Art Like Nature, Lives On

Introduction

This is the website of Cannie Foss, troche a talented sculptor living in Arizona. She works in bronze, diagnosis wood, clay, and welded steel and her models include everything from horses, giraffes, lions and bulls to dogs and cats. Though her talent can be seen everywhere in the website, the aesthetics of the website can definitely be improved.

Form

My eyes was drawn to the four images of the animals when I first entered the index page. The images and text in the index page are effective in telling the visitors what the whole site is about. On further examining, I realised the author needed to change a few things to make the index page more aesthetically presentable. Firstly, the feather effect on the images could have been done better. There is an obvious black line at the edge of the dog. Secondly, the body alignment could be more centered. The page looks funny on my 1024 x 768. Lastly, I feel that the header, especially the logo, takes up too much space. I think the website should be designed to give as much space as possible to the content because the content is the selling point of the whole website.

The navigation is extremely simple. The left menu needs no explaination but I am not sure about the fading effect when clicking on the links in the menu. The effect delays the surfing speed and I cannot see how it fits into the theme of the website(just me). The images used in the site can definitely be enhanced. I also think that the image size should be consistent. For example, if the author decides to use 200 x 150 pix, then all the images in the site should be based on that template. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the author takes time to make every page abit more unique by changing the header graphics. The graphics are not heavy and they make the surfing experience more memorable.

Function

I reckon that alot of work could be done on the way the contents are being displayed. The tables should have a fix width for the text and the images. Things appear to fly all over the place if the layout is not consistent. I also think that more information on the sculptures could be helpful. For example, if I am browsing the “homefront” category, I will see the sculpture of a dog named “Cordelia” and the description of it is just “Lost Wax Bronze 14.5 x 12 x 16 H”. The author might consider having a thumbnail page which leads to the description page where more information could be given when any of the sculpture is clicked. Most of the texts are center-aligned. I guess they would look better if left-aligned.

Conclusion

Foss has amazing art sculptures to showcase in her website. Unfortunately, the elegance of her artwork is not fully revealed because of the website design. Alot of work could be done on the consistency of the layout, text alignment, image size and effects.

www.sculpturebyfoss.com.1

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Web design flawed, but content solid

Introduction

At first glance, I was certain I would be disappointed with my experience at scribbleskidsart.com. While their name and logo are simple and their message clear, my first take on this website would not exactly be defined as highly impressed. However, after a time, my opinion of this website changed for the better…

Form

The home page design reminded me of something thrown together by an amateur website designer in their spare time using the most basic three color template available. The overly simple blue leftbar and plain white body with virtually no formatting leaves the visitor initially unimpressed.

As I perused the website, I noticed that any formatting present was primarily either a simple left-aligned paragraph or centered text. Everything is displayed using a relatively medium-large, boring font, and page headings usually contain some simple, yet relevant clipart. Most pages are sectioned out by basic red horizontal lines. Some of the pages displaying multiple pieces of artwork look a little sloppy, as the graphics were not cropped to common sizes.

The overly simplistic nature gave me the feeling that this site was designed for five year olds. It’s definitely no corporate masterpiece. Then it dawned on me…that’s exactly who it was designed for! It is consistent and simple – even if boring and a little messy at times – and even the most novice web user would most likely understand what they’re looking at right away.

Function

Navigation is extremely simple. There is so little to the style and design of the site that it’s just-plain-easy to get where you want to go. All of the main topics are listed on the left, and most pages have clear blue hyperlinks within the body text that take you to the next logical place you would want to visit. There’s nothing confusing about this website at all.

If a link takes you away from scribbleskidsart.com, they present the target website in a new window, keeping your visit to this website intact. Nice touch and properly done in that respect.

