This is a post that I had written back in June when we were launching the new web site.  For some reason it was saved as a draft, but never posted.  Why waste it I say?

Join me back in time in early summer as we were just launching the new web site.

“back in time music…”

Well I have to say it’s about time! We have been working all out over the last two months trying to get everything ready to go for the new web site. The web site that is currently live is SO outdated. In fact, the flash programming is so old, that I cant even access it from my studio work stations because we are all on new Intel Mac Pro’s. In order to reference it, for some reason, I have to go down to the workshop and jump on an old iMac.

New Web Site

New Web Site

Rabbit has been giving me TONS of shit for the last 6 months about it not working right. A photographers web site these days is (in my opinion) the single most important tool we have. If you don’t have a nice clean site that is in good working order, you might as well just forget it. It is really that important.

Anyway, I am finally following my own advice and it is just about ready. I have had the current web site since it was built by my friend Chris Geiser back in 2002.

This was when the whole database management thing was just getting really cool. The site took a long long time to build, and had to be completely programmed with original code from the ground up.

The old site as I see it on my computer...NO GOOD!!!

The old site as I see it on my computer…NO GOOD!!!

Now days, companies have it all figured out, and have streamlined the process.

Choosing a vendor to work with when building a site can be daunting, and there are a lot of things to think about.

After much debate, we ended up choosing Livebooks out of California. Basically, Livebooks has taken all the heavy lifting out of putting up a photography web site. They have done tons of research, and really nailed down a fantastic system.

That being said, the big down side (and really the only one I have found after working with them for the past 60 days) is that when you view a Livebooks site, it is very identifiable as a Livebooks site. Some photographers will really consider this too large a negative, and move on to another solution, but I tend to think it may be more of a benefit than a deficit.

I guess the way I look at it is this: The web is becoming more and more standard and people are getting used to how things (e.g. navigation) work.  Navigation on the web is like a flight of stairs. Some designers approach their work by thinking that they are the designer, and that their concept is what matters the most. These designers might try to reinvent the wheel by making what I call a “strange stair,” meaning they might make the rise taller, and the run shorter.

Livebooks.com site

Livebooks.com site

When this is done, the stairs might be very aesthetically pleasing, but we have to ask the single most important question… How do they work?

Inevitably, when we mess with things like stairs, all we get is people tripping. Subconsciously, our brains and feet know how to go up stairs. We can do it with our eyes closed. Try it sometimes. I bet you can run up your stairs at home as fast as you can possibly go without looking once. And this isn’t just for your stairs at home, this goes for most all stairs. Stairs have a standard construction, and we feel comfortable using them without thought.

The same goes for the web these days. We know how to navigate around the web when the navigation is standard. When a designer tries to get funky, and overshadows the navigation with a unique design, the site suffers. Ask yourself what the real purpose of the photographers site is? I know what I say. Simply put, its about the photographs. Nothing else. Just the photographs.

My Designer Dayle Hendrickson

My Designer Dayle Hendrickson

My Flash programmer Adam Royer

My Flash programmer Adam Royer

For me, I am not trying to show I am a great web designer… All I want is for people to be able to see my work.  Regardless if the site looks like 15 other photographers sites you have seen.  It is the work that is important.

It is for this reason that I went with Livebooks.   I feel that the common architecture that all their sites is built on is perfect for this purpose.  They are the largest photographer web site company, and there are many many professionals who are using their system.

I guess we will see how they work out!

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