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Been busy

November 17th, 2009 Comments off

I’ve been super quiet on this blog since my initial post spree after installing Word Press.  I’ve been quite busy with organising my photography business’ website and with teeing up some TFP/CD shoots with the families of friends.  I have been trying to write posts.  I have 5 drafts of varying subjects sitting in the admin section of the site but I just can’t seem to get enough time to finish any of them!

The first bit of news is that I’ve finally uploaded a bare bones website to http://www.ericmuranophotography.com.au/ . It’s only one page at the moment and it’s quite plain, which is on purpose.  I did spent a bit of time on trying out different layouts for the gallery and pricing pages and also for the home page but I was taking too long and I just needed to have a site up.  I’m starting to hand out business cards with the web address so I needed something there so that when the first person goes to the website, they don’t see a ‘Coming Soon’ message.

To display my portfolio photos I bought a licence for Slideshow Pro, which you can find at http://slideshowpro.net/ .  I got this because it does what is called the “Ken Burns Effect”, which is a video that pans and zooms still photographs as a slide show. There’s a stand alone version that you can install straight away and configure using an XML file.  If you have the Flash builder software you can buy the component version.  This allows you to use Slideshow Pro as a component in a Flash application. There’s an add-on called Thumb Grid that I also bought and that lets you arrange the thumbnails in a grid of definable width and height.  I’ll be using that in later revisions of the web site.

The site will evolve from here with the first port of call to install a non-Flash based slide show app.  If a non-Flash enabled web browsers hits the site right now, the user will see a place holder where the slide show should be.  I want the site to work in web browsers that do not have Flash installed.  For that I’ll use a javascript based gallery that has fade transitions but not my beloved Ken Burns Effect.  It’s called Smoothgallery and you can find it at http://smoothgallery.jondesign.net/ .  It’s javascript only so browsers without Flash will render it.

I also want the site to work in web browsers that do not have javascript!  I realise the site won’t have any animations then but that’s ok, at least one image is displayed.  I might even make a smart phone version of the site, the kind that only allows vertical scrolling.  I need to research smart phone web site design first.

The point is that I want the site to be accessible no matter what plug ins or scripting is enabled on the web browser. The ability to work in web browsers with varying functionality is called ‘Graceful Degradation’ and it’s something I think is missing in a lot of photographer’s websites.  A lot of these sites are completely Flash based and that gives the designer of the site a lot of creative control over the content’s animations and placement on the page.  The issue is that the Flash based version of the site is the only version they have.  If you don’t have Flash, you don’t see the site!  I know most people install Flash but I don’t want to force a potential customer to install Flash in order to view my site.  It’s not good practise to place barriers between your site and the people you want to visit it.

I’ll also be adding full galleries to show off my portfolio.  I’ll focus on the family portraits I’m taking but I’ll also have a miscellaneous gallery that holds all the photos that I’m proud of but aren’t family portraits, some what like my deviantart profile.  At some point I might have have a gallery for my landscape photos where you can buy a mounted print of them.

I’m quite excited about this small but significant milestone.  The site will improve by increments and it will be interesting to see if it helps me develop my business!