Portfolio Website Redesign (part deux)

dave bailey's picture

So I posted a short time ago about my decision to redo my portfolio, I have since scrapped that idea and gone über simple. How does everyone feel about a scrolling format like this?

http://dsinelab.net/dave/new/index.html

david h's picture

what is real-world-work (part, all)

dave bailey's picture

I was wondering if I should seperate it, most are school projects. This is not all the samples just a number of placeholders to get a feel for how the site would navigate.

pattyfab's picture

You'll never get web-design work based on that... I'd try to at least make the navigation/header look elegant. I think a web site (or business card, resume, tear sheet) is a designer's face out into the world and really if you do something that looks totally generic and expect the work to "speak for itself", you run the risk of nobody going past a first glance.

david h's picture

couple of things about your artwork (if that's ok with you :) ) --

Jarhead is too abstract; and let's say something that is good for independent film festival, sundance, and alike. but not Hollywood. see the movies by Spielberg; he likes - images, and not any actor(s)

capote is too dark, grey; if you like that digital style -- and really nice idea with the gun -- try to change the background, so you can SEE the gun.

•Prakash Nair's picture

you gotta separate that stuff. Perhaps tabs at the top? To show you like doing web-based design, use an interactive flash menu with an HTML album. And you need a self identity. Right now, its bland and grey and dull. There is no personality.

dave bailey's picture

Patty: Thanks, but I'm not trying to get web design work. I'm just putting a portfolio out there as a way to preview some of my work, because every Joe has a website now-a-days. Plus when you're a designer most people want to have a look at your work and ask for your website, just trying to get prepared for graduation. In fact web design is the last of of my preferences for design work. How come everyone thinks I'm looking to do web?

David: Thanks for the comments but the posters are pretty much done, our assignment was to abstract the idea of 2 movies into illustrations, trying to stay away from any of the typical face shots and scene from movie + actors' names. I may go back and tweak them later on but it was only a 2 week project in the scheme of things.

Prakish: Agree, I will seperate it once I figure out what I want to do. As I responded to Patty, my desire is for print work and NOT web design. I don't really want to work for myself when I get out of school, I tried doing something with a personal identity about a month ago and everyone just told me to scrap that and go simple with just my work. Weird.

Anywho, just trying to get a general consensous. I'm not looking to get web design jobs or be a web developer and I'm not looking to create something that would be any sort of start up company, just FYI.

Paul Cutler's picture

It's just daunting to have work stacked upon itself like this. Use thumbnails, or have some navigation. Don't just dump all your work on a page, people are not going to have the patience to scroll down forever.

I'm a pure print man too, good for you, web design is something I cannot relate to, but you need to present yourself a little better than this…

Best of Luck!

peace

dave bailey's picture

Paul: Exactly my point, I've taught myself a decent amount of hand coding for web design and taken a Macromedia Flash specific class but it all seems so foreign to me. This is why it's taking me so long to figure this out. :-/ I know the header is drab, I figured the stacking of the work woudl be a little daunting but wanted to see your opinions. I'll try to figure out the nav and header for the next revision. Ugh I just wanted to get this done and biz cards printed for TypeCon, I figure I'll be meeting a lot of people and I'm graduating next year so any sort of help I can get as far as a job goes would be amazing. Thanks again for your honesty everyone.

•Prakash Nair's picture

best of luck.

dtw's picture

Hi David: just as an aside, you've got a typo there in "Rollys Royce"!

_____________________________________
Ever since I chose to block pop-ups, my toaster's stopped working.

Addison Hall's picture

David,

I agree that you could incorporate more of an individual style, but it shouldn't overpower your work -- that's the focus. And I wouldn't worry about creating tabs and separating the types of work unless you can place at least 5 samples within each category. If you're only going to show 5 to 10 samples, I think the scrolling works just fine. I read somehwere (I'd have to find the actual article) that users would much prefer to scroll than deal with something that's overly complicated -- even art directors. The technology should always be appropriate to the content...

If your objective was to show a few samples of your work, you've done just fine. But do work on the styling a little.

-Addison

Paul Cutler's picture

I'm an AD and I disagree. A little nav is what you expect on the web and I don't like scrolling really, except for text. I think it should be simple but incorporate a little web savvy.

But that's just me…

peace

Addison Hall's picture

I respect your opinion, Paul -- truth be told, everyone is different.

