6.08.2015

I mentioned re-doing my website recently. I've put a new one together. It's sleeker than the last one.


I've been in the mood for a website change for while. I lazed about looking at different design options. In the end I found a program that struck me as kind of whimsical and the demo felt easy to use. I downloaded it from the Apple Store and immediately ran into a problem. The program wouldn't open. I tried stuff but my toolbox, as regards fixing aggravating stuff on computers, is poorly stocked.  I decided to get in touch with the company's support and sent an e-mail describing my issue then I sat back and started retouching images on a different project, convinced that I'd be in for the same long wait that seems to be part of most company's "support."

I was astonished when less than 15 minutes later I had an e-mail from one of the developers telling me exactly what I needed to do. Turns out it was an Apple Store download issue and not an issue with the software. I spent a day getting used to the interface, reading the documentation and playing around with the little boxes and the typefaces.

The next day I got to work in ernest and started putting together my fairly simple, four page website. Frankly, the hardest part of the whole process is trying to decide what images go into the galleries and which ones are left along the side of the road like a crushed cigarette butt.

The second hardest part of being your own website designer is writing about yourself and your business. The last time I meandered down the road of auto-biographical pontification I felt like I was being too folksy and light-hearted. This time I feel as though I might be erring the "overly stern" side. But the wonderful thing about fun and simple to use software like the app I used to do the site is that the site can change all the time. Almost blog-like in it's topicality.

The software I used is called Sparkle and it's made for Apple Computers. It's not for anyone who needs an e-commerce site or lots and lots of moving parts. It's perfect for a smaller business that just wants to present the products and services to interested clients. My site is mostly an online portfolio and I know I'll be adding to it with more galleries of images and also video.

I'm asking my friends for their feedback before I send any links to clients or prospective clients. Crowdsourcing the code?

At any rate, here's what I put up today: www.kirktuck.com

If you see the same old site you might need to refresh your cache...

More as it comes in.

Edit: 3:03 pm. Yes, It's already changed. Wow. that was quick....

Edit: 8:32 pm. Well, we're on revision 6 and everything works well except the boxes around the testimonials on the "about" page. Hmmmm. There's always tomorrow.

29 comments:

rdrowe said...

Kirk - a nice new site! All the best, R

Anonymous said...

FYI, several of your shots in the B&W portraits section are showing up more than once, and not that far apart from one another. Nice website.

Anonymous said...

The menu on the home page is on the bottom, and it is on the top on other pages. Choose one or the other.

Clicking on the first photo in a gallery allows you to run the slideshow from the keyboard. This is a good thing.

The "About Me" isn't quite right. Too long? Overly detailed? I don't know, it was just a hard read for me.

The layout is a little old-fashioned, text in boxes, etc. Here's a more modern site using boxes http://www.formula1.com Clicking on a box will bring up a Transparent Top Layer Page. Here's a Sparkle site with TTLP http://www.appyourway.com You know your clients better than anyone else, maybe slightly "old fashioned" is better than slightly "cutting edge."

EmptyDays said...

Dear Kirk,
I am not an marketing expert but they say that About should be written in He/She form and not I.
But I am Quality Manager and cover page is not acceptable to me:
"home" (small letter at the begining of the word), "Contact." (capital letter and dot at the end),"Who?" (with question mark) and "The Work" (first letter capital). It hurts my eyes, sorry.
I am strongly suggesting to unify the titles. And I agree that it should be "About".
But based on my first suggestion "About Kirk".
And when I open the page on my Air I can see only the not full picture, I have to scroll for the rest of the page.
The Work I dont like as again I have to scroll down.
I suggest that you should take into account smaller screen devices as those are most used today.
Kind regards
Martin

Anonymous said...


Well everyone has an opinion. I believe the "About Me" section is great. Not to long or detailed. If I were hiring someone for a job I would like to know their background and experience. Giving it the "hometown touch" with family info is fine.

The layout is simple. OK. Anon's example of the Formula 1 site is confusing and overly complex. I have found too many photographers websites are more along the lines of the F1 site and to me, at least, take away from the main reason for the site, the quality of the photos.

Just another opinion but its your baby to raise as you like.

Michael Matthews said...

The descriptive content is excellent.

However, as you know by now, there is no nit I will not pick. Start with the strange, out-of-left-field italics applied to the word "allies".

I'd be happy to parse it for you line by line by email. But how much of that nattering can, or should, anyone endure?

Eric Rose said...

This one appears twice http://www.kirktuck.com/images/mousumi-660.jpg?1433795023942

Anders C. Madsen said...

Kirk, you should be aware that the layout you have chosen will display poorly on a mobile phone or a small tablet - it's not responsive, so basically these users get a micro-version of the ordinary website you see on a PC, and the menu is barely legible on an iPhone 5s in the horizontal position.

Google announced that as of April 21 this year they would start reducing the ranking of websites with non-responsive design, so you may perhaps consider the layout you have chosen again.

I agree with the previous commenter that the layout feels dated compared to more modern website designs.

typingtalker said...

Too many words. No offense but you’re a visual guy, not a wordsmith.

"We support marketing with creative photographic and video content. Working with agencies and businesses we inform, entertain and help sell products and services. Our focus is on people -- making connections, putting subjects at ease, and collaborating with creative partners to polish clients’ brands and messages."

Just an idea.

Mark W. said...

Kirk,
In Firefox, the tab for this site says "The Visual Science Lab".
The tab on your new page says "Home". Recommend editing...
Sincerely,
Mark

Anonymous said...

Kirk--

A couple of typos in the bio section: "Many of our clients have continued to called on . . ." at the beginning of one paragraph needs the "-ed" removed from "called," and in the final paragraph "corporate" is spelled "coporate."