What made my visit to this website truly intriguing was the nature of the content. There’s just a lot of stuff to read and look at, and a lot of offerings in the way of contests, art education, art history, articles, and other resources. They are targeting youth artists, and seem to stay true to their mission. There is wealth of knowledge here, and you’re not flooded with advertisers and sponsors at every turn. This site is also obviously always evolving and current. Nothing felt stale. Monthly awards offered by this website to various contest winners ranging from art supplies to blue ribbons and a place in their “Hall of Fame” for things such as “best artwork” and ‘first to answer the monthly quiz correctly” keep their visitors coming back and contributing to this growing community of young artists.

Conclusion

The website’s content is right on the mark for its target audience. If you’re under 18 and an artist or interested in art, then this website has something to offer you and there is true value to the information held within. I highly recommend spending more than a few minutes browsing its pages.

That being said, this site could use a major design overhaul by a professional website developer. There’s a ton of potential here. A touch of real art-in-design could turn this diamond-in-the-rough into a real gem!

www.scribbleskidsart.com.1

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An Artistic and Resourceful Website

Introduction

The Drawing Center is a dedicated online art gallery that blends historical and contemporary art. This website can be a good resource for all creative artists.

Form

The front page invites the user to venture into the neat and clean website. The colors used in the site is very calming, check consisting of red and grey. The logo is text based and eye soothing as well. Navigating the site is a pleasure which can be simplified to match with the overall theme of the site. However, online I realized that the page alignment could be more effective in higher screen resolution.

– Simple and multi facilitated menu on top of the page for easy navigation.
– Vivid fonts with excellent color combination for titles, ambulance sub titles, links etc goes well with the theme.
– Consistent standard footer.

Function

The site is very informational. From exhibitions, publications to membership details, it basically covers everything that an artist would like to know. The intelligent use of images and photographs on different categories breaks the monotony of the site and gives extra value to the text. Though the contents are well presented, I would like to see abit of variation in terms of color or layout because after spending 15 mins reading the text, I felt abit bored.

The name of the web designer or design company at the footer could have been avoided. Let the work speak.

Conclusion

This website has succeeded in the artistic representation of the subject, giving full justice and launching pad to prevailing art in the ancient backdrop. However, more design elements could be used to spice up the site. I really hope to see more surprises.

www.drawingcenter.org.1

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Nice Craft Site: Knitty.com

Introduction

Knitty, ambulance the quarterly publication, prostate is dedicated to the art of knitting. Members can find patterns, pharm articles, and tools related to the craft. Kitty.com is a nice website for the knitting artist or hobbyist and is packed full of information – though navigation the site may be a bit of a challenge.

Form

The Knitty brand is very effective for the particular subject matter at hand. The logo exemplifies creativity in a casual text, with a witty tagline “little purls of wisdom”. The logo and tagline are prominent on each page, creating a consistent brand. In my opinion, the name and presentation is an excellent choice and is easily remembered by a passerby.

As the user ventures off of the homepage, the brand encounters a few hiccups. The “Feedback” page, for instance is nothing like the other interior pages.

The design of the website is a 3-column design with top, left and right navigation. The homepage is predominantly allocated to a large photo, expressing a featured project in the current issue. In my opinion, this is a huge waste of valuable real estate. (fig. 1) I would recommend scaling down the photo and adding some descriptive text and links that correspond to the particular issue – similar to what is found on the “Features” page. (fig. 2)

There also seems to be unnecessary space separating the three columns. This type of padding actually breaks up the page and makes it seem incomplete. I would like to see a border on the right and left of the column, with the three columns flush to their respective anchor elements. For example, push the right hand column up, making it flush with the navigation bar.

The vibrant color scheme promotes the site objective and gives it a fun but dignified feel. The color scheme for the left and right columns, mainly black background with white text, could use some attention. Trying to read white text hosted on a black background puts quite a bit of strain on the eyes. The text itself is presented in a non-standard font and adds to the difficulty in reading. I do like the effect the black gives in relation to the remainder of the presentation; however, I think it can be placed elsewhere in a less important area to achieve the same effect. I recommend creating some section within the body, possibly to highlight a feature and use the black/white color combination. A little of this goes a long way.

The interior pages of the website follow the lead of the home page, with one exception. The “Feedback” portion of the site is nothing like any other page. (fig. 3) I highly recommend replacing this page with one that fits with the theme of the other pages.

