We recently worked on the design and development of a website for Jim Stephenson, an architectural photographer based in Brighton.
Jim started his career as an architectural technologist, photographing buildings for the practices he worked at in his spare time. He eventually made the shift to full time image maker and his career has gone from strength to strength. Jim’s work combines the obvious technical understanding of how a building has been designed and built with a sharp aesthetic vision. He has worked for a who’s who of British architecture and his images have graced the pages of The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The New York Times.
Jim’s previous website was built in LiveBooks (a Flash based subscription service used by many photographers). The original site had a couple of flaws; the structure of the site was such that when uploading portrait images, Jim had to add two images side by side to fill a landscape space, consequently some of the photographs on the site were too small.
The blog section of the original website (using WordPress not LiveBooks) felt disconnected from the portfolio area and the website was based on Flash, with its inherent usability issues and slow load times. Read Jakob Nielsen’s article Flash 99% Bad from 2000 for more information. Jim felt it was time to update his website, so after several discussions about what would work best, I set to work designing the site.
The new website is responsive; it uses a fluid grid based design that adapts to the size of the browser window, whether this is a large desktop monitor, netbook, tablet or mobile phone. The new site was designed to present Jim’s images as well as possible. This meant that landscape and portrait images needed to have equal status and that all the images should be of a sufficient size for visitors to be able to see the detail in the shots.
The about and blog pages of the website are more text based than the portfolio and as such, readability was a consideration. The column width on these two pages ensures that line length isn’t too long and the generous text size makes reading the text easy. The usual blog clutter (blog roll, recent posts, categories etc) has been stripped away, ensuring that Jim’s words and pictures can be enjoyed without distraction.
Jim’s logo (an irregular pentagon — representing a house) has been used as navigation buttons.
Website content can be easily added to the site by Jim through a simple content management system, that makes updating the images or text on the site a breeze.
Over the last couple of months, it has been great watching the site fill with work as Jim populated it prior to launch. The site has been very well received.
“My brief was pretty… well, brief. I wanted a website that was clean and easy to navigate showing off my pictures as well as possible. I’m over the moon with what Very Own Studio created. They made the clean, uncluttered yet informative aesthetic look easy. We were in constant communication throughout the design process and the project was delivered on time and in budget.”
— Jim Stephenson