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Stataywhit's Blog

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Gosh. I think I’ve spent more time in front of a computer this week than I have in the past three months. I am getting started on redesigning my portfolio site and researching other portfolios is taking an extraordinary amount of time. The fact of the matter is, I don’t think I’ve seen but a couple of site that have blown me away. (I probably shouldn’t speak so condescending towards the “experts”. But, I’m frankly disappointed.

As a student of web design and a natural perfectionist, I have found a couple of sites that are quite nice in the context of navigation and overall aesthetic. There are as follows:
Jason Santa Maria
Ole Martin Kristiansen
Elliot Jay Stocks

All of these great references were given to me from an even greater two-part screencast from Elliot Jay Stocks:
Part 1: How to Design a Portfolio Website
Part 2: How to Design a Portfolio Website

I have to mention that starting out learning to code, it is quite hard to find well coded websites, for a student doesn’t know right away what is proper coding and what is not. However, watching this two part series, I think you will agree that the information given allows one to respect and trust the websites referenced.

There were many great points Mr. Stocks presented in his talk, including:

the structure of a website paralleling that of a storyline:

1. The Exposition : The Structure of Grid of a webpage
2. Rising Action : “Pleasing Tension” (unusual or unexpected grid/layout)
3. Climax : Stand-out element, like a quote or a screenshot of a portfolio item
4. Falling Action : Balance of Layout
5. Denouement : the Overall Aesthetic

Other important points

1. It is important to link your work to a working site that displays the design you made. “You put in the hard work, now show it off.” This is also important in that it validates you actually worked for the client you said you did.
2. Show featured work on the homepage: give the user at least 3 different types of work: that way you can show the user right off the bat that you do several different areas of design or styles.
3. Think of your website having outer and inner pages: where the outer pages are more general and the inner pages give details
4. Give Case Studies when necessary : this is a thought that I really want to implement in my site. This gives your ideas and inspirations behind the work you did. It shows the user that you do have a brain and can think critically to come up with a great solution. On Ole Martin Kristiansen’s page, however, I believe that he puts too much emphasis on his opinion and doesn’t let the viewer get to their own. He makes it seem that he is a little on the cocky side and unapproachable. However, on Elliot Jay Stocks’ site, he explains very briefly his inspiration and concept behind the designs and leaves the viewer to come to their own opinion of the work, which is the approach I will be using most definitely.
5. Use a grid! This has been instilled in my brain as an advertising/graphic design student from day one. In Mr. Stocks’ presentation he shows how he made his site using grids and sticking to them. The result is clean, with an easy eye-flow.

In Conclusion

It’s a crazy order of things when you start making your very own website, the ideas, the designs, the inspirations seem endless. But, when you start putting pencil to paper, the endless nature of it seems to narrow in and you feel quite limited. It’s great to keep a fresh eye and take many breaks, giving yourself time to relax from the crazy research and preparation this kind of work entails. Then, when you get back in the swing of things, the design will have the same feel of inspiration and endless possibilities.

That’s all for now. The next blog entry will go over typography on the web. Be looking for it!

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