-concept of my theories.
    If you'll take a look here you'll find an older project of my girlfriend's. Its an impressive, slick design, I think, and definately conveys a certain feeling or atmosphere. However, it is limited by the thumbnail system, especially in that there is limited ability of the author to group photographs or draw connections between them. On the other hand, it is simple and easy to use, and puts the entirety of the project in front of the audience to view as they wish.
    Here is the site I built as an experiment. Obviously it has a number of faults, being even less than a work-in-progress (I don't plan on working on it more, as I built it to showcase my ideas on presentation. I don't yet have a portfolio worth seriously displaying, in my opinion). I think many people will be frustrated by it's "maze-like" multi-page design. However, I can definately draw connections between photographs, and the audience has the potential to glimpse into what I see as a photographer and what I feel about my photographs.
    I suppose one could make the argument that my girlfriend's page is audience-friendly, and mine is photographer-friendly: her's lets the audience do what it wants, mine limits the audience's experience of my work to the the way I want them to experience it. On the other hand... hey, it's my work, why shouldn't I control how it's viewed?
    I'd like to know what the community here, which I hold high regard in terms of knowledge and enthusiasm about all things photography, thinks of what I've said here, and about the these two different ways of designing websites - conventional vs. unconventional. Who gets to decide how to experience art? The artist or the audience? Is the conventional thumbnail gallery, after everything else is considered, really the best way to present photographs?
    Also, if you have examples of unconventional photography websites, I'd love to know about them.
    Thanks for your attention after so long a post!
    Terry Stedman
  2. Your approach has merit, as well as certain degree of novelty, but it does have a frustrating edge. I found it easy to wander in circles, arriving back at pictures I had already seen. I also find myself wondering, did I see every picture? Did I miss a few that were perhaps hidden away in places I didn't drag my mouse?

    There's another problem, to which I'll draw back to your art-gallery analogy: rarely do we have time to walk through a sizeable gallery and inspect each piece closely. Often you'll have to skip by some works, trusting that your cursory glance would have revealed enough to ensure your disinterest in the piece.

    The problem then, I would argue, lies in the way we offer the cursory glance on the web. As you said, short of offering oversized thumbnails (a possibility, but unfriendly to dial-up), how do we reveal enough detail to offer viewers a justifyable means of discriminating which pictures are worth viewing? It's more work to create, but I would offer custom thumbnails...for simple subject based photos, a typical thumbnail may be appropriate. But for macro, perhaps the thumbnail should give the viewer a glimpse of the level of detail present in the full-sized image. For a dark and moody picture, an appropriate crop/resize could stand as a solid representation.

    Any system that places the images before the user in linear order can be fairly annoying. We're an impatient lot, us cybersurfers, and often a skim is all time affords us in dealing with larger galleries. The photographer does of course maintain every right to display his or her photos as they please, but do so knowing that viewers have the option to quit the gallery with a click of the mouse should they grow frustrated or bored. Perhaps these viewers aren't worth your bandwidth anyway, but it seems to me that an artist's gallery should be a friendly union between the photographer's vision and the viewer's pleasure, not a contest between the two.
  3. lkv


