In what seems to be an increasingly more common trend, I’ve redesigned Jadefrolics.com yet again! My goals with this redesign were to make it simpler and give a greater focus to the artwork, and since I just began using my first Android smartphone, I wanted it to work on mobile devices as well. If anyone else is looking to update their portfolio site, I’ve listed a couple of changes I made that might be helpful for other artists to keep in mind:
My old site featured a bunch of small thumbnails on a single portfolio site. I tripled the size of the thumbnails to give a better idea of what each image is. A while back, file size was a real issue on the internet, so small thumbs were pretty much a requirement. Computers are fast enough now that the extra size of large thumbnails doesn’t make much difference. I also separated each section onto a different page. This way, people looking at the children’s section don’t inadvertently notice the giant cat boobs, unless they choose to look at the other sections. I was always worrying about which art directors I’ve scared away, but I didn’t feel I had enough work to separate each section. The larger thumbnails fix this issue.
I moved from Lightbox 2 to Slimbox as the popup system to display images. Slimbox loads much faster, is way smaller, and it also downgrades wonderfully on mobile devices (at least on Android/iPhone types– I can’t imagine an Art Director browsing portfolios on a Razr), whereas Lightbox 2 just breaks on my phone. I considered getting rid of Lightbox altogether, but by tweaking the Slimbox it has become a very simple way to navigate the images.
I got rid of the header and footer and minimized the navigation to put all the focus on the artwork. This way there are no distractions to art directors wanting to browse the artwork.
So far, I am happy with the new portfolio design. Hopefully this one can last a while!