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Lingon
10-20-2013, 11:39 AM
So I've began working on a website this weekend… figured it might be useful if I want clients to come to me, rather than the other way around :D I've mostly finished the design for the front page, which I was thinking of using as a template for the rest. I'm working in iWeb right now, but I'm very much considering getting something else, as even if you find the skillfully hidden personalization options, it's a very limiting app…
58558

By the way, if anyone has experiences with other site-building apps (that runs on Macs, and preferably free :P), I'd love to hear about them :)

Larb
10-20-2013, 01:20 PM
If I was using my site for anything important what I'd do (and have done before) is just install wordpress and tweak the graphics/CSS slightly. WP is free and easy to use and install so you could always try that.

At the moment though my site is just basic HTML so I don't have to worry about keeping it updated.

Midgardsormr
10-20-2013, 02:00 PM
I'd set the page background to match the green of the borders, center it, and keep the central column white.

Here's what it looks like on my screen (full HD):
58560

Fully agree with the Wordpress suggestion. You can run it off of Wordpress' site, or you can install it server-side on your own webhost fairly easily.

It does take some time to figure out the CSS, though, if you want to customize your own theme. There may be some low-cost WYSIWYG editors out there that would help, but I always do all of my design in a text editor (in spite of having a license for Dreamweaver). Not that my web design is particularly good. Or adequate, even. But at least it keeps people from trying to hire me to design their websites when they see mine!

Korash
10-21-2013, 09:46 PM
I would agree with Mid on the background thing...been a while since I did any webbing (and that in HTML without CSS), but you should have the background such that it fills the window, no matter what the window size. Also try to have the border graphics tile-able top/bottom wise. It would make for a smoother browsing experience.

Beyond that wee bit of "advice", looking good as a start. :)

Lingon
10-22-2013, 03:32 AM
Thanks for the feedback! The picture I posted is not a real preview of the site, it's a screenshot of what it looks like in the editor ;) Though I am actually having some problems with the width of the site. A friend of mine recommended Freeway Express, and I'm playing around in a demo and really liking it so far, but I still have to find a way to make the site fill the browser window. Freeway requires a license after the demo month has passed, but it's not too expensive, and I think it might be worth it if I just can figure out all its features.

I'm surprised by the Wordpress suggestions, I thought that was about as basic as these programs get? Like, you get to choose background color? I'll look into it though, thanks for the idea!

Midgardsormr
10-22-2013, 12:43 PM
Wordpress is primarily a blogging tool, but it's pretty flexible and has become the standard in content management systems (CMS) because you don't need any technical knowledge or special software to keep it updated. Every page type it generates is completely customizable, and there are even plug-ins to give it things like animated galleries. It's more limited if you're running off of Wordpress.com, but a local install can be quite snazzy. For example, this is a Wordpress site: Visual Effects - Eden FX Los Angeles (http://edenfx.com)

TimPaul
10-22-2013, 12:48 PM
So, what's the end use of the website? Is it meant to be a professional portfolio of map work, to get work, or just for your own use, a place to showcase your work?

Gamerprinter
10-22-2013, 01:22 PM
I'd set the page background to match the green of the borders, center it, and keep the central column white.

Here's what it looks like on my screen (full HD):
58560

Fully agree with the Wordpress suggestion. You can run it off of Wordpress' site, or you can install it server-side on your own webhost fairly easily.

It does take some time to figure out the CSS, though, if you want to customize your own theme. There may be some low-cost WYSIWYG editors out there that would help, but I always do all of my design in a text editor (in spite of having a license for Dreamweaver). Not that my web design is particularly good. Or adequate, even. But at least it keeps people from trying to hire me to design their websites when they see mine!

