The feeling of this journey is as surreal as ever. But each step has been a challenge. On the bright side, each of these challenges has presented a learning opportunity. It is funny looking back and seeing what I thought may have been a good idea at the time, only to realise it is not as efficient a solution as it seemed.
Upon this realisation, the challenge of brainstorming and drafting a more refined website design began. This coincided with the continued development of the business behind the scenes. Partnerships with suppliers had been secured; and a pricing structure for my services and solutions had been developed. Furthermore, I had finalised the Terms & Conditions of the business in line with the guidelines set out by the Association of Photographers.
This all meant I would need to add elements and rework the layout of the website to accommodate these additions. Join me along this walkthrough of geraldperey.com Version 2.0.
The first stage was to update the presentation of the homepage. First and foremost, I aimed to further clean up the presentation of the website by removing the featured photographs strip below the welcome banner, as we can see in the screenshot. The next step was to better present the galleries section on the homepage. I wanted it to have a similar vibe to the featured photographs strip and allow for easy access on various devices.
The next big decision was to remove the latest blog posts feature on the homepage. This would make the galleries and services sections more focused to potential visitors. These were segments I wanted to push to showcase my photography work and services to prospective clients. Since the blog element of the website is secondary, I felt removing this element cleaned up the homepage presentation significantly. However, this seemed to be at a cost. Google Analytics data for the blog post seemed to show a significant reduction in views. This leads me to reconsider this decision and re-introduce the latest blog posts section, perhaps after the services section.
The final change to the homepage came in the form of adding buttons in the services section with the aim to streamline navigation to these key elements of the website. I wanted to allow faster and direct access to key aspects of the business side. These included the services overview, photographic packages, details regarding commission work and a contact me button. These were all important changes as this was the likely landing page for site visitors and I wanted to direct them to key areas of the website for easier navigation as well as to drive business objectives.
The next stage was to think of the additional elements that would need to be added, such as the breakdown of photography packages, pricing, and Terms & Conditions. Once I had determined these additions, the site menu had to be updated and site map developed in an optimized and efficient way to allow for easy navigation.
As we can see in the screenshot above, I have redesigned the site menu. Previously, I had all menu items available as direct links to those pages. For example, gallery items, such as street and travel photography, were available on the menu. As the website content has expanded significantly, it was necessary to adopt sub menus to better organise the website into clear categories to further streamline site navigation.
After all these updates had been implemented, it was a case of optimizing the performance of the website. This included tweaking element animations and the number of images that may affect performance negatively. Once performance improvements had been completed, it was necessary to run numerous speed tests to ensure the pages loaded and responded consistently and efficiently across both mobile and desktop applications.
With the bulk of the changes in place and updates made, it was a case to check layouts and elements worked as designed. This included checking links redirected to the correct pages and buttons worked. For example, I noticed that clicking on a gallery menu item on the homepage was not working on the mobile version of the website. This was due to the button size not matching the size of the box. An outline of what the button should look like in the editor is shown below. What had previously occurred was the button was much smaller, meaning the target for the user to trigger the touch command was not very big or in an area that was easily accessible. It was these finicky tasks that started to pile up to ensure the website worked.
Once all of these had been fixed, the meat and bones of the website were now in place. The next stage was refinement. Proofreading all the text on the website and correcting any typos or grammar mistakes. After I was happy with the content, I began a period of testing and looking for any bugs until the website was ready to publish.
The website refresh had been months in the making, and I am relieved and happy to have gotten through this stage. My goal was to present my photography solutions to prospective clients in the best possible light to ensure I could match customer needs to any number of solutions. I hope I have achieved that in this website revision, and I hope you are happy with the changes.
I am open to any suggestions and feedback. I am here to serve; I am here for you. My goal is to make your visions a reality.