Doing It Yourself:
- Good, easy-to-follow tutorials, such as W3 Schools and HTML Dog, can give you a start in designing your site.
- Web design is a valuable ability, and the skills you need for a basic online presence can be learnt quite quickly, and improved over time as you find out more.
- There are a number of templates available to download for free that can be tweaked to your requirements.
- There's a supportive community out there - ask for advice on online forums.
- Use your skills - learn by playing and experimenting!
- Employing a web designer is a quick solution, but can be expensive.
- Consider employing a student, who might be interested working at a slightly discounted rate to build their portfolio.
- Some companies offer cut price web design if you use one of their ready-made templates
- Involve yourself in the design stage so that you get what exactly you want and make sure you give clear details in writing to avoid confusion.
- Ask the developers to show you how to update your content when the design is complete, so you’re not restricted to a costly contract.
When you're thinking about design it might be useful to use the analogy of the good old book! You might want to read it cover to cover, dip in, or find something specific quickly and easily. The same goes for viewing a website: think about continuity for readers, and using relevant links on each page, so surfers can jump from one place to another quickly, finding a page that fits consistently with the rest.
Nicola Dale BROWSER, 2008
Make a list of the things your audience would definitely want to find, as well as the ones you want them to find, and make sure they’re easily available.
To do this, think about the different people that might visit your site, what they would want to find and what they want to be able to do.
Try to imagine what would be important to each type of visitor and make common actions, such as finding your work, easy to do.
For example, curators want to see your work displayed clearly, with full documentation, with a CV and contact details easily available, or they may lose interest.
Web users are generally impatient if they’re looking for something specific, and will only click an average of three links to find it on your site, before moving somewhere else. In computing, searching is often compared to climbing a tree. The best search tree is the one where there are many low sets of twigs with lots of interconnections, rather than one sky bound branch of decisions you can’t get back from.
Philippa Lawrence Bound, Carmarthenshire, 2003
Organise your site around a number of title branches, perhaps for different strands of your practice or for each project, displayed as site contents on each page. From there, offer a few other relevant links, but not so many it becomes confusing.
Good Axis Artist Websites
Peter Ainsworth - multiple, high quality photos of each artwork
Kit Abramson - simple, easy to navigate site with work well documented
Always make it obvious where links lead to by using appropriate names or symbols, and keep these consistent and available from anywhere in your site.
It’s your work that’s interesting and will draw viewers in, so the rest of the site doesn’t have to be overly complicated or busy, just well laid out and easy to navigate.
Building a website may seem a daunting prospect, but remember the main event is your art work – and you have that already!
Make sure that the page is available quickly, as most people will not wait around ages for flash introductions to load and play. Broadband speeds make this less of an issue, but if you want to play animations when people arrive at your site, give them a choice to skip to your main content instead.
It’s likely that the majority of hits to your site will come from people you’ve given the address to directly and those who have linked in through other websites and social media.
Give an indication that they’re in the right place by displaying your name and contact details, and make it clear that you’re approachable and would like people to contact you.