But, my perspective is that if David's goal is to create a quick overview of his best work (not his web knowledge), then he's accomplished that. Even the busiest person can take in his work in one screen without clicking through any superfluous navigation where they may or may not see something.

pattyfab's picture

I'm a print designer too, but it doesn't matter, if you're a designer you need to put your best foot forward if you want people to give you a second look. If you can't/don't want to really design your web site perhaps you can barter with one of your web design classmates - you do their business card, they design you a simple but elegant nav. Nothing too fancy, no flash. Agree with Paul on the scrolling - you lose people that way. Maybe that's a matter of taste (see Addison).

My brother is a web wiz and his advice to me is that people like to feel in control when they are on a web site. That means making the navigation as clear as possible so they know where they are in the site and how to access the main menu without getting lost, and give them the tools to navigate their OWN way thru the site. One way to do this is small thumbnails they can click on or roll over to see larger images.

I looked at so many resumes etc when I was an AD and if the initial presentation didn't grab me I tossed them. Same goes with web sites, I want to see your design sense right up front. Why waste that opportunity even if web design isn't your bag?

Addison Hall's picture

This is good stuff...

I work in print and web, and I must admit that I'm a bit tainted by a few usability books when it comes to web design.

Patty, your brother is absolutely right, but one could argue that scrolling is a form of navigation -- it's built right into the browser! I'm not trying to imply that a thumnail nav would hurt the site, but with so few pieces, I don't think it's necessary.

As long as he polishes the presentation and posts his best projects, I think this setup could work very well. In fact, I would think that his work is his presentation.

BTW -- I don't mean to suggest that I'm against making this a little fancier, but somehow I'm compelled to argue the other side. This is really interesting to me for some reason...

timd's picture

I'm with Addison, 5 to 10 knockout samples in a scroll are far more effective than tabs or thumbnails (I should admit here that I am one of the people that advised David to go simple), however, I would include the facility to e-mail.
For a designer who knows they want to work in print, I would far rather see a few quality images than be impressed (more often not) by their web expertise, maybe you need to make it clear that that is your intention David.
Tim

timd's picture

…and thumbnail navigation is one of the most annoying methods of showing work.
Tim

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'm with Patty. When a book is about design, I judge it by its cover. Worse still, as a designer, I often flat out judge sites by there design. The content has to be super intriguing for me to stick around.

dave bailey's picture

Thanks again! I know there's a difference of opinions on the nav but I really do hate thumbnails, agreeing with tim's previous opinion here. When I was on my co-op at RCA I consulted the two ADs there, showing them the scrolling method, and they both agreed it was much more straight forward. In fact one of them said it should be as simple as possible because any sort of fancy/flashy/complicated nav just puts him off, closing the page, if he's looking at print work online.

What I do want to do is make an elegant header at least with only the necessary info, a link to my resume and an email address.

The other dilemna is I'd like to put some personal work in there so my friends can see what I'm doing. This might call for more than one section. I will definitely include an email address, besides the one in my Resume, that's a given!

pattyfab's picture

There will always be differences of opinion but in my humble one, the minimum you should do is design your header better - more elegant and clean. It does your work a disservice as is.

That said - I will reiterate that IMHO you are wasting an opportunity here to showcase your design abilities. Why bring your work to a meeting in a brown paper bag when you could put it in a nice portfolio case? It's the same thing.

The work, no matter how good, does NOT speak for itself if the presentation is crappy.

And even tho you are not a web designer you will find that clients are increasingly wanting a web presence as part of their identity. You can always hire out for the programming but you shouldn't absolutely rule out doing basic web design as part of your skill set.

dave bailey's picture

Patty: I appreciate the input, I'm by no means as experienced as most people here. Having only 2 years of design under my belt it's a long road ahead. Interesting point though about the scrolling, when your page is scrolling as well...only horizontal, which I find to be less intuitive on the web than vertical. I understand we read (most of us) from left to right but the WWW is built in a vertical scrolling format. Opinions! :-D

pattyfab's picture

I actually did not design my own web site - the reasoning behind the horizontal scroll was to mimic the look of paging through a book. One of these days I'm going to redesign it because I don't like having frames or that scroll bar along the middle. I'm sure there's a way to hide that - have seen it done more elegantly - but the person who did the site didn't know how.

I do get a lot of positive feedback on it tho.