While I haven't tried it yet, Xara Designer Pro 9 (http://stats.xaraonline.com/ID.859297/product.MX10090/redirectid.DesignerHome/affiliate.html), the application I use for all my maps has web design features built in as well. I can create java drop down buttons/mouse-overs, navbars with DHTML menus, creates CSS3/HTML5 compliant sites, supports third party widgets (G+, Facebook, Youtube, Paypal, EBay etc.), export to .MOBI and other phone formats, font embedding, optimized export, flash animations, GIF animations, popups and slideshows, custom photo gallery creation, Retina resolution for IOS/Android devices, image maps, hexidecimal RGB color selector, and full page background control. You can directly link Xara templates to Dreamweaver so they can work hand-in-hand. Magix, the company that owns Xara offers free web hosting (for 1 site) and really cheap ($2.00/month) hosting and domain registration included with the purchase of the software. It even has a cool automatic button graphic stretcher - if you type in a long button text, the button stretches in side-to-side proportions, automatically.

I've used older versions of Xara to create buttons and web graphics, but not actual HTML/CSS export as I can do now. Basically I can design an entire, feature-rich, multi-page website and never leave Xara, nor require a separate web page editor (even though it works well with Dreamweaver.)

Lingon
10-25-2013, 04:02 AM
@Midgardsormr
Wow, that looks really good! Prejudice crushed :D I might give locally installed Wordpress a try then!

@TimPaul
The first, definitely. That's why I'm really picky about how the result looks. And then I stupidly made up my mind on how it's gonna look before finding out about the limitations of wysiwyg-editors…

@Gamerprinter
That seems like a really impressive program… unfortunately it's not for mac and costs far more that I'm able to spend. I'd sure love to get it sometime in the future though.


So I'm still fiddling with Freeway Express, and almost everything turns out exactly like I want it – except it's missing one crucial function. It can't make the page auto-size itself to the viewer's browser window. I've been looking at the support forums and there are several people asking about the same thing, but it's not an option in that app. So I'm starting over again. My brother is sorta into coding, so I'm trying to bribe him into building the site in HTML for me… but I have no idea how long that's gonna take (he's more into Dota 2 than coding), so this weekend I'll probably by a domain and try to install Wordpress and maybe Modx and Joomla (two more friend recommendations) and see if I can build what I want with any of those.

Does anyone have opinions on the layout of the page or the design of the elements, by the way? Is it even something I should pursue?

TimPaul
10-27-2013, 01:44 PM
@TimPaul
The first, definitely. That's why I'm really picky about how the result looks. And then I stupidly made up my mind on how it's gonna look before finding out about the limitations of wysiwyg-editors…


As a professional illustrator, who also teaches about the business side of freelancing, it's best to have a functional, presentable site, than a fancy bells and whistles. You don't really need more than a page, showing your best 8-12 maps examples. You might want to have more, like a blog section. But you should only put up what you are actually ready to put up. With a website you can always add more when you are ready.

The site is simply a means to show your work. Focus on that. The longer you take to get your site up and working, the longer you are waiting to get work.

Personally, I use wordpress. timpaulillustrations.com (http://www.timpaulillustrations.com) for illustration work, and timpaulmaps.com (http://www.timpaulmaps.com) for map work.

Lingon
10-27-2013, 05:04 PM
Thanks for the comment, TimPaul. That first bit of your post makes me wonder… is the page I posted fancy bells and whistles? Because I totally agree with you, I want something very clean. Maybe I should limit it to three pages: a portfolio/home page, a contact page, and a blog to show that I'm active. I'm also leaning towards abandoning the idea of sidebar maps, because of how complex it is to make it work like I want; I've painted a couple of smaller segments in the same style to put in the top corners instead, which might even look better.

I can't say I'm waiting to get work, though. It's more important for me to have a great looking site than to get it up quickly. If I don't put effort into my site, visitors can't be sure I'll be putting effort into my work. First impression is important :)

TimPaul
10-27-2013, 05:37 PM
Thanks for the comment, TimPaul. That first bit of your post makes me wonder… is the page I posted fancy bells and whistles? Because I totally agree with you, I want something very clean. Maybe I should limit it to three pages: a portfolio/home page, a contact page, and a blog to show that I'm active. I'm also leaning towards abandoning the idea of sidebar maps, because of how complex it is to make it work like I want; I've painted a couple of smaller segments in the same style to put in the top corners instead, which might even look better.

