Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Competitve Analysis for Portfolio Site

Professional Portfolio

The website is all flash, which unfortunately reduces the functionality and limits the users to people with only Flash installed on their computer. There is no alternative HTML-based version of their website which would have been helpful, but might have detracted from the overall effect. Because of the large files the occasional page stuttered while the page loaded, but overall the Flash loaded surprisingly quickly. Other than the problem of it being all-flash, Thinkology’s website works very well and how you would expect.

The website is clearly pushing a very minimalist approach to its design and this portfolio clearly falls into the “let the work do the talking” category. However, the design is still very impressive with its restrictive colour palette. White space has been used to very good effect as it allows the user to only focus on one area of the website at all times with nothing else in the background distracting them. The occasional use of bright green adds a nice bit of contrast to the almost completely white design, and highlights important places to click.

Their method of presenting work is a nice idea, and slightly different from the norm with work coming in at random angles. This gives a nice care-free feel to the display of work and allows the work to standout a bit more. The angles is in contrast with the website’s minimalist approach of letting the work speak for itself, but it still works quite well.

I think this is where Thinkology’s website really excels – making it easy for the user to find work and to navigate around the website. It is clear that there was a very considered approach when thinking how to section the website, and that effort has paid off with a website that is almost effortless to use. If anything could be different, I would say that the website needs a back and next button when viewing work instead of having buttons on the far right hand side of the screen, as I imagine when somebody is using a very large monitor these would be very far to the right hand side; out of the way of the work.

If I decide to go for a minimalist approach to the design of my portfolio I would say that Thinkology’s website would be a perfect example of how to do a good job at creating a very simple website. The user doesn’t have to think at all to view this website. I must make sure I take such a considered approach when thinking about the user’s experience of the website.

Student Portfolio

The website has no problems whatsoever when it comes to working exactly how you would expect, and there is no features of the website that had problems. My only worry would be that after more products were added it may take a while for each item to load if they were all stored on one page. If I use a similar chronological-based design I must make sure that I consider this potential issue and take preventative measures to make sure it doesn’t become a problem.

Once again, there is quite a minimalist approach to this design, but displays a different way of organising the information. Giving the majority of space to the images is a very good idea, and works well in this design. The slides feature also allows the user to see a project in several different lights – often from conception to completion – and is a nice touch. Overall the design of all the elements has been handled extremely delicately and it allows all the fantastic work to really shine.

My main usability issue with this site is fact that you have to scroll quite a lot, and it becomes arduous after a while – especially if you are wishing to select a specific piece. The site really needs some form of navigation to display the content from various disciplines so people can search the content faster. Currently this doesn’t pose much of an issue as there isn’t a lot of content on the website, but this could pose a large problem if more work was posted.

Overall, We Shall See is a site with a very solid layout that is let down by its lack of a search bar or any ability to organise content. This is something that I will add to my portfolio no matter what the design may look like as I feel it is important to be able to see at a glance specific work from specific categories e.g. print work and web work. I believe this would also be something that employers would be very interested in seeing easily too, so this is a feature I intend to implement.

1 comment:

Julian Dyer said...

As a big monitor-er I did find the buttons at the right hand side of the page too far away to be useful. I also find that the 'jaunty-angle' of the website shots are very hard to understand, they effectivly just become pretty pictures.

It is one of the better Flash websites I have seen, but I think a company or individual must be pretty established before using one to show their work.

I also agree that the scrolling on the second site is too much. Having an 'excerpt' approach (like you can do with Textpattern :) ) would be a better solution. This way, viewers can look at the articles they want without doing a huge amount of scrolling.