And there should be commas before "and" in a series, but I realize that tastes differ.

I like the first person bio, by the way. And while I'm writing, I appreciate the energetic (as well as lucid) style in your blog. One of my projects for this summer is to finally get to read the Lisbon novel I bought at at the end of last summer.

Walt Foreman (namerof@uky.edu)

Phillip Harris said...

Hi Kirk,
I'm not sure I want to comment on the "Who?" section,but the look of it all is very simple and uncluttered.
"The Work" section I like very much. I couldn't fault it.


Cheers
Phill.

Michael Reed said...

Interesting some of the people you lumped in with the actors.

Actors should be their own separate category

Great pics

Michael Reed said...

some thoughts on your new site

The about and the work sections need more cohesiveness.

More emphasis on the Kirk style and areas of expertise.
Studio, to location portraiture, to people at work

From the blog you've mentioned photos of products, events, locations which are not expressed on the about section

I wouldn't mention a free lunch, that's sort of inviting free loaders.

that's my 2 cents

Your images are great but I don't know if its just me, a few of your color photos (hard hat and bona fide) and your black and white photos appeal to me more than the rest.

Roger b. said...

One thing you do not have, I'm pleased to say, is an automatic slide show on the home page, or indeed anywhere else. I find them to be infuriating.

I can't quite see the whole of the picture on the home page and so I have to scroll down a bit, when it just fits on with the top buttons. Though this does prompt me to scroll down a bit further to see:
"“Creative content cleverly disguised as photographs and video…” Based in Austin, Texas 78746"
(I'm viewing this on a 2009 iMac with resolution set to 1680 X 1050 pixels, the dock being at the bottom)

It might be a good idea to put your surname somewhere (just once) on your About page. We know what your surname is, but it might not have sunk in for others; you don't want them to have to go back to your home page just to check.

The rest of it works very well.

Nicolas Woollaston said...

Looking good. A couple of points, feel free to completely disagree ...
- the page title comes up as Home, Contact, etc. Should be prepended with something like "Kirk Tuck -" for all pages so the tab looks like "Kirk Tuck - Contact", etc.
- In the top bar menu you could have lower case t on "the Work" and that might suit some eyes a little better.
- Home page is too tall for smaller screens, that image might look good cropped a bit tighter across the bottom anyway. More like the aspect ratio of you on the About page.
- The big type in random colours for "Get in Touch." and "Here's what you need to know..." looks a little bit silly that large. If you want quirky stuff then differentiate those things with white space and/or a different font from the main body text, but not so large (and try to be consistent in the colour scheme). The Contact page just has too many different sizes and styles for such a small amount of text, use white space to draw the eye to what you want to highlight and you can avoid so many different sizes, etc.
- The galleries are great, but maybe instead of separating images for technical reasons (BW vs colour) how about separating them according to purpose or style or something closer to the use they might be put to. For example formal studio portraits vs informal location/environmental portraits. Or maybe separating the models and people you have chosen for their looks, from the actors, from the regular people.

Paul said...

Hi Kirk,

The new site is much better than your old, a couple of comments from a User Experience viewpoint:

Home page
- Image is fine on a large screen but smaller screens requires scrolling to see text below the image maybe make the image smaller so that no scrolling is needed most common screen resolutions (Most web browsers come with a developer toolbar so you can see what the site looks like at other resolutions
- Menu font is OK on larger screens but doesn't scale well on tablets or phones

Contact page
- I like the cute related images - but once again on may devices users will need to scroll to see all your contact details - maybe make the images slightly smaller
- Text "Get in Touch" seems superfluous on a contact page
- You don't have links to your blog or G+ page - is this on purpose? Having links to other presences will improve SEO for both your web site and blog
- Text does not scale well - on smaller devices I need to dig out my magnifying glass :)

About
-It's a little long - maybe move clients and testimonials to a separate menu item and include client logos
- I like the personal section - it's a great extension of your blog

Work
- It's much better than your old site
- Once again maybe make images slightly smaller - for a better experience on smaller screens

It's interesting on my tablet the experience is better in portrait orientation rather than landscape (apart from font size)
The site is partially responsive - you may find this page useful for fine tuning layout and optimising for other devices http://sparkle.cx/docs/devices.html

My favourite part of your site are your portraits

Regards

Paul

Antonio Ramirez said...

Lovely to see so much of your work in one place.

Regards,

Antonio

David Zivic said...

I am going to check out SPARKLE this evening, I like it.
The home page shot literally jumped off the page.
minimilism really works.
I think if you listed previous clients in 2 bullit point columns it would be tremendously more impressive than a rambling paragraph.
Z

Fred said...

Kirk,
In the about section, in the first "personal stuff" paragraph, the last line starts with "inphotography."
I liked the site.
Fred

jimmyreina said...

Kirk,
I'm afraid somebody needs to look under the hood.

In Firefox browser, I tried the link, and got an error message-

"Forbidden

You don't have permission to access / on this server."

So I typed in the URL, and got the same message.

I went to Internet Explorer, and this is the error message-

The website declined to show this webpage

HTTP 403


Most likely causes:
•This website requires you to log in.


What you can try:



Go back to the previous page.



More information More information


This error (HTTP 403 Forbidden) means that Internet Explorer was able to connect to the website, but it does not have permission to view the webpage.

For more information about HTTP errors, see Help."

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Jimmy, fear not! we pulled everything down to work on it and then got a call for a rush shoot in the middle of our meddling. I just got back into the office and uploaded the final version. It seems to be working in all the browsers. Let me know if you have problems going forward. I appreciate the message!

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