SITE REVIEW: DMT Photographics

  • otweb
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Post 3+ Months Ago

LINK TO CURRENT SITE
LINK TO TESTING SITE


I'm new to the forums, although I've been browsing them for quite a while now just absorbing all the amazing information available.

I've been re-developing a website that I built for a friend last year, and am looking for any comments or suggestions to improve it. Also looking for any bugs or errors on various browsers/platforms. I believe all is well in IE 6 as well as FireFox, but I could be wrong.

Both the links to the current site and the revamped version are in my sig below.

A few things to consider for the new version:

Images in the portfolio folders (viewed by selection from combo box) are only temporary. Folders and images are based on asp scripts, so that the photographer can create his own folders, and upload appropriate images. (they are however his real images, I just uploaded a bunch of different size/quality photos for testing purposes) I am trying to figure out the best settings to use, as he has only 50megs of server space, and want's to display as much work as possible.

The "YourPics" page is complete. Simply need aesthetic(sp?) comments. The left side contains links to an online photo ordering site, where some photo sales are done. The right side is a simple news box which will be managed by the photographer.

Wedding page is complete. Simply need aesthetic(sp?) comments or suggestions. Possibly some rewriting of text content, layout changes?

Graphic Design page is currently just a placeholder. Will be very similar to weddings page. Other pages will be created with similar style as well.

Contact page is complete. Email form is working, although tabbing fields is not working for some reason.

Help section is partly functional, but need some serious improvements in both content and layout.


That's everything I think
Please post you comments, good or bad.

Cheers,
Mike
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • ImaLostSoul
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The main concern for your site without looking at detail and all the other stuff is how long it loads....it took probably 20-30 secs to load completely on my cable modem, you would probably want to make it so they can skip the intro so it wont take as long or people will get tired of waiting and just leave....sometimes simpler is better.....

Btw i hope you have your 3 site reviews done as in the rules :)
if you dont hurry and get them done :twisted:
  • otweb
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for the reply!

What do you mean by the load time exactly? On my machine (p2 300) the navigation is loaded in 1-2 seconds, and then the animation begins. You do not have to wait until the intro is complete to view other pages. The links are active once the thumbs appear.

I do realize that the first time it is viewed, it may take slightly longer, however, that is something that the client is able to live with. Most users of the site will be directed there by himself also, so they will likely wait it out.

Some of the portfolio sections (i.e. Nature/Wildlife, Travel, and Cityscapes) definitely take too long to load, but all that will be fixed in final version. I just have to decide on a max number of images for each respective folder, all within certain size restraints.

As for the intro, maybe I should just have it scale in the initial graphic and then have a play intro button to play the rest if wanted?

Oh, and I have completed my 3 reviews. I believe they all contain some useful comments as well. I normally play by the rules :)

Any other comments?
  • darkermoon
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Post 3+ Months Ago

the first time you view any page, it has to load more than the rest of the times, that would be why it took him a while I guess.. but it was very quick for me.
  • ImaLostSoul
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well see i was just watching the middle part, i know the menu part loaded up fairly quick....i just rechecked it and i guess its jsut the first time you load it up it runs a little slow the second time i went it ran fairly fast so i take back what i said earlier :D
  • ausmeister
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Post 3+ Months Ago

First impression... why aren't the categories in the main swf buttons? Would give the user another option, and could get rid of the message over the picture then..

I do like the layout, super simple grey & white, however, I'd say the menu images representing each section need some serious work.

Each photo look better with a defined border around them of some kind, and the aspect ratio needs to be fixed. The little kid's head looks like a lemon! (They all seem to be suffering from this squash effect. in Firefox at least..)

A bit more economy with the side-nav, and users would't have to scroll down (at least on a res of 1024 +).

You need a favicon, meta tags, copyright notice, and some contact details at the bottom of your site.

Have you tested your site on a lower end machine? I'm just thinking that they may not have the processing power to deal with the fade tweens you implemented (nice preloader btw, any chance you could whack in a numerical value too?)

Once in a section, shouldn't the main entrance intro menu icon turn to color to indicate it isn't selected?

Also, there's no implementation of anchor tags in the flash movie, which would allow users to use their browsers back button (those that support fscommands from flash), and is it usable?

Sorry if this seems like a real bitch, just I'm a fan of web standards (doable with flash), accessibility (I do a lot of work for charities that need this, AAA, 508 etc..). I love flash websites, and I'm studying hard at Actionscript, I just feel the site would be better implemented along the lines of istockphoto or something (obviously without the user sign-up part).

And also I have to thank you for checking out my own site, and for the tip about the reset button which I added immediately. A few tweaks in your swf, and your site'll rock!!

Much potential though. 8)
  • otweb
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ausmeister wrote:
First impression... why aren't the categories in the main swf buttons? Would give the user another option, and could get rid of the message over the picture then..


Yes, I was planning on making them buttons. The only reason that I have not yet done so, is that I would like to wait until all pages are created. No point in redoing it twice.

ausmeister wrote:
I do like the layout, super simple grey & white, however, I'd say the menu images representing each section need some serious work.

Each photo look better with a defined border around them of some kind, and the aspect ratio needs to be fixed. The little kid's head looks like a lemon! (They all seem to be suffering from this squash effect. in Firefox at least..)


