Sunday, October 4, 2009

EPJ: Photographer's Website Critique(2)

Critiquing Steve McCurry's Website


Steve McCurry is a highly reputed photojournalist who has covered numerous international conflicts. His website provides a glimpse into the diverse world we live in, through his magnificent photography. His website is simple and inviting. The URL of the website is logical as the photographer's name can be easily searched on the Internet and one is immediately directed to his website. The website takes a few seconds to load, but the wait does not seem too long as the theme and color of the website appears immediately, giving the visitor a taste of things to come.

The home page of the site opens with a dark maroon background color, and there is a menu column in the same color on the right side of the page. It has the content of the menu centered on it. On the left hand, the best work of the photographer cascades in a slideshow, practically taking the entire page and drawing the visitor's attention to the maximum. The maroon color gives a regal touch to the website, enhancing the work of the photographer as most of his images are from the culturally rich parts of the world like the subcontinent.

Since the home page seems full and appears in one screen, it makes the page simple for a visitor to view in one go. The different shades of maroon separate the content, without overwhelming it, and provide a balance and professional look to the page.

The first link in the list is 'home page', which has a simple title, and when it opens, the only thing that changes is the news and infomation under the menu bar. The slideshow keeps going on, which becomes a bit boring as a visitor expects something new and exciting. The biography of the photographer is way down, which is a negative point as visitors would like to know about the photographer before they get to see his work.

The website has made interesting use of crops of themes in the picture galleries. Since they are so many, they have been divided into nine themes per page. Each theme is marked as thumbnails, making navigation easy. As you click, you get to see the image in a theme and the arrows, when clicked, takes the viewer to the next page. A similar trend should have followed when clicking each photograph as well. The pictures are not used as thumbnails – most visitors won't want to scroll back and forth or click the arrows which are away from the image, to see if they've missed any photograph.

In the menu box, by mousing over each section, a different page does not appear which makes the site boring. If a new page appears when mousing over each section, this can be a very inviting way to take the visitor further into the site. It would make for an interesting navigation system -- it shows creativity and piques the viewer's interest.

The website has made creative use of thumbnails to introduce the great photographer’s work; it has each picture 'framed' with a one pixel border to set it apart from the background, added links along one side to use for navigation, have a page each that introduces the photographer and his work and the upcoming workshops. It has one photograph per page, with a little information about each picture on the bottom and on the right side. The caption below is just a two word introduction to the image – the place and date. This makes the image very powerful that does not need any text for explanation. The right side shows the caption for the theme. That caption is an interesting quote or poem, which is a very artistic way of showing one’s work. Font is kept consistent throughout. A blog and comment section is missing. This would have made the website interactive. Overall the website design is simple, has an impact on the viewer and enhances the work of Steve McCurry.

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