I can't say I'm waiting to get work, though. It's more important for me to have a great looking site than to get it up quickly. If I don't put effort into my site, visitors can't be sure I'll be putting effort into my work. First impression is important :)

That's what I mean by bells and whistles. You are trying to have a great looking website, over a presentable website. Are you a website designer, or a map maker? You want people coming to look at your site because of the awesome maps on the site, not because the site is awesome looking. Yes, the site does have to look good. But there are far more acceptable good looking websites, over Awesome looking websites.

Besides, you can always change your website when you come up with something awesome.

Lingon
11-09-2013, 04:41 PM
Well, it's up :)
Thanks again for the feedback!
http://www.lingonberrymaps.com (http://www.lingonberrymaps.com/Lingonberry_Maps/Portfolio.html)

Psylence
11-09-2013, 06:10 PM
I've done a couple websites myself. Here's how I feel about it.

Pros: Nice. Clean. Presentable.

Cons: You pull people away from the interactiveness of your site.

Specifics: It's an awesome start, and has a good, clean look. While that might not necessarily 'pop', you're letting your work do the talking and that would be what I would expect from someone's portfolio site. I don't like how you handle the pictures within your portfolio and your Blog is a bit distracting as well. I, personally, would try to limit the amount of changing someone has to do.
Portfolio: Your portfolio and main page seem to be the same place... until you click on one of the images and then it redirects you to a different place which also has a little option to go back at the bottom and.... ya lost me. Not literally, it's pretty straight forward, but with a site this clean I want it immaculately clean. Personally I would take a direct approach. They click on the image, it expands the image right there in the same window. Next picture? Oh there's a little arrow on the right side, and a little list of the slides at the bottom. All you have to do is click off the pictures and it puts you right back on the main page - I believe Blogger is set up this way(or I've seen some people that have it set up that way).
Blog: If you're going to include a blog I(personally) would make the most recent a full article(or at the very least a longer cut-off on the amount of words before it hits the read more) and the rest shorter/more compact.

That's my 2 copper, but I must say - nice site! I like what you've got started there.

Lingon
11-10-2013, 05:27 PM
Thanks for the praise and criticism, Psylence! I'm glad you like the look of the site :) About the portfolio, yeah, I know it's not optimal… The thing is, I decided to build the site in Iweb after all, because it seemed like the only simple, not ultra-expensive app that would let me build what I wanted. Then I found out that the gallery in Iweb can't display pictures in full size, and for some reason Iweb doesn't generate an index.html file for the site, so I can't use any of the gallery apps that I've found. So building the portfolio this way was the best I could come up with :/ Do you think it would become easier to navigate with arrows instead of thumbnails next to the picture?

The blog, sure, I can show a few more lines of text. I'll mostly be putting pictures there, I don't really plan to blog about anything, just show my latest work that doesn't need a place in the portfolio, so I figured the text should take minimum space. But maybe I should let the whole post be visible for that very reason – there won't be much text anyway, so forcing the visitor to click on the post to read the few words that were cut out is silly. Thanks for making me aware!

Psylence
11-10-2013, 08:17 PM
I don't think arrows would be a good addition unless it was both arrows and thumbnails. This is mostly because you want people to see the thumbs - it's a great way for people to quickly go through and pick out perspectives/images they want a better look at.

arsheesh
11-28-2013, 03:40 PM
Well I have to say, as someone who is just now trying to get my own wordpress blog up and running (and feeling completely lost) that I'm quite impressed with your clean attractive layout). Much more professional than my out of the box first efforts

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
11-28-2013, 06:54 PM
I've had countless blogs (I'm a main factor in the "blogjam" on the internet) ;) and none of them looked this good. If you implement the suggestions given I think you will have a real winner on your hands. Great Job :)