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#254540 - 03/30/09 06:38 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: BrenR]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10672
Loc: Central NH
Which is which?
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#317987 - 08/08/10 08:59 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10672
Loc: Central NH
Well, after a year, I've finally gotten around to the new website: here . It's not "live" yet, so I'd like to get as many people to check it out as possible in case there are issues that pop us with certain browsers (for example). So, if you have a minute, check it out and let me know what works or doesn't work for you.

A couple of things that I still need to change are that I want to make the first page "About us", and I need to get rid of the "read more" on all the pages except the "About us" page!

Thanks for your input....and yes, I already know Peter won't like the music! smile


Edited by MarkSJohnson (08/08/10 09:00 PM)
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#317994 - 08/08/10 09:50 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11056
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
It's looking nice. I didn't have any problems... except with it being "prominant" instead of "prominent."

Too bad you don't live here. I'm going to need someone to take decent photos of my home theater if I ever get it looking good. Of course, being the photographer you are, you'd probably make it look good even if it wasn't very good.
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#318006 - 08/08/10 10:43 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16222
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Mark, the following are my opinions and my opinions alone. Here's my feedback.
  • I love your photos and think you have a fantastic business that deserves a great site.
  • Music that auto-plays when the website loads usually bugs me. On the plus side, the pause button is easy to find here.
  • Websites that require Adobe Flash (or any third-party plugins) are on the way out. More and more people are accessing the web from their phones (and iPads). Most of these cannot view Flash content. If you're designing for the future this should be a big consideration.
  • The swooshing and zooming of the photos gets old quickly, as does the click noise when selecting categories from the bottom menu.
  • The windows that pop up on the About Us page when you click a Read more link are way too small.
  • Google and other search engines cannot index a Flash website. This is all a search engine will see:
    Quote:
    <!--meta--><meta name="keywords" content="photography, commercial, portrait, video, production, duplication, conversion, conversions, portrait, portraits, business, CD, DVD, videotape, Concord, NH, New Hampshire, product photography, concert"><meta name="author" content="Mark S. Johnson"><!--/meta-->

    Can't see a website?
    Not a problem! Just download free Flash player from Adobe website and enjoy.

    The website is also available in a non-flash light version here: light version of website.

    Also you can check our news and contact information.
  • I tried clicking on the light version link and it didn't work. I assume that will be in place before launch. It should not be an afterthought. Make sure it has all the content as the Flash site does for the benefit of search engine indexing and those who don't wish to use Flash.

I do have a thing against most Flash-based websites (if you couldn't tell...). Rarely do their interfaces not feel like an obstacle between me and the content. To temper this criticism, please remember that the majority of internet users aren't anal geeks who once considered a web design career and still keep up with web technology and design blogs like me. I don't think most people (of which some could be prospective clients) would agree with my opinions.

But there you are.
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#318011 - 08/08/10 11:52 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: pmbuko]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 6959
Loc: Canada
I agree with Peter for the most part.

From a marketing perspective, a page should load quickly and get to the point quickly. The overall design is clean and that is very good.

If you are going to have the site take a bit of time loading, I would rather see it load larger samples of your work rather than flash.

One of my most favourite ads ever was the VW Beetle (the old one) ad that Ogelvie Mather did back in the late 60s or early 70s. The only things on the page were the caption 'Volkswagen, the peoples car' and a small picture of the beatle. It was black and white and there was mostly white space.

The point was simple. This is a car for the common folk. Its small and inexpensive. The ad sold a lot of Beatles and won a lot of awards.
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#318020 - 08/09/10 03:09 AM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
SatKartr Offline
aficionado

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 608
Loc: Dallas
I like the content but there were some slow page loads even with a normal desktop/normal DSL setup, so I think Peter's comments deserve lots of consideration, if I had an iPhone (much less the Curve 8330 that I actually do have) the content would have been largely inaccessible.

Tonight I was accessing via Chrome which should be speedier, unless there are Flash issues with Chrome (can't recall)?

To me it would be better if the main pages would load more quickly, and maybe for select pages to be available with high visual resolution for those so inclined but not "in the way" of the main info, so to speak.

