Site One – Freelance Professional (http://www.mark-till-online.co.uk/)
The first site that I will analyse is Mark Till Online. I chose this website as he is a freelance web designer based in Castleford,
The first thing that strikes me about the site is that it has a clean and simple layout which helps to make it look more professional. The site contains three pages (Home, Portfolio and Contact) which only contain the most vital pieces of information that Mark needs to provide. This is an effective way of structuring the site as users would primarily want to know what he can do and how to contact him. This would be a big advantage to the end users as they would be able to locate all the information they require quickly and easily.
The site also makes excellent use of visual cues to help the user to click on the most important information. To the right hand side of the homepage there are two large buttons which stand out straight away as they are in a different colour to the rest of the page. By giving these buttons more emphasis the aim is to attract the user’s attention which will hopefully lead to them clicking on the link. This is a really effective method of getting a user to visit something which you feel is important and is something I will definitely take into consideration when I am designing my site.
Another benefit to the site is that the “Portfolio” section of the website only contains a brief collection of Mark’s work. By only showing a small selection of work he is able show only his best work and not simply every piece of work he has ever produced. This would be advantageous because if he included some of his earlier work it may not be as professional looking as his more recent work which may lead to potential clients going elsewhere.
One disadvantage I did find with the site is that it only includes one method of contact which is via on online form. Some users may not be comfortable with this and may prefer contact via telephone or email. I think that the main reason for this is because Mark only performs freelance work on the side and is currently employed elsewhere. If this were to be his primary focus I would expect at least one more method of communication whether this was simply an email address or telephone number.
Overall I think that the site has a clean and fresh feel which makes navigating around the site relatively easy. The structure of the website is also effective with only the most important pieces of information included. I think that the site could be improved by simply including more methods of contact but as this is not his full time occupation it is understandable that he has chosen not to do so.
Site Two – Interactive Media Student (http://www.katpalmer.co.uk/)
The second site that I am going to analyse is Kat Palmer’s online portfolio. I decided to analyse this portfolio as Kat is currently at the same stage as me as she is studying web design at the University of Teeside in Middlesbrough.
The first thing I noticed about the site is that all of the text uses a centred layout. This is quite a negative aspect because centering text makes readability much more difficult which may put off some users. This could easily be corrected by simply using a more standard left aligned layout. The site also does not use a consistent layout with some pages having text to the left of the page and some having text to the right of the page. This may be quite confusing to some users so I would certainly try to use the same layout for each page of the site for my portfolio.
This site is quite similar to the Mark Till portfolio as they both contain very few links which makes navigation around the site relatively easy. The major difference however is that the Kat Palmer portfolio does not have a contact page. She does include a reference to her email address on the homepage but I feel that the portfolio would be much more effective if she included a page with all of her contact information on. The major aspect that impressed me with Mark Till’s portfolio was his use of visual cues to influence the users to click on the most important information. Kat Palmer’s portfolio however doesn’t really make good use of this and I feel that she should give much more emphasis on things such as contact details and accessing her CV. She does mention that if somebody needed a CV they would have to email her. I think it would be much more appropriate to upload this to her site and simply provide a link to it.
The portfolio section of the site contains quite a lot of work ranging from websites through to photographs. This is a real benefit to as it shows that Kat has a wide range of skills and is not simply focused on one area. I do feel however that there is too much work on the page and a few examples of her best work would be far more appropriate. The about me section of the site does contain quite a lot of information such as her interests and skills. Sections such as this would be included in a CV so I think that this page would be much more appropriate if it simply contained an online CV.
Overall I feel that the site is effective at displaying all of the skills and experience that Kat has developed in web design. However there are quite a few problems with the site making it look quite unprofessional such as centering and text and inconsistent layout.