    This is a very interesting post !
    I agree with you on the conventional thumbnail system. I also dislike it, but have to admit it is practical for the viewer, as well as for the web designer who can use automatic tools as "Gallery" to build and maintain his site.
    There is also one thing I try to avoid when building a site : pop-up windows. I dislike them a lot as a visitor as they break the navigation experience by forcing you to close windows constantly...
    I have seen some portfolios presented as "books", click on the photo and the next one appears. This is practical as you can force the order in wich people will see the photos, but you may loose a lot of impatient visitors...
    I finally use an "middle" solution. I present my portfolios as books, but with thumbnails (of details of each photo) on the side. I am still not perfectly convinced by this solution, and it is quite unpractical to maintain and update.
    I'll be checking out other answers / ideas...
  4. Terry:
    "On the other hand... hey, it's my work, why shouldn't I control how it's viewed?"
    That's true. It is your work. The problem I see is that you may be controlling if it is viewed rather than how.
    One of the benefits of conventions is that people know what to expect. Break conventions, and people no longer know what to expect. If I'm on a dialup connection and find an interesting site, I'll often open up new windows from a thumbnail page. One window per image. I'll then proceed to do something else while the pages load. I can then view everything at once. Neither of the sample websites to which you linked allow me to do this. The more traditional gallery one controlled its display of pictures via a popup. I detest popups, as well as any site that opens new windows for me.
    What I'm saying is that it is alright to present your work in a different manner. Just don't be surprised if doing so alienates your visitors. On the other hand, maybe you'll find a more efficient way of presenting photos, and then everybody will copy that. :)
    Sioux Falls Portrait Photographer
  5. Just keep in mind 2 things when you're presenting your gallery on the web: small monitors and slow dialup connections. A lot of us don't have the latest greatest whiz-bang setup for surfing, and it doesn't matter how nice your design is, if it comes up slow, we won't stay around long to view it. Not to mention many people just don't have the time to leisurely flip through all the images, someone earlier mentioned what an impatient lot we are. Personally I find a simple clean layout with a few thumbnails that come up quickly, each representing a group of images, to be the most attractive. It also depends on the reason for putting up the site, do you want the select few who have a good setup for viewing who will take their time and fully appreciate the images, or are you trying to attract a large number of people to look at them and possibly buy them? If the latter, then think marketing my dear, the ol' 15 second sound bite.
  6. I looked at your experiment and enjoyed it. Using parts of each photograph to lead you to others of the same type is quite novel and fun. I also wondered if I missed anything but with a fast connection it was no problem to explore quickly. I think it helps that you have some interesting work. I can see some of the limitations for people with slow hookups but I like the individual approach that you have taken. It says to me that you are not being a populist. You've put your creativity ahead of the usual desire to have as many people as possible see your work. That in itself is refreshing.
  7. Recently have changed my site from something that was flash-based to something that's been really "dumbed-down" - as in plain point-n-click.

    The flash site had "cropped" thumbs which were little more than reference buttons and all the user had to do was run his mouse over each of them (in no particular order) and the appropriate image would fill the space alongside. Seemed easy enough - that is, until someone on dial-up tried to access the site - W(orld) W(ide)W(ait). And, unfortunately, its appears that this group of users are still in the majority.

    Have now gone for a KISS solution - plain html, little blocky thumbs, no embellishments and that's it.

    Other than getting you there fast and leaving just as quickly, the Internet still appears to be a far from perfect solution when it comes to presenting and viewing photography.

    As for alternative presentation options? There's always a hope that there's something better out there. Invariably there appear to be 2 camps - those that use Flash and those that present using something plainer. Guess it depends on your audience and who you're trying to impress - potential clients, peers or yourself.
  8. Terry - You're onto something, and I think it's worth thinking about.

    That said, I'll get my nay-saying out of the way first:
    Your site violates a few key rules of usability in web design. Though that is surely in part because it's in an experimental and partially-done state, it's worth pointing a couple things out. First and foremost, there's no way out. I can't return to home, or in fact choose anything else without going through the images. To get back to my entry point, I have to hit back too many times, driving me to the menu bar to escape. Second, there's an uncomfortable inability to expect what happens next or how long it would take to get a complete survey. It's not really necessary to expect the next image, but having no sense of how many images are in the gallery probably turns off some visitors if they get caught in the recursive loops (i.e., once more images are repeats than new images).

    This made me think about the parallels and differences between "real life" slide shows and typical web presentations. In a slide show, the audience doesn't really know how many images they'll see, other than usually a rough sense of how much time they'll spend at it. They have no expectation of the next image; it's an unknown. The flow is linear to the audience member, even if it's not designed that way by the photographer. Also, the audience member has no control (short of getting up and leaving). If an image is uninteresting to one viewer, it usually gets as much play as an image that isn't.

    Then there's the online experience. Control is now in the hands of the viewer, or at least the viewer typically wants some of that control. Can I fast-forward through the shot that bores me? Can I linger on the one I like? Can I jump from the image I like to the story of that shot, to more, similar images, to the order page for that particular print, to a feedback form? That's what the online visitor expects to some extent. When you take away that control, it should be in service of something. Here, you attempt to do that in order to allow the images to flow more organically than linearly. It's an interesting effort, and it might succeed if it were fully fleshed out and if there were a way to set visitor expectations. Perhaps working through images, but with thumbnails outside each image of ones that it links to (showing the whole mind map at each step, as it were), or just defining somewhere on the screen what number of images the viewer has seen, or (god forbid, right?) giving an opt-out to a thumbnails page.

    Anyway, I'm rambling a bit, but this is interesting stuff to think about.

