Structural Integrity

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The next decision to make regarding my new site is the organization of its various part, its structure. While my old site was purely an online portfolio, I want this one to have some real content. I am interested in many things besides the work I end up doing and I would like the new site to reflect that variety.

Where to begin? First let’s get the obvious out of the way. This site should still act as a showcase of my work, so a portfolio section is mandatory. But after seeing the end result that is my old site, I am not for having a portfolio section with sub-sections for the types of work I want to show. Why? Usability – in my old site the viewer needed to click on ‘portfolio’ on the main page, then click on a sub-section like ‘new media’, and then click on a thumbnail representation to actually display the description and images of a project. That’s three levels of links to get to my work. Too much. Why am I making it excessively difficult for people to see my work? After all that is one of the reasons I want them on my site, so how can I make their browsing experience easier, and therefore more pleasant?

One way would be to have all links to my work on one master portfolio page. The problems with this is that this one page would continue to get bigger, and the file weight of all those thumbnails would add up quickly – not a very 56K-friendly thing to do. Also, someone interested in viewing only one aspect of my work would be overwhelmed with everything I have to show (blatant optimism :)). This means a segregation of my work is necessary. The best option might be to have direct access to the different sections of my portfolio from my main page, thus cutting out one level of hierarchy. Now I need to know how many sections I want in my ‘showcase’. I need one for design (a segregation between print and new-media is becoming increasingly irrelevant, also what is ‘new media’?), one for photography, and now the complex part – sections for illustration, animation and 3D. The problem with the last 3 sections is this: items in the illustration and animation section could also equally belong to the 3D section. The obvious solution is to get rid of ‘3D’ and only have illustration and animation sections for still and motion graphics respectively, irrespective of whether they were born in a 3D or 2D world. This might be a problem for people coming to see my 3D work (blatant optimism redux :D), since the work will be spread across two sections. This matter needs some more thought.

Ok now for the new content. This blog is the first piece of content, which will continue to reside on the new site. Hopefully my knowledge of Blender will continue to grow with time, and since I hope for this to be a regularly updated site, there will also be plenty to say about on-going site news and “re-invention.” So, ‘updatingly yours’ still remains relevant – a sort of replacement for the ‘what’s new’ page found on many sites. The ideas for the remaining content are still in a nebulous phase. What I do know is that I want to write articles on communication and the visual arts which might take the form of a blog with each post acting as a link to longer articles. That’s all I have at the moment. There are also some thoughts about downloadable content. Maybe tutorials in PDF? It all depends on how people respond to these ideas. So a lot remains to be seen. But, at least basically I have decided to have sections of the portfolio accessible from the main page, content sections (possibly ‘articles’, ‘tutorials’, ‘downloads’), and maybe a link to a ‘contact’ page with the required information.

Hmm… now comes the all important decision about the main page. But that’s is for another post.

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