So what didn't I like? Here's a list!
- Home page - Do you all know the one about how people size you up within 5 seconds of seeing you? Well your website's Home Page is the equivalent of that. This guy just had his name and that was it. Nothing else. No 'click here to enter site'. I sat and looked at it and thought the site hadn't loaded properly. Why is he wasting my time making me look at his name? In the end I decided he just wanted me to do just that - look at his name. "Sad" I thought and clicked it and lo and behold the site opened! "Sad" is not the sort of response you should be trying to achieve.
- Small images - This is an artist who works in oils and appears to be doing a lot of really interesting things with texture and brushwork. "Appears" because his current work is very large and his website images are very small - which means you cannot see aspects of his work which are characteristic of him. His images like they might be interesting. I know a lot of people are really quite nervous about having their art ripped off but here's how I look at it:
- if you want to display your art on your website then display it properly, otherwise what's the point - you may was well stick to galleries;
- if you display your art anywhere on the net (not just your website) then there's always a possibility that it'll get ripped off. The corollary of this is that your paintings may also get damaged or mislaid or lost when in a gallery or your own home - everything you do has a risk! The trick is in managing the risk.
- reduce the chances of rip-off merchants being able to do anything with your images by only posting images with a low dpi (72dpi or less). Images that are 300 dpi (ie print quality) are more likely to generate problems.
- make sure you have a copyright notice on your site for those who are ignorant about such things
- remember that when several prominent artists had their images snaffled by some Chinese websites (there's no copyright law in China), there were also several other artists who were a little upset that their art has not been seen as worth 'snaffling'!
- poor navigation - no 'Next' button - The website appeared to be designed for people with A1 eyesight and the dexterity of people who can always thread a needle with a tiny eye first time. There was no preview page with small thumbnails which enlarged when clicked. Instead it presented images one at a time - so if you want to see all the images you have to click through to the end. To move to the next one you had to press a number rather than a next button - and all the numbers of the images are in a teeny tiny font and they're all really close together. Obviously there was no perceived need to make it easy for people to move to the next image - by having a 'NEXT' icon. My reaction - this type of website design feature alone will make me close down a website and move on - it's just so inconsiderate.
- Exhibitions - tiny type again. No margin at the top of the page which just looks really weird. Still listing as current exhibitions which occurred 3 months ago.
- His CV was missing - he has a section on the website for his CV. This is what it says
The requested URL /cv.html was not found on this server. Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
And here's some of my other pet hates:
- websites which load slowly every time you try them. Change the host! Make sure that your site doesn't have a lot of redundant code.
- over-engineered sites - these are the ones which include every website designer toy going. Bottom line - they distract from the art and only serve as a marketing tool for the website designer (for people who like toys)
- websites which make you scroll sideways - these just get closed down straight away. That said, if you're still on an 800x600 screen I have to tell you 90% of the people who look at my site are on something bigger which is why I widened my Blogger template
- too much on the page - 'busy' pages with lots of different styles and colours give me a real headache - and make me get out of there as soon as possible. I especially hate those which try to introduce all the icons from those that they wish to link with on what would otherwise be a carefully crafted page.
- curly wurly fonts - I'm reading a website not your handwritten journal and nothing will persuade me that there is a place for curly wurly fonts on a website.
- websites which fail to pass the "trunk test" - My friend Louise taught me all about the trunk test and maybe I can persuade her to elaborate as she tells it so much better than me. Bottom line - can you get back to your website's home page from every single one of your website pages - and have you tried?
What do you get irritated by? Let me know your 'pet peeves' by commenting below and then we can all avoid them in our next website redesign!
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