Function

The navigation on the website is fairly straightforward and easily accessible. The top navigation links directly to interior pages without the need of dropdowns or sub-category menus. The left and right hand columns on the home page house additional ‘feature’ options as well as legal and other standard informational links.

Though the navigation is easy to understand, the choice of using non-standard fonts makes all navigation areas difficult to read. Even at a resolution if 800X600, words and links are difficult to decipher. (fig. 4) Though I like the choice of fonts, I would like to see their use minimized in order to create a more user-friendly interface. These fonts would be appropriate as attention grabbing text (in a larger font size) and would aid in the overall feel of the website.

Knitty does not show any type of self-promotional areas on the home page, or include any standard section on any interior pages. I would like to see more attention drawn to joining the members’ area and even submitting articles. The existence of the “Knitty Shop” is left to the user to discover. Simple advertisements are a great way to promote areas such as these, and one doesn’t need to be a master at marketing to develop them. For example, a simple ad with the words “Shop Knitty Now” with a nice little graphic and call to action would work well – especially if it appeared on each interior page in addition to the home page.

Advertising and promotion are very easy to accomplish. Self-promotion may not turn your business into a goldmine, but any advertising is better than none.

Conclusion

Knitty.com has the right attitude and outlook for creating a very nice, community driven website. With some attention to problem areas, such as fonts, lack of advertising, information flow (particularly for the home page) and some color considerations, the website could easily come together as a nice presentation for the art of Knitty. This website is loaded with information and any knitting artist or hobbyist would be in heaven.

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Popular Digital Picture Frame Website

Introduction

Introduce the website. You can also write about other things like your initial impression, nurse the popularity of the site and so on.

Content

This site immediately reminded me of the adverts that fall out of your Sunday newspaper supplements, and rather appropriately it’s for an unusual gadget. Ceiva is essentially a digital photoframe, showing a slideshow of images that can be directly uploaded from a landline (USA only), receiving images from emails or mobile phones. Whilst they have taken great care to aim the marketing to all generations, the underlying message is that it is for grandparents who don’t want a computer in the house, but want to receive images from their family.

Given this subtext, I felt the site would benefit by being pared down to reflect the simplicity and ease-of-use of the product. Instead, I felt barraged by marketing information – there is a great deal to read here for one product, and they don’t miss an opportunity to sell, sell, sell. However, the site has obviously been put together by people who know what they are doing: there is a clean, consistent look throughout the site; the Flash transitions/animations are effective; and features such as registering and uploading images work quickly and efficiently. The light blue colour scheme goes towards opening up what could be a claustrophobic site, as does the choice of stock photography, though using these anodyne images loses some of the personal touch the site could really do with. There may soon be redemption as the ‘community’ page, which mainly contains newsletters, claims it will soon have a section where people can upload their own images – this would really boost the friendliness factor.

Functionality

Navigation through all the information works very well. Simple rollovers of the main sections are on the top of every page, revealing subheaders. There is also a listed site map at the bottom throughout browsing, making it easy to hop around. There is a comprehensive FAQ section with a search option and was easy to navigate in itself.

In the members section, you are able to send images to other emails and your contacts who own the Cevia – and so is an important portal for consumers. Uploading images is very easy and a very similar process to adding an email attachment, though the site doesn’t optimise files, so if a large image is sent through, it could take a very long time for the person owning the Cevia to upload via a dialup connection. The option to upload an image to send to an email address worked quickly, though you have to hit a link to their site and view a slideshow of the uploads (including a frame promoting the product), and it is difficult to save the files. This all seems somewhat superfluous as you can easily use your email provider.

Conclusion

The site is crisp, yet cluttered and would benefit from a good editor to create more focus on the product from the start, rather than the offers. The site’s corporate look and desire to sell sometimes overshadows the message of community and warmth that the product is meant to bring. Paring down the information and giving it space to breathe would go a long way.

www.ceiva.com.1

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