  9. Whoa, thanks everyone for the great responses.

    To everyone who was critical of my site: all your criticisms have merit. This is the first website I've built from stratch, and I was more occupied with implementing my idea than making it easy on people to view - it never occured to me that people with smaller monitors might have problems, for instance. As for the question "how to make it better?" I think there have been a lot of great suggestions. If I had the ability, I would implement some kind of "pre-load" feature for the images - in addition to shrinking the overly large ones - to aid people on dail up, and also some kind of map to help people visualize where they are in my little maze, and how to start over again.

    However, I think more fundamental redesigns are needed. When I created that site, I simply took my portfolio from, which is just a bunch of photographs I've taken over the past year, and tried to tie them all together. Obviously, the links are going to be somewhat strained in certain instances. A better approach I think would be to group the images, and give the groupings titles, and keep the links within the group - or, when one has switched between groups, to make it obvious that one has done so.

    A lot of you bring up the excellent point that the internet audience is an impatient one, and attempts to control how they view... anything, really, is likely to end in disinterest. Thats unfortunate but of course true, and every website is a compromise between the author and the audience. However, it's frustrating to think that the only option is conventional one. I think webviewers do want to be surprised and delighted and inspired, and I think conventional methods by definition are incapable of doing that (of course, whats being displayed conventionally can, as great photos are great photos, but the method itself wouldn't garner attention).

    Now, about thumbnails. I really think thumbnails are an imperfect solution. The suggestion that complex/multisubject photos be thumbnailed by cropping it down to one detailed element has merit in that a viewer is less likely to simply skip it, and so is a good way to mitigate the disadvantages of thumbnailing. However, it has its downsides as well - A complex photo rendered simple naturally cuts out a great deal of the merit of the photo. Also, it reinforces the idea that thumbnail galleries are simply about which thumbnail catches the most attention.

    I understand the propnents of the thumbnail gallery system - its comfortable, it has advantages to those with slower connections, and it's immediately familiar to everyone. But I still believe that it strips the photographer of any means of injecting art into the presentation of his art, aside from "dressings" like background images, and so on. I think it's somewhat telling that no one has posted a link to (better) examples of unconventional websites. The thumbnail gallery - or slide shows, which I failed to mention in my original post - has throughly dominated the way photos are presented on the internet. I just don't think that's a good thing.
  10. Terry, it's an interesting approach but I think as a general form of photo
    website the fact that there is no preview of the images, or even a clue as to the
    subject matter might be less than ideal for most people.

    I am not a big fan of the endless grid of thumbnails that I sometimes see but
    thumbnails do have their purpose. What I incorporated on my site was a
    scrolling thumbnail bar that activated a larger size image to appear in the
    center of the frame. As the site was designed in flash, once the entire site
    loads the appearance of new images is instantaneous and the thumbnail
    does not need to be clicked, merely rolling over an image in the thumbnail
    scroll bar makes it appear. Clicking on the bigger image would open
    another window with an even larger version of that image, however you can
    view the entire site without having to open any additional windows. The
    rolling scroll bar is a nod to the way the prints are presented in galleries. and
    is simply a graphic form that is visually consistent with my work as I tend to
    shoot long thin panoramic type images.
  11. It's an interesting approach. It plays a little like a video game.

    If you wanted to present a body of work, and incorporate the whole website as part of the art work, I think it works well.

    However if you want to presnt your work as a photographer, sell prints, sell stock etc. it's not an efficent design. It's difficult to add new images, people won't know you've added new images, and even if they knew there were new images in there somewhere, they'd never be able to find them!

    It's also not a good design if you have a lot of images. If you have 20 or 30, it's OK, but if you had 200 it would be difficult and if you had 1000 it would be virtually impossible.

    The conventional linear gallery with thumbnails may be trite, but it's efficient. It's easy to create, it's easy to find an image, it's easy to add new images and it scales very well to large image collections.

    I like your gallery as an "experience", but it's definately more for artists than photographers - if you can make that distinction!
  12. Concerning Terry Stedman's remark:

    "Also, if you have examples of unconventional photography websites, I'd love to know about them."

