Hello Folks, and welcome to the brand new look for JdP. Five months in the making, it has been both a joy and a right pain to redevelop but I am really happy with the way it has turned out. Why you ask? Well…
I was really happy when I relaunched my website back in July 2010, it had been a complete overhaul of my previous web presence, which I spoke about here. But over time things about the site began to bug me. One of the main bugbears was how dominant the Blog had become on my site. A Blog is very important in today’s online world but I realised I had gone a little too far with it’s visibility and it was the dominate presence on my Home Page. The other item was that as I was building the Blog I had thrown all the bells, whistles and plug-ins I could find at it. It had become really really
bloated cumbersome busy and this was taking away from it’s core purpose i.e. display my photography.
So my brief was all about cleaning this up, getting back to a simple clean interface that enhances my images rather then crowding them. I needed to do this while keeping all the functionality that was used today by the visitors to my site (like you). Google Analytics was invaluable here as it helped me get a clear understanding of what visitors used and more importantly what they didn’t use.
So whats the Big Deal?
ok ok hold your horses! So given the goal was about allowing my images to take centre stage I set about completely redeveloping my Home Page. Upon entry you are greeted now with a much cleaner menu and some subtle social links which are present throughout the site. I offer a brief introduction to myself here also. Next, a great big Slideshow showing some of my recent work. For this I returned to SlideShowPro & SlideShowPro Director, which I have used on previous websites. While this is Flash based it falls back very gracefully to a fullscreen HTML Slideshow on devices that do not support flash such as the iPad and iPhone. If you do have flash you can click on the centre of the Slideshow and are treated to a fullscreen hi-rez display, and you can just sit back and enjoy. I might be a little bit biased here but I think this looks beautiful.
Beneath this Slideshow I have links to my various Galleries & Collections. Again, with the aim of keeping everything very clean, I employed a SlideShowPro product again, this time ThumbsGrid as a way to display multiple thumbnails in a small area with very intuitive mouse led transitions. And beneath that I tried to offer all the pertinent information a visitor might need when visiting the site i.e. contact details, some important links and a search box that covers both the blog and galleries. Next up is an animated slider detailing recent blog posts (see, I told you I was de-emphasising the blog on my front page). The footer finishes things off and contains some additional social links, a tag cloud and the obligatory copyright notice, which are all present throughout the site.
All in all I hope the Home Page now provides a clean crisp and spacious environment for visitors to enjoy my images, as well as containing all the most pertinent information.
Again the brief was the same here, give my images the room they deserve. So gone is the sidebar and many of the plug-ins I had on the previous post page. The images are now super-sized with Landscape being 950px wide and Portrait being 750px high. Everything else is built around the image. I’ve used columns to separate various pieces of information such as my commentary and the technical information I share with each image.
Related Posts are still there but now display as thumbnails to offer you more information before you click. I’ve also hidden the comments and reactions behind a drop down, again with the aim of keeping a sense of space with no clutter.
Archive, Search Pages, etc
Same thread here, minimise clutter. Each page now displays just four records, all displayed in a line. Each record provides an image, the title, an excerpt and some relevant data. See, simple!
Wow, these saw some major work. First and foremost was some pretty significant changes to the way the galleries are structured. I have now added a new Gallery called The Sea. I have also reorganised The Sun and The Land galleries to accommodate this new addition. I have also created two new Gallery Collections, Colour which presents galleries based on the dominant colour(s) in an image, and Location which presents galleries based on… you guessed it… the location the image was captured in. Like so many of the changes these were prompted based on direct feedback from visitors and customers over the last year.
The actual galleries themselves saw significant design and layout changes to meet the design brief. Every single page from the Gallery Collection to the Image Display to the Client area all received a facelift to make sure the look and feel was carried through my entire site.
I would consider this revision as more of an iterative change to my site rather then a complete overhaul like last July, a re-envisioning if you like. However that is not to underplay the amount of work involved. I have taken the original WordPress theme used on my original website and paired it back to it’s minimum and then rebuilt it. Between PHP, HTML & CSS I have written over 850 lines of code. That was a very sobering discovery when I went and added it all up as I am not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination. For everything I wanted to do I needed to go and research it, play around, get it working but then discover I broke something else and then figure out what went on. Hence why it has taken my 5 months! Is there work to still do? You betcha but I am happy to launch today and tweak the remaining pieces as I go.
So without further meandering on my part I give you the re-envisioned John Dunne Photography – cleaner, simpler and with my Images at the forefront of every page.
Some updated Blog Post Examples
Not all the posts have been updated to the new layout but below are ones that have. I will be updating the rest of them over time.
Portrait Image Examples
Reflections of Ancient Walls – Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland
The Dew Covered Flower
A Line of Crocuses
Dawn at Ballintoy Harbour – Co. Antrim, Ireland
One from the Archives | Tear Drop
A Waterfall in Autumn – Co. Antrim, Ireland
Dewdrops on Grass