I'm sorry if I sounded harsh above, but I really can't emphasize enough how important your initial presentation is. Art directors are inundated with portfolios and you really need to catch someone's eye right off the bat if you want them to look closer. And your web presence needs to be an extension of your design identity.

timd's picture

There is obviously differences but I see David's site as an extension of the older style of portfolio, window mounted, dove grey board, all done precisely and with the minimum of fuss beyond the work. Maybe the header is the sticking point, in the comparison I have made it would be the letter to a prospective employer, introducing yourself and inviting them to glance at some work before meeting them, I realise this is a bit prosaic and not entirely a true comparison.
Tim

pattyfab's picture

I agree. No need for flash animation, etc. but when I saw sloppily mounted portfolios with bad typography it diminished the work. Same goes here. If David wants to go simple that's fine but make it look nice. And carry the graphics through to the business card, resume, and tear sheet.

Addison Hall's picture

100% agree -- good points.

aluminum's picture

"if you do something that looks totally generic and expect the work to 'speak for itself'"

I'd say the complete opposite. I don't care about the box your boards are in. I want to see your boards.

Same goes for web sites. I don't want to have to turn off my speakers to look at your site. I don't want to wait for Flash to load to look at your site. I don't want to have to guess at mystery meat navigation to navigate your site. I don't want your site assuming it's OK to resize my browser. (All of the above seem par-for-the-course for design-firm and architecture firm web sites.)

So, all that said, I think simpler is definitely the way to go for a portfolio. Let me easily see the work without a lot of guessing and clicking.

The only suggestions I have for your site are:

- give me an HTML version as an option for your resume
- consider some more descriptive text for each project (if it's interesting/applicable).

Looks good!

"To show you like doing web-based design, use an interactive flash menu"

That just means you like making superfluous flash animations. Which, maybe you do, but don't confuse 'flash bells and whistles' = 'good web design' ;o)

"Agree with Paul on the scrolling - you lose people that way."

I think that's an old wive's tale. While that may have been true in 1999, more recent user testing studies have shown that people are just fine with the concept of scrolling online.

dave bailey's picture

New header uploaded. I think the way I'm gonna solve this is split it into three sections with about 5 images in each but no thumbnails. The personal section may have more though as I like to be able to show people what I'm doing when I'm not working or designing for school. I really would like this script I drew of my name to be the 'Identity' and hopefully it would be memorable enough to use on this here website, my biz card and tear sheet.

vinceconnare's picture

I redid some of my site and flash is fine except for IE Windows which now stops active content for automajically working, you have to click to activate. You can work around this but I figure let them click or use firefox or a mac.

I used some guys Flash gallery thing for the images since it was already written and works fine. So why reinvent the wheel.

www.connare.com

pattyfab's picture

Dave,

Huge improvement! You have created a header that showcases your strengths and personality without being either too flashy or too forgettable. It's also expandable if you want to add another section down the road, you haven't boxed yourself in. The only thing I'd encourage you to do is to have a link at the bottom of each scroll/section that lets you jump right back to the top.

And if your script is going to be your header, use it on the rest of your materials, be consistent with the fonts, and you're there.

This debate has definitely brought out some differing opinions re presentation!

dave bailey's picture

Yes, I was planning on a little 'Top' link below each piece. It's pretty rought being a student here sometimes but I need lots of criticism to really understand where I'm at sometimes. I shall post the website when it's done! I've got a big smile on now, thanks Patty!

pattyfab's picture

I also think you need a "contact" link somewhere. And I'd do the resume in html with a downloadable pdf option (I think this was already suggested).

Erik Fleischer's picture

A few random thoughts:

  • Flash is over-hyped and should be used sparingly, when it adds meaningful functionality to a site. I don't think your site would benefit from Flash at all. On the contrary.
  • On the thumbnails vs. plain scroll issue, I don't see anything wrong with scrolling. Much more straightforward than thumbnails. Just because scrolling uses the most basic browser functionality, it doesn't mean it's bad. You don't need a cannon to kill an ant.
  • Perhaps you could change the whole feel of your page/site simply by using another background colour. Black might make it more elegant, but then you'd have to work on some sort of a light frame for the images with dark edges. Maybe some kind of dark silver would be even better.
  • Another extremely simple measure that could make the page less "boring" (for those who need to see the work presented in a luxurious box with plenty of padding as opposed to a plain paper bag, which would be just fine for me) is to not centre everything. As it is, everything is centred, even the structure of the header, and I think that's probably what's boring some people even if they think it's something else.
  • Use CSS throughout to style your site/pages. Much more flexible and powerful, not to mention current.
  • Test your page on both Internet Explorer and Mozilla-based browsers (especially Firefox). If it only works on IE, you'll piss some people off real bad.
dave bailey's picture

Thanks, Erik. Solid advice. I hope to have this working by sometime next week.

dave bailey's picture

I've uploaded much progress to: http://www.dsinelab.net/dave/index.html

Still need to add 'Top' links and actually figure out what content I want on there. Also the PDF/link to it is missing on the bottom of the resume.