    I created a photography website that is unconventional in that it presents the images as interactive components of a three-dimensional structure. See:

    Art Gallery and Pavilion Rendered in 3D-VRML

    While what is displayed in my design is conventional in that it tries to emulate the design of a "brick and mortar" exhibit space that offers both two dimensional images and three dimensional objects for perusal, the space itself can be made part of a virtual environment that users could enter and be represented in via "avatars". This capability suggests the possibility of a group of people visiting the site simultaneously and being able to interact in real-time to discuss the works via a group "chat" connection. The members of the group could even add emphasis to their remarks via "non-verbal" communication which would be supplied by imparting movements and gestures to their avatars.
  13. Terry,

    FWIW I think that it depends on what you are trying to achieve with your website. If you want it to be an art exhibit then the approach which you are adopting is fine but if you have other objectives such as giving people access to (say) a thousand images, or providing a selection of images to browse and maybe buy one of then it is less than ideal for all the reasons extolled above.

    Just my 2C.....
  14. Yea you have a good idea... It had mystery. I liked the "click on what interests you" b
    utton. Maybe it's a little ahead of it's time. By the time high speed is the norm and s
    uch it may be more user friendly. Who knows how long that will be? But by then this i
    dea could be refined. Go for it start a trend in the art community!
    From a marketing stand point it is not a great tool per se. At least if you are trying to c
    onnect with the so called "masses". But in other ways it is iconoclastic and truly c
    reative! Yes it does depend on the purpose of the site. I agree with a lot of the c
    riticisms displayed on this forum but you are onto something. Possibly (for know at l
    east) you could focus on doing a unique art gallery show. Where there were i
    nstallations, sequential displays of images, using other media, and wacky random w
    ays of hanging them on the wall. I've been to a couple in the past. I like the thought of m
    aking art more interactive myself. Just looking at an image in a frame/thumbnail has b
    ecome kind of cliche.

    Now that we are talking about this... What do you guys think about just making your s
    ite a slideshow from the get go? Right when you log on. I'm sure it's been done but... I k
    now little about web design, how complicated would that be to implement?
    I've seen sites that have "Voluntary" slideshows... but what about an involuntary one?
    What ramifications would that have do you suppose? Same dial up trouble or not? W
    ouldn't it be good for the instant gratification impatient types?
    You could just have a contact button, and maybe one link to a page that was a stand s
    till of information. But the rest could just be a revolving portfolio.
    Any thoughts/examples of sites that like this?
  15. Terry writes,"I think it's somewhat telling that no one has posted a link to (better) examples of unconventional websites."

    Perhaps that should tell you something - this type of navigation is not very popular. And being cutting-edge is not always desireable.

    You should go to Vince Flanders' and read the section on "Mystery Meat Navigation". He has 5 pages with examples on this subject there.

    As the Flanders says "Web design is not about art, it's about making money (or disseminating information)." Perhaps if you only care about the "art" of your web site - then you've done a fine job, but if you are really trying to convey information (i.e. your photos) to the viewer, then you want to make things as easy as possible. Flander's quotes someone as saying "If they don't like what they see or they're confused, they go somewhere else." Your job as a web designer is to attract people to your site and then give them something that keeps them there, not something that will drive them away.

    Now I think you could make some improvements to the core idea of your site that would help immensely - simply add some navigation buttons/text to the page to let people have some control over what they see. You can still use the hidden navigation placed in the photos if you like, keeping some of the mystery, but give the viewer some means of control. I think that would help a lot.

    And also heed all the suggestions above to make the site more viewer friendly - keep page sizes small, use basic html and small bits of scripting if you must, no flash, no pop-up windows, small monitor friendly - keep it quick and light.

    I also agree that the pop-up windows on your girlfriends site are the most annoying thing there - if she got rid of those it would be a very nice site.
  16. At any instance a web page is two dimensional and a gallery is three. Designing a web page so that a viewer can feel like in a gallery is beyond my expectation. Instead my objective would be for a photo web page to minmic a photo book or a slide show, and do it well. Yet even that is not simple. Some examples.

    I like the layout on this page: The thumbnails and the expanded image stay on the same small page. However when clicking on a thumbnail, the whole page is reloaded to display the expanded image. It would be nice if the whole page is not reloaded and only the expanded image area is updated. Is this possible?

    I find the way an image is loaded (progressive, checkers) very annoying. I have tried to find a way to fade in/out an image when displaying it (either from clicking a thumbnail, or when running a slide show), much like when projected on a traditional slide projector with fade in. The only ways to do this that I know of involve Flash or Java scripts, etc., which I would avoid. Being able to do this in simple html would make the page accessible to more viewers.This leads to the last but most important criteria for a web site: wide accessibility and viewability.