Just my nonexpert/naive impression; good effort, good luck with the business.
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#318024 - 08/09/10 06:56 AM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3269
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Is the music how Beethoven's 5th sounds in your square room? Geez. Now I understand! smile

Good work. May be a little too empty in the middle, but it might be the current fad (we pay a VP of marketting to come up with our web-content stuff so we can ignore it!).
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#318051 - 08/09/10 02:31 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: EFalardeau]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10672
Loc: Central NH
Sorry for the delay in responding here. I've been doing stuff for the site for 4 days pretty much at the exclusion of everything else...and that caught up to me this morning!

Originally Posted By: Charles
except with it being "prominant" instead of "prominent."

Thanks, Charles! Actually, I don't really like that word in there at all, except I'm afraid that if I just list "Musicians" or "bands" or something, people will just assume it's photos of a local high school band or something.


Originally Posted By: Peter
Here's my feedback.

Peter...seriously....thank you for taking the time to provide such extensive feedback! You mentioned that you don't like music on a site... may I ask why? Is it that the music may not be your "style", that it might come up loud in an office setting, or something else? I ask because other feedback I've gotten has been positive re: the music...

I have to be honest, I have absolutely no idea as to how this site will play on an iPhone or such. When I bought the template a year ago, it was a bit less of an issue. OTOH, my business is not likely something that will be "found" by someone walking the street.... much as a restaurant might. Maybe I'm naive here, but my gut feeling is that 98% of my clientele, in my area, would likely be visiting the site from a home or office PC. Also, FWIW, I don't expect the site to actually generate traffic to my business from "cold searchers". I've been in a prominent location for 20 years and have always driven a van with my logo...etc. I truly think that most people that are visiting the site have already heard of us or been told of us by a friend or such....i.e., they already know about us and are specifically searching the company name and location.

Regarding the swooshing and zooming, I've been getting lots of feedback that people love it. I guess I could see it getting old if someone spent a lot of time on the site, but I don't really expect that.

The pop-up windows on the "read more" stuff ARE too small by default. I only discovered this morning that the window size can be increased, so that helps a bit...even though it's not likely to be obvious to everyone!

I can't say I'm familiar with the way Google, et al indexes sites, but I was under the impression that it was much less of an issue than it used to be, as Google made changes due to the increasing number of Flash sites(?)

I haven't done ANYTHING with a lite version of the site, and haven't even seen that option until you posted the dead link. Is this something that normally gets enabled via the site host?


Originally Posted By: Fred
If you are going to have the site take a bit of time loading, I would rather see it load larger samples of your work rather than flash.


It seemed to me that the load times were acceptable, but I went back this morning and discovered that the "background image" of three of the four tabs were running around 900k each. I re-compressed them down to about 150k each, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference. Yesterday, I went through all the images and got most of the photographs, previously at 200~300k each, down to 50~70k each. Truthfully, I can't say it made any difference to the loading speed of the pages that I could detect.

This is where my ignorance comes into play: Are the "slow loading" times due to Flash itself, or is it still the content?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm going to try to find someone who can change the default first page and remove the "read more" from the bottoms of all the pages OTHER than the "about us". These items don't seem "editable" via the text file or the administrative panel that came with the template.

Please don't think I'm dismissive of the critiques that I asked for; I value the opinions of all. But it seems to me that for each time someone tells me that they don't like something, one or two others say they love it! I'm getting the impression...probably not surprisingly... that one website will not make everyone happy. But I do know that this website is WAY better than my existing, out-of date one, so I'm still a happy camper! smile
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#318054 - 08/09/10 03:36 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: MarkSJohnson]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6555
Loc: It's all about the location.
Mark, my understanding of computers and setting up websites is virtually nil compared to yourself and some of the guys here. However, fwiw, you could give the user the option of turning the music off if they wish and reg slow loading times...instead of a black or dark background, maybe you could have something to distract the user from watching the "loading" times, maybe have an interesting shot you've taken, covering the whole background of the screen(landscape, castle, stormy sky ect)(black and white pic might look cool!)
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#318062 - 08/09/10 04:42 PM Re: Any Freelance web designers out there? [Re: Adrian]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10672
Loc: Central NH
Adrian, believe me, I don' no nuthin' 'bout this stuff!

The basic structure of the site was purchased as a template....basically, I just add the text, photos, video etc... to make it my own. I don't really have control over that level of changes unless I hire someone to re-build the "structure" of the template.

The music can be turned off or changed via a little control in the bottom left.
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