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Images That Rock

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This is a review of Images That Rock, original comments: Photographer to showcase work and wedding services for hire
Reviewed by: Karen Cardinal
Honestly, you have some excellent photography to show off -- unfortunately your website doesn't do that.
      Instead, there are multiple entry screens for some sections, scattered navigation (or none at all) and radically different looking pages. With the combination of these things, it's hard to focus on your photos.
      I have a few suggestions that I hope can guide you in the right direction. I have also included a couple of images along with the text. I in no way intend to infringe on your copyrights by using your images in these examples. Rather these were only created in order to give you an idea of what you could do with your site.
* Here's a sample of the main entry page
* Here's a sample of a typical internal page
Design Suggestions for your Website
These are some of the basics of creating a usable website. If you can do these things, then you'll have a website visitors will want to stay at and explore. Without these "basics" visitors can become lost and frustrated making it unlikely they'll want to come back.
This (at least for me) is the most important thing to remember when creating a website.
      Choose your background and foreground colors, then stick with them. If you want to switch colors make sure they all work together and the pages look like they belong together. Sometimes it's helpful to take a screen shot of each page and look at them side by side in your graphics editor.
      In these examples I merely reversed the black and whites, but left the red text the same. - Be consistant with your fonts as well.
Find a font that you really love and make that your accent font.
      As long as it looks good in small and large sizes, you can use it for your logo, navigation, page titles, etc. If you are using a font that isn't considered a standard browser font, you should create gifs of any text you want in that font. I've never met anyone who downloaded a font just to see a site.
      Pick one standard font to use for the text on all your pages. You can make the font larger or smaller, bold or italic, create headers, lists and all other kinds of goodies with it, but DO NOT have half a dozen different fonts all on the same page.
Here's the trick to keeping consitant pages... Create a template Once you have decided on the look you want, create a page without any content in the body of the page. Name this page "template.html". Now each time you want to create a new page simply paste your page content into the body of your template and save it using a new name.
Build Identity
Create a logo. It doesn't have to be anything fancy (it could simply be your name written in an interesting font and layed out in a unique way). You want your visitors to be able to see that image and think of your website/product (and visa versa).
Peak their interest
Make your homepage grab the visitor's attention. combine your photo's into a collage and/or write some BREIF descriptions for your site sections that will hook someone. Be creative and make your visitors want to explore the rest of your site. -Remembering the #1 rule... Be consitant... there are a couple things that all your site's pages need to have in order to keep your visitors from getting lost.
Make navigation easy
Put navigation links on every page.
      The two most common places to put navigation links are across the top of the page (beside the logo) or down the left side (under the logo). If you make sure that there is a link to all the main sections of your site on every page and that the links are easy to see, easily identifiable as links and are always in the same place, your visitors will stick around much longer.
Have obvious page titles
Let your visitors know where they are on your site at all times.
      The easiest way to do this is with page titles. Make sure though that the page titles on all your pages are the same font and the same size, so your visitors will be able to recognize them as titles.
Just remember to have patience and have fun and you'll be creating a great site before you know it.
Reviewer Karen Cardinal is owner of Cardinal Art
Be sure to see Robert Lattery's review of this same web site!
Editor Notes:
I'd like to make a quick comment: If you'll take another look at that internal page -- and squint slightly, you'll see one rule you should be aware.
      Always be careful using red-on-black. The sight-impaired, may see only "that" and ".com" and miss the "images" and "rock" altogether. Notice also how stark the white type is. White on black will always advance on the reader where the red on black will always recede. I think in this case the red is okay because of its large size in the layout. However, I would tone down that white, perhaps to a 30 to 40% gray.

Posted: 03/05/2003

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