Friday, January 23, 2015

An Effective Site in Need of an Update
Last week we looked at a recently updated website.  This week I'm going to talk about a site that needs a refresh.

I was drawn to investigate this site after seeing a review of Beth Moon's book, Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, which features stunning photographs of tree, some of them thousands of years old.

The site has simple, consistent navigation.  The black background is very effective for showcasing the artist's work, which consists of (mostly) black and white photographs.  The front page shows a nice sampling of her work, with links to several of her books.

So what's wrong with this site?  Both the images and the text are small.  It doesn't take advantage of the large display sizes most people are using today.  Moreover, when the site is scaled down to display on a smaller device, like a smart phone, the images and text are really, really small.

Finally, the portfolio pages require the user to click a Continue button to see successive images.  There no way to see an overview of all the photos.  It's not a terrible interface, but it could be nicer.  In comparison, see the portfolio pages on, which we discussed last week.

Having said all this, I will add that is a classic, clean website that does a good job of showing off the artist's amazing photographs.  It's a little dated as a website, but well worth a visit.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Refreshing a Website without a Redesign
Ceramic artist Lee Middleman was generally happy with his site, although it was looking just a bit dated.

The solution, rather than a complete redesign, was to revamp the site. The designers updated the color palette, going from a brown background to grey. The typefaces were also replaced with more contemporary choices. The site was made responsive to take advantage of larger displays, and also display correctly on small mobile devices.

The biggest change occurred behind the scenes: the old, proprietary content management system was replaced with WordPress, making it easier for Lee to update the site.