This has been purposely done, basically to keep the thumbs all the same size. I (and the client) wanted them to fill up the space completely, because with photos of various aspect ratios it looked kind of strange.
I agree though, that some do look odd (especially the "melon" headed child as you put it :lol:) I figure I could do one of 2 things to overcome the squash effect, and still have the entire space filled. I could simply create images with an aspect ratio comparable to the viewable area of the thumbs, or I could maybe enlarge the thumb slightly and just have edges hidden with a mask. You definitely have got me thinking :?


ausmeister wrote:
A bit more economy with the side-nav, and users would't have to scroll down (at least on a res of 1024 +).


What do you mean here exactly? Shrink the total size of the thumbs to allow more to be viewed in the scrollpane at one time? That could be possible, although I would not want to make them too small.

ausmeister wrote:
You need a favicon, meta tags, copyright notice, and some contact details at the bottom of your site.


I sure do. I just read about favicons and it seems pretty simple. Copyright notice will also be added. Contact details? Not sure about that although maybe a link to the contact page? And all the pages for that matter maybe. Just a row of text links to each page would be good I think. As for meta tags, these will be done at the end. The html page is straight from the flash app, so nothing will be done until completion.

ausmeister wrote:
Have you tested your site on a lower end machine? I'm just thinking that they may not have the processing power to deal with the fade tweens you implemented (nice preloader btw, any chance you could whack in a numerical value too?)


I sure have tested it. I'm on a p2 300 with 128megs of ram, and it all seems to run fine. Looks even nicer on fast machines though. The beauty of developing on a 4 year old pc 8)



ausmeister wrote:
Once in a section, shouldn't the main entrance intro menu icon turn to color to indicate it isn't selected?


Well the idea with that was that you would know what pages you have viewed, and what ones you have not. Makes a big difference when looking at images in the portfolio folders.

ausmeister wrote:
Also, there's no implementation of anchor tags in the flash movie, which would allow users to use their browsers back button (those that support fscommands from flash), and is it usable?


I have been thinking about this, but with the structure of the actionscript, component issues, as well as other reasons, it would be a monumental task. Especially since I have never used it in a simple form. This may be something that I will slowly work towards after the site is up and running. I figure that once users learn how to navigate the site, the will be able to get "back" quite easily by actually going forward. (if you know what I mean) That's why I started the help section, and I will improve it and add tips etc...

ausmeister wrote:
Sorry if this seems like a real bitch, just I'm a fan of web standards (doable with flash), accessibility (I do a lot of work for charities that need this, AAA, 508 etc..). I love flash websites, and I'm studying hard at Actionscript, I just feel the site would be better implemented along the lines of istockphoto or something (obviously without the user sign-up part).

And also I have to thank you for checking out my own site, and for the tip about the reset button which I added immediately. A few tweaks in your swf, and your site'll rock!!

Much potential though. 8)


haha, I asked for criticism, and that's what I got! No offence taken by anything, I'm just here to learn, so all's good. I will have to do more research on these "web standards" everyone is always talking about. Don't know much about it :( I've just been teaching myself everything I know - a year ago I couldn't even use the getURL statement!

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions.
Keep 'em coming!

Mike
  • ausmeister
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well, you certainly answered all my questions. Web standards are applicable on every kind of website...

In your case I suggest doing a google on flash accessibility. You can still make your document xhtml compliant, and accommodate screen readers, tab index, access keys etc inside the swf itself. It's a lot easier if you have Flash MX 2004.

Good job on answering my points, for the menu, yes I'd get the aspect ratio of the thumbnails correct (zoom in a little bit), and perhaps reduce their size so you could eliminate that scroll bar (esp if you scaled your movie using the system object class to grab people's screen resolution.

One further point is that quite a lot of the photos look pixelated, like they've been blown up. With a preloader you could perhaps afford to make them a little less heavily compressed...

Keep up the good work, let us all know when your done!
  • soulseek3r
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Post 3+ Months Ago

very nice site but takes a while to load. Don't want that cuz ppl will just leave. Oh...you might wanna avoid using stretched images.
  • Truce
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Honestly, I liked the old site better than the new one. The new one lacks unity. It looks a lot more like an amatuer site; whereas the old one looks more professional. Either way, I would rid off some of the flash for 3 reasons.
3.) It gets annoying believe it or not.
2.) It increases the loading time for some users.
1.) NOT EVERYBODY HAS FLASH OR WANTS IT!

The site needs an introduction so that visitors know what the site is about. Right now I get confused about what you are offering to people. I see you have a section that says your pics which would lead me to believe you do image hosting, but then the samples lead me to believe you take pictures.

Clear this all up with a simple introduction paragraph on your homepage. Nothing too lengthy, just a "Welcome to ....... Here at ...... we. ...... .and ....... Enjoy your visit and be sure to check out the .......!"

Good Luck!
  • joostv
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Post 3+ Months Ago

i like it very much, however i don't like flash that much

but the layout is very modern and stylish

i'm much more into css design

btw your site isn't w3c valid :)
  • manuel2283
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Post 3+ Months Ago

looks clean and easy to access my comment is updating this site will be a bit of pain since you are using flash unless you're pulling images of folders into flash but then people on macs could not view your site.

I know everyone else here noted the site is not going to pull on goggle easily.

But you are showcasing photos so that eliminates the need for heavy copy.

Think about the future with your site and how you will update things dynamically.

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