    Many web designers do not take the different browsers and monitor sizes into consideration, and most never test their pages to see if they work well or at all.
  17. i for one, like the idea. But as presentation its a sales vehicle, I can see what the above commenters are saying. How would you ever know that you saw everything?

    Maybe both forms are needed. Or maybe list of numbers on the bottom of the screen that change color (ie like links do) when you have seen them. Then when they got tired of the presentation, they could just click numbers. This would have to be medium size groupings though. But if you were developing a should work. I definitly could not see 1000 pics being done this way....Id quit half way thru.........and when I came would I know where I left off?
  18. Terry, as I'm sure you know, most photographers and other artists who mount a conventional gallery show agonize about which images will be located in which location relative to the space itself and the other images. This is all about enhancing the relationships between a particular (small) set of images, not an arbitrarily large one.

    With this proviso,I think your method maps well. As others have said, it would not work well for a large number of images. To handle a large number, you would need to divide them into galleries or rooms whose content somehow formed a whole.

    I very much like the experience of clicking on an element of the image, and being taken to a thematically or formally linked image. I think this has great potential. Just don't use it for large collections, or for images that are not related somehow.

    If there are too many clickable objects, it rapidly gets confusing. Have you thought about a simpler aproach, say dividing every image into 4 quadrants, and clicking anywhere in the quadrant will take you to the linked image. That way, you don't need to make zillions of custom imagemaps or whatever you use, and it's easier for the user to remember: always 4 possibilities per image.

    Also, check out, where the author divides the image into halves. Clicking on the left half takes you in one direction, clicking on the right half takes you in the other direction. They are not linked thematically, but there's no reason why they couldn't be.

    If you could include a little map window on the page, say a small box with four quadrants, you could assist the user to remain oriented. For each image, it would show which quadrants had been visited so far. You might also want to offer tools that would allow navigation to other parts of the site without going through all the intervening images.

    The feeling of becoming lost in the site is (to me) very uncomfortable, and after a while I wanted to leave, just to regain my bearings. Also, I didn't like having to search around the image to find the clickable parts. I remember the StorySpace navigator used to have a key you could press that would light up all the links, so you could see them any time you wanted, but didn't have to look at them all the time. Maybe that could be done with a bit of Javascript.

    I don't think your idea has that much to learn from commercial web design. You are not a commercial site in which every click counts. It seems appropriate to try find something more suited to presenting ideas related in this manner.

    I think the great thing about your idea is that it involves the viewer more in the content, rather than situating them as a passive subject. They get to experience the images as made up of elements, and they can be shown subtle thematic correspondences between images.

    Well done. I hope you keep at it. Let me know if you're interested in collaborating on such a project in the future.

    Neil Baylis Photos from Los Angeles.
  19. I said before I wouldn'y work on the site more, but I being a college student and now being summer, I have plenty of time to do such things. So, I've revamped the site a bit. Its still true to my original ideals, but gives the user a sense of where he is, and how to get where he wants, not to mention make it easier to use and view for those with dial up or small monitors. Please check the site again if you have time, here.
    I agree completely with those who say that this manner of website is not conducive to the selling of prints; in that case one would want a simple, organized site that lets the user find what he wants easily, always him to buy it easily, and also gives room for "window shopping." On the other hand, if a photographer wants to sell himself as an artist - that is, convince people to hire him (obviously every "him" in this post could also be a "her") for his artistic ability and vision, then placing "message," however you want to define that, over convention is essential. That's my opinion at least, and being a college student, I'm sure it's idealistic ;)
    Now, I'm not a great web designer either, so that website is what I can cobble together in frontpage, and I can confirm that adding images is nigh impossible. If there was some kind of program that easily inject or remove pages/pictures from the mix, that'd be great, but as it is I'm manually creating each page and all the links.
    Kirk - "Perhaps if you only care about the "art" of your web site - then you've done a fine job, but if you are really trying to convey information (i.e. your photos) to the viewer, then you want to make things as easy as possible." I agree with the rest of your post, and hope you approve of the improvements, but so far as this quote I think you've misunderstood my intentions. The webpage isn't about my photos, as the gallery is good enough for me; I would just link there if I wanted to show them to someone. Its not about selling my images, I don't even have the capability to make reproductions right now. Really, its about presenting a portfolio to viewers, and I think a portfolio is more than the sum of its parts. My intention for this thread and that website are to try to convince people that thumbnail galleries are not ideal for portfolios, and instead they should take advantage of the interactive capabilites of the internet to craft a unique and impressing portfolio. After all, a portfolio isn't about selling photographs, its about selling a photographer.
    Thank you everyone for your criticisms of my site, and the good words too. I hope you enjoy this newly updated version.
  20. Terry wrote, "The webpage isn't about my photos, as the gallery is good enough for me; I would just link there if I wanted to show them to someone. [...] Really, its about presenting a portfolio to viewers, and I think a portfolio is more than the sum of its parts."

