I have been working on a website design for a client who runs a construction business out of Los Gatos. They just needed a real simple to navigate, easily accessible site to showcase some of their work and access their contact info. Basically, in this world and this time, you just need a website if you run a business, because somebody’s going to ask to see it.
Originally the site design was very monotone, using the image of a blueprint that I scanned as the background and footer. The client requested I bump up the color a bit more, and gave me a few samples of sites he liked, so I played around with the idea of it being a work bench for a background and put in a variety of construction elements to frame the page. I do actually like it much more, so am glad he suggested the change.
In an ideal world, the photography they provided me would have been a slightly higher calibre, but I did try to do the best with what I got. It was interesting seeing their take on what qualified as a “good” picture. Initially they gave me a handful of printed photos to then scan in and “enhance,” which again, I did my best. But after some review of the photos, their critiques fell more on the subject matter of the images (did it show the detail of their millwork, or the custom tile of the marble bath?) and nothing at all to do with the quality of the photo itself. For some reason this sounds like it should be a big duh, as the subject matter should be the point of the photo, but I’ve been pretty well trained to accept stylized (artistic?) images as truth, and therefore find photos that are lacking in photographic aesthetic (ie, poorly composed or lit) to distract me from their documentary purpose. These guys didn’t have that filter, and were interested solely in capturing the art of their work, not the art of documenting it. <tirade> I guess I have to say that I appreciate it when photography plays a valuable role in marketing, and is not just lowered to a basic tool of communication.</tirade>
With these photos, I created my first portfolio page layout, but it was kind of sloppy trying to fit all the photos from each project into a series. I realized after getting to project C that this layout was going to cause problems with the trigger and target slideshow option, as you would have to scroll down to click the next image, and scroll back up to view it. It helped also that they decided to cut a number of the images from each project, making it only about 1-2 images from each, and to split their work into two camps: residential and commercial. This gave me the opportunity to create two pages of images, and instead of a trigger and target arrangement, I just created a slideshow with minimal captions and prev-next buttons. The slideshow also moves along without prompt, so you can casual view the images in an automated sequence. This made the site more compact, eliminating the need to scroll.
Other than that, I played with a few font options and layouts, but didn’t stray too far from my initial 3 page website plan. It does feel good to knock a project off your to-do list though.