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Old 11-12-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
randyriver10
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Suggestions for my portfolio


Apologies if this belongs in open instead of programming, but I've been working very hard on my new web development portfolio, I was hoping to get some input on what to do next, what to change or if it's fine the way it is.

http://www.evanparsons.net

All constructive criticism welcome, I'm by no means a designer, it's the function and layout I'm mostly worried about.

Thanks guys
 
Old 11-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #2
unSpawn
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Don't start from what you have but what you want out of it

If the goal is to showcase your work and get potential customers to contact you then that should be KA-BLAMMM!!! smack in the face of anyone visiting. Anything else is a distraction:
- have one and only one purpose and make it clear on each and every page.
- Want to conduct business? Make it easy for potential customers.
- Know your audience. Know what they like to see and how they like to read about it.
- Make your site stand out: standard products and templates everybody uses don't convey "uniqueness".
 
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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Your blog should be the front page. It demonstrates your ability far more strongly than your current frontpage does.

Last edited by dugan; 11-13-2012 at 03:07 PM.
 
Old 11-13-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
markush
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Well, at first sight I found the colors too dark. For me a website (like anything else) which is very dark, doesn't look welcoming.

Markus
 
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
randyriver10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unSpawn View Post
If the goal is to showcase your work and get potential customers to contact you then that should be KA-BLAMMM!!! smack in the face of anyone visiting. Anything else is a distraction:
- have one and only one purpose and make it clear on each and every page.
- Want to conduct business? Make it easy for potential customers.
- Know your audience. Know what they like to see and how they like to read about it.
- Make your site stand out: standard products and templates everybody uses don't convey "uniqueness".
- have one and only one purpose and make it clear on each and every page.

On what pages is there confusion and what can I do about it?

- Want to conduct business? Make it easy for potential customers.
Okay so should I put my contact info on every page in the footer maybe?

- Make your site stand out: standard products and templates everybody uses don't convey "uniqueness".
Any more potential tips? The design should be a one of one design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Your blog should be the front page. It demonstrates your ability far more strongly than your current frontpage does.
I have the blog posts on the front page on the right side. I was told by the company I did my internship with that a front page should contain a snippet of everything on the website. Maybe I should move the blogs above the updates then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markush View Post
Well, at first sight I found the colors too dark. For me a website (like anything else) which is very dark, doesn't look welcoming.

Markus
I've gotten that from a few people, I might do something about this. Is there a color scheme that I could use that would be a little easier on the eyes?

Thanks guys!
 
Old 11-14-2012, 11:34 AM   #6
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyriver10 View Post
I have the blog posts on the front page on the right side. I was told by the company I did my internship with that a front page should contain a snippet of everything on the website. Maybe I should move the blogs above the updates then?
No. Your blog should be the front page, and your current front page should become your "about me" page.

And rename the "acquired programming languages" header in your "skillset" section. All the "acquired" does is shout loudly that you have no formal training in them.

Last edited by dugan; 11-14-2012 at 12:13 PM.
 
Old 11-14-2012, 12:15 PM   #7
sycamorex
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I agree with some of the comments above. There are too many slightly unrelated things on the front page having similar "weight", which makes it hard to communicate your message. Personally, I don't agree with the idea of placing the blog on the front page. If you want to attract customers, you need something that will catch their attention on the first page. The blog posts are rather technical (== boring for non-developers) and potential customers will not really make much of them. On the other hand, people who understand and appreciate your skills showed in blog posts (ie. other developers) are unlikely to need your services.

I'd get rid of the preview of Updates and Blog posts and write in "human language" what you can do for me (your potential customer).
 
Old 11-14-2012, 12:21 PM   #8
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
Personally, I don't agree with the idea of placing the blog on the front page. If you want to attract customers, you need something that will catch their attention on the first page. The blog posts are rather technical (== boring for non-developers) and potential customers will not really make much of them. On the other hand, people who understand and appreciate your skills showed in blog posts (ie. other developers) are unlikely to need your services.
If he's aiming at a nontechnical or management audience, then it's especially important to get a less hideous visual design.

Using an existing one would be fine, since the point is to be readable and not to be a graphics design portfolio.

Last edited by dugan; 11-14-2012 at 12:23 PM.
 
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:24 PM   #9
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
If he's aiming at a nontechnical or management audience, then it's especially important to get a less hideous design.
Yes, that's for sure. Something much lighter in colour and the layout that is simpler and not so packed with information.
 
Old 11-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #10
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
On the other hand, people who understand and appreciate your skills showed in blog posts (ie. other developers) are unlikely to need your services.
This is certainly not true. A web development firm needing to add another developer isn't uncommon at all.
 
Old 11-14-2012, 12:48 PM   #11
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
This is certainly not true. A web development firm needing to add another developer isn't uncommon at all.
True. I was thinking more of individual clients wanting a website. Still, development companies are likely to know where to click to access the blog and/or be competent to quickly assess whether a person is worth the effort.
 