I'm going to register my own domain as well, some options are:

davebailey.us
davebaileydesignsfor.us
dbdf.us
davedesigns.us
davedesigns.org

dave bailey's picture

Bumpdidy bump!

pattyfab's picture

I think Erik might be confused, tho, and think that the "boring" comments refer to the redesign. For clarification, Erik, David had posted an earlier version with generic looking type on the header. He has since redesigned it and it looks great.

David, I don't think I'd put the resume on the home page, tho. Maybe just the photo and quote. Or some images to wow them right off.

Erik Fleischer's picture

Erik might be confused

Very possible. I first saw a site similar to the one I just saw again by following the link http://www.dsinelab.net/dave/index.html. Then a day or two later I followed a link that might have been different and landed on a page with thumbnails etc, more along the lines of what was suggested by the people who were against a simple scrolling page. Now I just saw the scrolling page again.

Anyhow, my comment about how a "fully-centred" layout may be a bit boring still stands. Mind you, I didn't say I personally found it boring, but believe a more dynamic look can be achieved when everything's not centred. Of course then you have the problem of finding another way to align elements so as to maintain some kind of unity.

dave bailey's picture

Any thoughts on the URLs I mentioned? (been without internet for a day, so I finally trugged over to the labs to check this)

Should I have a page for the resume, all by itself? (Trying to get this wrapped up and buisness cards made before I head home to TypeCon on Wed!)

Erik Fleischer's picture

I don't think you need your CV formatted as a web page -- a PDF is probably a better idea. But besides the link to the PDF way down at the bottom of the page, I would also put a link in the top menu. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for interested parties to get a hold of your CV.

pattyfab's picture

I disagree - I think you should have a page for the resume. The About link should be to the resume. I just wouldn't have it be your home page.

dave bailey's picture

Update, things are pretty final, except now I have to figure out content. Please crit the Resumé too please. :-D I've registered davebailey.us but haven't set it up yet, here's the link for now: www.dsinelab.net/dave/index.html

Dav's picture

About the domain names, out of these, I would choose 'davebailey*us'. It may be the most common, but easier to remember, as well.

Dav

dave bailey's picture

Yup, that's what I registered! My thoughts exactly, Dav.

Dav's picture

Yea, I once had 'davidhubner*com' as one of my domains, but I forgot to renew it and then some dubious / shady company 'catched' / reregistered it and they now use it for advertising purposes. Lame & lousy little losers.

So, my advice for today: Never forget to renew that domain. :)
( Ooh, And, I wish you success, and fun, with your new 'name' on the net, of course. )

Dav

timd's picture

In the resumé, I don't know the American convention but I would put the work experience in the opposite order (latest first and others in chronological order). Your on-screen cv has uppercase for RCA RECORDS, wheras the pdf has upper and lower case. I would move the subheads closer to their paragraph using the indent as the eye-catcher both seems excessive. Again this might be against local convention but it might be good to include some personal hobbies and interests (as long as you can discuss them with a potential employer).
– Use fi and fl ligatures,
– You use a hyphen in the awards line and an en-dash for anticipated graduation
– Kern the brackets into the dates a bit
– The course work indent seems a bit wide
– Change basic office work to office duties; and answering the phone and greeting and seating clients to client liaison and remove the wide spaces in that line

Best of luck with the job hunting
Tim

dave bailey's picture

Thanks, Dav. I have auto renew on my domain every two years for now.

Tim, I'll definitely make those changes, although your hyphen vs. en-dash suggestion was already in place. At least that's the case with the image, still need to check the PDF. I just needed to get it together and then figure out the necessary tweaks. This format is what was suggested by my professor that runs our 'Professional Practice' course which is all about resumés and job hunting etc.

aluminum's picture

"I don’t think you need your CV formatted as a web page — a PDF is probably a better idea."

PDFs are great for people hiring you that only care about the layout.
DOC files are great for people hring you that need to get the resume into their HR system.
HTML files are great for those of use that just want to see your information without having to deal with downloading a separate file.

In otherwords, giving people the option of file formats is likely a good thing.

I'd make the RESUME link go to an HTML page, on which you'd include links for both the PDF and DOC versions.

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