    I like the changes you've made. I found it much easier to visit, and I had the ability to jump around instead of trying to figure out were I was, was going, and had been. You've fixed all that now.

    But I think you are making a mistake when you say your web page isn't about the photos - that it is about the portfolio. I think you are missing a big point here. Why would someone want to visit you site unless they are interested in your photo?

    If they just wanted to come and visit and see your "portfolio", then it would not matter what the photos are in it. I suggest that you redo your portfolio with no photos in it, just go ahead and have black or even colored rectangles where the photos currently are. I think it would be rather boring and completely uninteresting, except to the small number of people that may be interested in the puzzle that you have made, what you call your portfolio - the virtual structure of the web site. So after all, I think you may see that it really is about the photos.

    Presentation should not compete with the photos. After all, you are trying to get people to look at the photos, right? Your old design competed with the photos by distracting the viewer with the puzzle/maze you made, the new version does a much better job of complimenting the photos by being more understandable and navigatable. After all, how can I concentrate on the images if I'm being distracted by the maze?

    "After all, a portfolio isn't about selling photographs, its about selling a photographer."

    It depends. Are you trying to sell "work for hire", or are you trying to sell stock images? What is your market? Certainly the "artsy" crowd may like the puzzle, but many others will not.

  21. jbs


    Although I have the silly thumbs on another side of my site for 56k users I always try to be .....J
  22. jbs


    Yes, your right. Less than cable 3mbs does get a little clunky which is why I had to put up the thumbnail galleries. There are a lot of people who still think that 6ookps dsl is fast. For me, if I can't stream video it's too slow. With more and more fiber optics being spred around dsl is getting faster though(1.5mbs). Some cable areas are going to 6mbs which is where it really needs to be to get the full use out of the internet. ....Jay
  23. jbs


  24. I had similar feelings about thumbnails when I started designing my site years ago, so I went with a linear layout so that the viewer would have to look at the images in the order that I layed them out in. Its not ideal, but it is the best solution I have come up with for a simple html designed website. Granted people have to put more time into viewing my site, but I think it is a richer experience and allows a photojournalistic approach to telling a story buy guiding the viewer through a series of images.
  25. jbs


    I only dipped in for a momment to see one of the boat wreckege essays and I love it. I wish you had music but I guess I can supply my own....;)....J
  26. I like the layout on this page: The thumbnails and the expanded image stay on the same small page. However when clicking on a thumbnail, the whole page is reloaded to display the expanded image. It would be nice if the whole page is not reloaded and only the expanded image area is updated. Is this possible? Robert K , jul 26, 2004; 01:24 p.m.
    I like this one too, but agree not reloading the page would be nicer, although it's more of a visual thing not a performance issue as the nav bar of thumbnails is already in your cache. What I'm not sure about is the thumbnails being segments of the photo... sometimes the thumbnail is the better picture and I don't think that's good for the presentation of the work. Here's what I'm currently running (I don't put much effort in as you'll see if you look!) As for the original site this thread is about, I sort of like it, but would need a speedy connection to view more than a couple of clicks (and I'm talking about the revised one). Some thought would need to be put into the pics involved and their relationships.
  27. I too have an adversion to pop-up images. I ended up using a thumb-galley type for my own website . However I have seen some pretty good thumb galleries with a much more pleasurable experience. I will have to seriously look around at some of the others.
    I have never been totally happy with the idea of thumb galleries for the reasons allready stated. I do have some ideas now on how I can improve my own website. Thanks!
    Also, I asked in another thread about the advantage that a square format has in web displays. It seems that normal rectangular and panoramic photos get the shorted. Either the user is forced to use a scroll bar to pan around the image, or the image must be displayed so small that small details get lost. This is another advantage that real-life galleries have over web sites.

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