Monday, 1 October 2012

Shepherdpics gets a new look

There comes a time when you seem to be sinking into a morass of things you need to do, things you promised to do, things you have to do and these seem to stop you from doing the things you want to do. These things are sent to try us but don’t worry things can only get better (did you see what I did there).

I recently hit a moment like this, lots of things to do and so little time to do it. It was time to rationalise!

Less fussy home page

One of the big jobs I had hanging over me was to redesign my website. I haven’t touched or updated my website for over a year as I knew the whole design needed modernising. Since I created my site things in the web world have changed dramatically.

At the time I created it I would really only have to worry that it looked OK in Internet Explorer on a desktop machine with no problems. There were a few Mac and Firefox users out there but they were easy enough to deal with. Since then the world has changed a lot: Gone are the days when you could have a fair idea what sort of platform your site was to be viewed on. Now phones, tablets, PCs, macs access the site, each with different screen sizes, browsers and javascript support.

500px style gallery page

User expectations have changed: Homepages used to act as a shop window for the site with “a little bit of everything” being the rule, now minimal designs are much more in favour. Static pages used to be Ok but now we expect all sorts of animations and rollover effects. On the development side: XHTML has pretty much died a death and HTML has risen from the grave to become new all-singing-all-dancing HTML5, the hero of flash-haters everywhere. Javascript has gone from a few lines here and there to giant libraries of code that make development cross platform fast and agile.

Magic wall style galleries
 So it became clear that I needed to not only update the content of the site but the structure and design needed to be updated too. Looking at the work involved the whole thing became quite a daunting task.

First I would need to learn HTML5 & jQuery. Then I would have to look around to see what extensions I could use to make things wizzy and learn how to use them. I would then have to design the site, build it & make sure it works in loads of different browsers on lots of different devices. Finally I would have to write a Lightroom web gallery to generate the galleries.

Clean App style interface on smartphones.

Whilst none of these are particularly onerous tasks in themselves they add up to a fair bit of work and in the longer term a fair bit of stuff to maintain and keep up to date. In the end I decided that I really didn’t need to invest that sort of time on updating my site. So it was time to outsource the job. I spent a while trying out various providers of photo websites (which I will detail in another post) before settling on PhotoDeck.

I am rather happy with the resulting site, but please let me know what you think of the new layout.

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