Earlier this week, I talked about some ways that artists should be using the internet. If you’ve already taken that first step and created your own website for your portfolio, take a moment to consider some of these notes. Your website might be driving me up a wall.
Does your website feature a nifty soundtrack?
I get a little put off when I enter a website and a song automatically starts playing, especially if I don’t realize that my computer’s volume is turned up to the max. The typical viewer isn’t going to be expecting to hear audio while surfing the web, unless they are specifically clicking on a “play” button. Your cool song probably won’t help your artwork out anyway.
Do you have the coolest intro animation ever?
When an art director, editor, or fellow artist visits your site, they most likely want to get right to your artwork. Viewers will quickly tire of an overlong introduction page, and you’ll annoy return visitors by making them click the “skip intro” button. Long animations will also take forever to load. Get right to the point, and show your stuff already!
Is your artwork neatly sorted into a bunch of little categories?
I once entered an artist’s site and had to click five different links before I got to see any artwork. Sorting out your work into categories is fine. Just don’t overdo it and make your viewer choose a genre, then style, then date, before your portfolio even shows up.
Do you like pop-up windows?
I don’t. And I’m not the only one. When a viewer clicks on a thumbnail, have your image show up in the same window, instead of forcing your visitors to constantly click your windows shut. The same goes for artwork that shows up on a separate page, making me have to click “back” all the time. It’s too much work, and I’m a little lazy.
Do you like using a blog as your main portfolio site?
I always get confused when an artist has a blog, but no portfolio site. I see all this great stuff and get really excited and want to see more, but then find out that the only thing I can do is dig through the blog archives. A blog has a completely different purpose than a static website, which you should use as a proud display of your best work. Use a blog in conjunction with your website, or as a specific section on your website, but don’t replace it altogether.
Is your site ugly?
Come on, you’re supposed to be an ARTIST for goodness’ sake…
When was the last time you updated your website?
Sure, you don’t have to be updating every week or whatever. That’s what blogs are for. But when I come back to your website after two years to see what you’ve been up to and find that nothing’s changed…I must say, it’s a little heartbreaking.
So, your website is best viewed at 1280×800 resolution…
…but do you have to resize my window just to make sure I’m getting the “best” experience? Take the time to design your site so that it fits on most people’s screens, and don’t use fancy tricks to force the viewer to change the size of their window if they don’t want to.
Okay, so this post was a little bit of a rant for me. I’m not pointing out anyone in particular with this post, and no, I don’t hate you if you have “sinned” in terms of your website. Hopefully, though, it will get you thinking about your own web presence and how you might be coming off to other people. And maybe this will make the internet a little bit of a saner place for me. :)