Website critique

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by michaelsmiller, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Hello!
    I just finished my website this week and it officially went live today. I was hoping to get a website critique from some of you. Thanks
    www.michaelsmillerphotography.com
    Thanks,
    Miller
     
  2. Home page loads fast and looks clean...
    I'm afraid it's mostly downhill from there...
    Things I didn't like:
    • Music
    • Subsequent pages load (very) slowly for me
    On the plus side, before I closed the browser because of the audio and the delay waiting for a gallery to load, the few pages I did see looked pretty clean and easy to navigate.
    One nit: the underscore characters in the photo names look strange.
    Disclosure: I tend to like fast, clean, easy to navigate sites - and dislike overly elaborate ones, especially those with lots of slow-loading Flash-based content - so you will want to weigh my opinion with how those likes/dislikes match with the impression you are trying to make.
     
  3. I think that overall it has a good feel to it. I struggled to find a way to mute or turn off the music (regardless of how I feel about music on Web sites some people do like it) which was a bit of a turn off since I spent a lot of time hunting for that, time that could have been spent looking at your photos.
    You should change the title of your pricing page, investments sounds like you want people to add you to their stock portfolios not their mantlepieces.
    Also when going to your blog it takes everyone out of the experience of your Web site. If you could host it from your own domain or at the very least make it more consistent with the site, that would be great.
     
  4. As an addendum on your "Life" page, when you use a lot of underlines, italics, bold italics, and bold underlined italics, it really draws away from the image of professionalism. You might consider restricting the types of font you use for emphasis (if you absolutely must highlight certain words and phrases) to just one.
     
  5. clean, nice looking, loads too slow, dump the music or in the very least the song, it's depressing, work on post processing, most of your images are over processed, some colors are overdone, and skin tones are off . . . there are some very nice compositions and a few great images, but overall I think the skin tones are off on too many of them. . .
     
  6. Love the feedback guys. I really appreciate it! I am working on the page loading because I was aware it loads a little slow. The music can be turned off on any page, their is an icon in the lower left corner that if you run the mouse over gives you the song information, ability to turn it off, lower the volume, etc.
    Thanks again for the help. Cheers!
     
  7. Michael:

    I can't find any way to turn the music off in Safari on a Mac short of turning the sound down on my computer. No icon to be seen anywhere. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but any site that forces music on me gets dumped immediately. Is it a RF song or did you license the usage rights from somewhere?

    It loads fairly slow for me too and I think the music is a big part of that - unless your image files are larger than they need to be. I too have problems with the colors, they look way off on my color calibrated system.
     
  8. Thanks Mikael. I think that the music icon is really easy to see. It is on the left side of the photos in any slide show, right above my name, so with the exception of this forum, I haven't had any problems with this feature from the 30 people I had beta test the site before I put it live. I really do appreciate the thoughts. It is great to hear different opinions but in the end they are just opinions.
    As far as the loading goes, it seems to load ALOT slower on Safari versus Firefox or IE. I am working on this problem. I am also resizing most of the images so they are 1mb instead of 2mb so maybe that will help correct the problem.
    With due respect to the colors, I haven't heard any complaints from my clients so I am completely okay with the look of the photos. It is good to constructively hear that Tony and yourself find them a little off as far as your calibrations go so that I am more careful of it in the future, but I am completely okay with the look of them and my style.
    Thanks again for all the comments. I really appreciate it and will be hopefully solving some of the site issues really soon.
     
  9. I'll add one more voice against the music. I almost always instantly close a browser window when the music starts. I
    normally have other music playing and it's really irritating to listen to two things playing at the same time.

    Also, anytime I come across a website that is playing music from a major artist I assume it is unlicensed and in spite of
    the 'all rights reserved' verbiage the photographer asserts for his or her own images they don't respect the same right for
    others or are totally clueless about copyright—it's just unprofessional.
     
  10. I am also resizing most of the images so they are 1mb instead of 2mb
    Holy c--p! That's HUGE!
    I generally don't have any problem keeping screen-sized images that I put on the web in the 120-200k range (maybe an occasional max-out at 250k). I can't tell the exact size of you portfolio images, but they seem to be about 800 pixels wide. At that size, you can usually make excellent quality JPEGs at 150k (and often smaller).​
     
  11. Thanks for the tip Geoff! I was just so worried about losing quality within the images that I kept them a little bit bigger. All the images are 72 dpi and max out at 1500x1000 based on the limits of my site. I didn't realize that if I made them smaller they wouldn't lose alot of quality. Thanks for letting me know. It will help me resize alot of the images and make this site move faster!
    Miller
     
  12. Michael, While you're at it, consider changing the resolution to 96 ppi. (dpi is a designation for printing resolution that does not apply to on-screen viewing). Most newer laptop and I would also assume desktop screens are capable of displaying images at a higher resolution.
    Your post-processing program should have a slider to adjust JPG quality settings and many also calculate the image size as you move the slider. An image size in the 150k - 180k at a resolution of 96 will look fine.
     
  13. Niether DPI nor PPI are relevent for web images. You can take the same 1500x1000 image and tag it as 72 ppi, 96 ppi, or
    10,000 ppi and it will look exactly the same: it will take up 1500x1000 pixels or screen real estate.
     
  14. Thanks Bill. I had no idea that it wouldn't affect the quality of the photo. That does make alot of sense now. I use CS3 and it does allow the automatic recalculation of size once you change the ppi.
    That's good to know Mark. I am happy that I can make the images alot smaller and not lose the clarity of the image. Great tips guys!
    I appreciate the help alot.
    Miller
     
  15. Hi Michael, I like the over all look to the site, with the black background and bold accent colors for some of pages. It loads pretty quick and the pictures look good. I have a slight problem with the navigation. On your intro page you have titles below the pictures that led me to assume that if I clicked on that picture I would see "Kiddos" for instance. Many websites that have intros like that lead you to clearly defined, almost seperate sites for weddings or senior portraits, etc. I didn't like that not only was I not led to the "kiddos" I really had to hunt to find them once on the main site. I looked at "beautiful souls" thinking that might be the kids and found adult models. The menu titles are confusing, I thought "love" and "life" would be a portfolio. And then I was confused as to why "beautiful souls" was not listed with the other portfolios. As a customer I don't want to waste any time having to interpret or figure out a website.
    I am not against music on a website but the mellow acoustic songs did not seem to evoke the emotions of the pictures or match the energy of the site, so I did turn it off. BTW, I had no trouble finding the music controls and prefer the kind you used that tells you the name of the song and allows you to skip to the next one.
     
  16. No way to turn off the (wretched) music.
     
  17. I went into sensory overload as soon as I got past the home page. I'm not personally a big fan of Flash websites with things moving all over the place. It distracts from the main purpose of your site, the photography. I looked at the website design itself more than I payed attention to the photography. You might want to consider simplifying things a bit. Less things moving would probably make the site a lot more slick. Not a fan of the music either. I didn't have a problem finding a way to turn it off though as some people stated above.
     

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