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Thread: redesign using AJAX

  1. #1
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    redesign using AJAX

    Hey everyone,

    I decided it was time to redesign my online portfolio in hopes of attracting more freelance development work.

    Current site: http://www.akawebdesign.com
    Redesign: http://dev.akawebdesign.com

    I'm still working on the content, but the idea is to advertise my skills as a software designer (using AJAX). I'll be adding more projects to the 'portfolio' section, but you'll basically see the idea I'm shooting for.

    I'm also thinking about putting a Silverlight animation at the top (where my logo is), but I haven't had time to design it yet.

    I appreciate all feedback - in fact, I'm looking forward to it. Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    I think it's a cool concept. One technical suggestion though - I'm using FF3.01 on Windows XP - and it has to do with hiding the navigation on the left (by clicking the « looking link, not the + and the - accordian thing). When I click to hide or show, the main body div of the site adjusts itself after the navigation is hidden or shown, making it look a little jumpy. I would animate both the navigation and the main body div at the same time, so it looks smoother. hopefully i've made myself clear enough.

    Again, cool concept though, and it works great.
    I've switched careers...
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  3. #3
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    To be honest (which you asked for). it looks very mechanical. It doesn't seem to flow. The left nav looks like an old Windows menu system. The new page also took a lot longer to load than the first one. Remember, to most of your customers, Ajax is a kitchen cleaner. Just because you know a technique doesn't mean you have to use it. You should also add a bit more color so it won't be so "black".
    Lee

    ""Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."" -- Sir Winston Churchill

  4. #4
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    I do appreciate the feedback. The site definitely needs color, which I'm hoping a Silverlight animation will add.

    As for the navigation... I guess it looks a bit like Windows, but I'm trying to demonstrate my ability to write functional software -- not just a website. I probably would have gone for some cleaner fly-out menus, but the idea behind the folders is to show what a custom application might look like. Do you think I meet that goal?

  5. #5
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    Also I am seeing that the content pane is build by JavaScript... will the search engines not able to crawl those content?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahk2chan View Post
    Also I am seeing that the content pane is build by JavaScript... will the search engines not able to crawl those content?
    You're 99% correct... the content pulled into the panes via JS won't really accessible to the SERPs, but the index page will be optimized (though it's not done yet).

    In any event, I'm not really worried about SEO for this site. While I know that's like heresy in website development, I'm not planning on targeting organic search as a means of building business. In my experience, 'freelance web development' and similar terms related to my site are next-to impossible to rank well for, and so I'm going to focus on finding clients by other means (namely personal contacts).

    Thus, the purpose of the site isn't to tout my website development skills -- it's to demonstrate a custom web application which I could build for anyone. I know someone will disagree, but those are two completely different customer segments.

  7. #7
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    I should also ask... does anyone think the redesign is better/worse than what I had before?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurKay View Post
    ...In my experience, 'freelance web development' and similar terms related to my site are next-to impossible to rank well for...
    Agree with you 200%

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurKay View Post
    Thus, the purpose of the site isn't to tout my website development skills -- it's to demonstrate a custom web application which I could build for anyone.
    Well, you clearly state that your available for Web site design, not just "Web applications". So your design, layout, SEO and all included is important.

    Also, I'm not sure what you mean when you say "Web application". I know what the term means, I'm just not clear what you mean by it. Using Ajax doesn't necessarily make something a "Web application".
    Lee

    ""Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."" -- Sir Winston Churchill

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeU View Post
    Using Ajax doesn't necessarily make something a "Web application".
    You're definitely right. I'm trying to build tools for companies, things like project management applications, reporting portals, etc.

    Based on all of the feedback I've gotten, I'm thinking that I'm going to launch this 'redesign' as a sub-domain geared specifically toward software development. Thus I'll be keeping a static site (which still needs a face lift), but I'll link to this site which I'll customize with content regarding my software development tools.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurKay View Post
    I should also ask... does anyone think the redesign is better/worse than what I had before?
    I agree that it's a much better idea to not have the new look as your main site. It's easy enough to have your demos be one click from the index page but still retain a main site with a more more dynamic and interesting feel. For your redesign, have you considered hiring a graphic designer to make a few images for you and to work with you to design a layout that meets your needs while being aesthetically pleasing? It might cost you up front, but I imagine it will make a good impression and pay for itself in a short time.

  12. #12
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    I think your first design was better. Also, I think the AJAX is very unnecessary. There isn't really any content that needs to be preserved, so I think normal links would be the logical thing to do.

    Also, users with Javascript turned off are unnecessarily alienated.
    "Good programmers write good code.
    Great programmers steal great code."
    Yeah, I know, but what's wrong with doing something that's been done before for the sake of learning?
    Go ahead, be a good programmer!

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