Old 11-14-2012, 01:48 PM   #12
unSpawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyriver10 View Post
- have one and only one purpose and make it clear on each and every page.
On what pages is there confusion and what can I do about it?
Details are nice but you have to get your concept right first. So let's find out what you want to achieve:
- Who is this web site for? (Your dad, fellow artists, small agencies?)
- If you know who this web site is for then what do you want from them? (Show who's the best, act as cutting edge resource, as reference showcasing your jobs, leads?)
- If you know what you want out of it (pick only one!), then what should it show?


While you're doing that here's some exercises:
- Get a new newspaper and a weekly (Book store, Library). Look at it for 3 seconds then look away. Which was the single most important item they carried? What use of which elements made that clear?
- Open these three web sites in tabs: http://www.chesterco.ca/bios.html, http://www.extremegroup.com/, http://www.denote.ca/. Don't click links, don't scroll, just look at each front page for 3 seconds then close it. Was there a message they tried to get across? Which web site did you find appealing? Which one is likely to have the most creative talents below age 25? Which one would you associate with well-established global brands?
- Visit http://www.healthteamnovascotia.ca/, http://www.molsoncanadian.ca and http://www.scotiabank.com. For each (and don't use search) count how many clicks it takes to find a job opening. If it takes more than one click think out loud why.
 
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:03 PM   #13
sundialsvcs
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Okay, I've looked at your page for 10 seconds and I'm going to respond exactly as I would if I stumbled upon it. If you need to strap on your asbestos bunny-suit, please do so now. But I would also politely say that "this is business," and none of the unvarnished, visceral reactions that I am about to tell you are "to be taken personally." These are how decisions are made: in 10 seconds.

Bottom Line: "Sale?" No.

Why? Read on. In no particular order.

(1) This web page is about you. "I don't give a fsck about 'you.'" I'm your prospect: I give a fsck about me. The first thing that I see should therefore be connecting to me, and furthermore it should be doing it in a context that makes your product-or-service instantly irresistible ... in terms of that connection. In other words, in terms of me, not you.

(2) Don't say "hi" to me. This is business. I want to make gobs of money. I want my first glance to persuade me that you're going to be the one to help me get some gobs.

(3) "If I am interested in your work?" What the fsck do you think I'm here for? (G'bye!)

(4) I don't give a damm about your other clients ... or that you obviously don't have any clients since you're building that car-site for yourself.

(5) Hmm... last paragraph says you've written some how-to's. My first pique of interest. Get rid of all the garbage and give me one hot-link, not to "your blog," but to the top five articles. Get rid of all of that blah-blah-blah and put in five hotlinks.

(6) Why do I give a damm about your updates, or your recent blog posts? You have five seconds of my time. Sell to me. Earn the next fifty-five seconds.

(7) Why would I possibly be interested in your "favorite technologies?" Like I want to know my general contractor's favorite brand of wrench or hammer?

(8) Every single one of your blog-posts are self absorbed and self self self ... and you tell me that you were born (as it were) on 2012-10-09 23:52:00. G'bye!!

---
Take a moment to re-position your asbestos bunny suit. (Or if you prefer, take your ego and scram.) Then, let's continue.

Go thee now and buy a copy of The Little Red Book on Selling. (Gold comes in small nuggets between red covers.) This is the real business that you propose to be in; WordPress and all the technology blah-blah is entirely secondary because in a scant two years that technology will all be gone anyway. Business, however, hasn't changed much in many centuries.

It frankly doesn't matter much that you're reasonably adept (so you say...) on WordPress or even Linux or what have you. There's an ocean behind your ears when it comes to business. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of people out there in the world right now, all of whom "know WordPress" and all of whom are equally within my reach. You certainly can overcome that sales-objection ... there are tens of thousands of general contractors; hundreds in my city; one that I've used over and over for twenty years. All equally-adept with wrenches and hammers, so wrenches and hammers must not be the reason why I picked one and keep doing so.

You've got to sell. If you learn absolutely no other skill, if you want to call yourself a "freelance anything-at-all," you must learn how to sell.
 
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:11 PM   #14
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
(7) Why would I possibly be interested in your "favorite technologies?" Like I want to know my general contractor's favorite brand of wrench or hammer?
I can think of some reasons why a business owner or CTO might possibly be interested:
  • the business already has hosting worked out, and that hosting only supports certain technologies
  • the business is hiring someone to continue work that has already been started
  • the application to be written is an addition to an information system that's been written using one technology
  • the business is a web development firm that specializes in one technology

You're assuming that every freelance web development job is greenfield, and while no-one wants to believe that more than the freelancers themselves, it's just not the case.

Last edited by dugan; 11-14-2012 at 05:54 PM.
 
Old 11-15-2012, 11:10 AM   #15
randyriver10
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Originally Posted by dugan View Post
If he's aiming at a nontechnical or management audience, then it's especially important to get a less hideous visual design.

Using an existing one would be fine, since the point is to be readable and not to be a graphics design portfolio.
I was kind of hoping to keep the design but just change the colors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
This is certainly not true. A web development firm needing to add another developer isn't uncommon at all.
The portfolio is tailored towards web development firms hiring me, however if I want to do a freelance job, I'd like the option there. So two birds one stone type deal.
 
  


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