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Website design choices

Screenshot of website: jamesmorris.info

I’ve bookmarked websites of photographers that I’ve found interesting throughout my OCA studies. I tried to clear my head of my own preferences for website layouts by spending an afternoon browsing through my book marked websites. However, in the end I still came back to my preference for clean minimal portfolio sites where images can be the main focus for the viewer. I feel that the more intricately designed sites can work well to show case and complement a specific work; for my purposes they would tend to be microsites, housed on a simple platform like Adobe Portfolio. For my portfolio site however, I am drawn to the flexibility of WordPress.org with its themes, plugins and widgets.

A couple of design considerations seem important to me. Firstly, the placement of the website header. Traditionally, they are at the ‘head’ and contain signposts to allow navigation around the site. However, for an image focused site I think they are more effective placed down one side so they are not always in sight, standing over the photos. Another consideration is the availability of tools to display images as slides or in some kind of carousel. Manually scrolling down a page of images generally feels like a second rate experience. Grids seem a popular approach but I can find myself distracted by this type of layout, not being able to see the wood for the trees.

Examples of a few websites I looked at were:

Laura El Tantawy – I enjoy for project specific sites but find the portfolio site design overwhelms the photography

Tod Hideo – I’m an admirer of the images but find the relentless use of grids and lack of signposting confusing. It is perhaps intended to be this way.

Stephen Shore – neat and minimal, giving the impression that the photographs are what’s important.

James Morris – feels like a contemporary design on the same principles as Stephen Shore’s and includes an effective side-menu rather than top menu.

Mark Power – I like the clarity of the website but again find the extensive use of grids overwhelming.

Published inP4: research & preparation

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