Web Design — Online Portfolios

I’m a big fan of LinkedIn. Not so much for all of the network connections I have (which til now have not proven to be of much value…), but more for the different groups one can join and contribute to as well as learn from. All of the groups, unlike Facebook or mySpace are designed by professionals for professionals.

One recent post under the Creative Design Professionals group had a link to a pretty great post focused on people’s online portfolios. The question was should designers spend the time creating a web site for their portfolio from scratch, thus showing off their mad web skillz (yes,that’s a Z), or use some third party tech and a template. I highly believe in creating a portfolio site from scratch using the latest web technology (web 2.0, Joomla, or whatever a designer is comfy with).

HOWEVER, if a designer is busy working making a living, and really doesn’t have time to focus on building a site from the ground up, then by all means I do feel that one should and could use a template or otherwise to get their site up quickly in order to generate more work. Just because it begins with a template doesn’t mean it has to look like everyone else’s site. Also, the focus should be on the content of what that designer has worked on — i.e. their portfolio. And sometimes templates keep designers from making mistakes with how their site is laid out, no matter how good of a designer they are.

A portfolio site should be easy for your customers or future clients, and or future employers to easily navigate so they can see your work, find your samples quickly, and not have to go on a treasure hunt within your site to find your best work. The website Astheria.com points this out perfectly, because that designer realized how badly his portfolio sucked, and wanted to prevent other designers from making the same mistakes.

Admittedly, my portfolio site at gregschumsky.com was built with Apple’s iWeb. Yes, I could have spent countless hours making it in html, or some web 2.0 tech, or even Joomla or otherwise, but my focus wasn’t on all the programming. It was on the design of the site and all of my design, animation and video work, and I really wanted to get it up quickly, while making sure the site was easy to use and my work easy to find. So sue me.

I love Apple products and how they work without me needing to put a ton of time into making the software work, and I can spend more time on the creative process. I have yet to see anyone else’s online portfolio that looks like mine as far as the look and feel. And it’s easy to use and navigate. Plus there aren’t all the tiny thumbnail images that are some part of a bigger image. Bleh.

Meanwhile as I wait for more work, I’m busy designing a sound recording studio here at home for my daughter, who by the way is a pretty amazing singer — yes I get to say that because I’m her dad, but I’ll let you be the judge of her singing ability. Check out her youtube video here: After Hours.

Or I suggest you listen to some of her work, admittedly recorded by her and her friend on her MacBook and is on her mySpace music page. We’re building the studio so she can cut a better sounding demo, and get some of her tracks up on iTunes. Having been an audio engineer early in my career path (which that path looks like it was designed by someone who can’t draw a straight line…), this should be both fun and rewarding for both of us.

I’ll post some pics of the studio when it’s done.

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