This week’s peer review is for ‘Perspective in a Lens’. It seems that my peer is going for a minimalist sort of look for their website overall, which seems appropriate for a photography page that likely wants to draw attention directly to its content.

For example, upon first entering the website, the viewer is presented with an interesting photograph that gives them an immediate idea of the type of content and work they can expect. The addition of the small ‘scroll’ button at the bottom is a nice touch to drive the customer towards the rest of the website, but to nitpick, it could either be a little bigger or a darker, more contrasting colour that invites the viewer to click on it.

I do like the photo header on this website, but I think it might be useful to include the title of the website ‘Perspective in a Lens’ and possibly a tagline in the upper right-hand corner of the photograph to give the viewer just a bit of information as to what they’re looking at. A short scroll will introduce that sort of information as pictured below, but because the photo is so big and takes up the entire screen, it might be helpful to include some information on it so the viewer doesn’t have to navigate to find it. Instead, they’ll immediately associate that photo with the website name upon entering.

While I do appreciate the minimalist look of the website and what it’s trying to accomplish, I think it’s lacking some sense of identity. In his article titled ‘Design Machines,’ Travis Gertz discusses the simplistic approach that many websites take today which closely resembles my peer’s website, as pictured above. Gertz provides examples of numerous websites that use this similar wide-open layout copied from successful companies like Airbnb but notes that the problem is they end up looking the same.

What I like about my peer’s website is the little splashes of purple colour on the portfolio button and back-to-top button in the bottom right corner. I think if this website is to keep the minimalist look going forward, it would be nice to add some more colour to the menu, header, or perhaps additional buttons.

For a photography website, I also think it would be nice to have some feature photographs on the homepage so that the viewer can see some of their work without having to click through to their portfolio. I think the website is laid out quite nicely but just needs some more content to really get it going and to liven it up. On the topic of content, it looks as though my peer has fallen behind a little bit in content creation with only one portfolio post, two process posts, and the first mini assignment.

If they’re able to get some more content flowing it would give them a lot more options to fill out the homepage and drive viewers to pages and posts of interest. More content can also lead naturally to more design choices and give the designer a chance to play around with things a little more. As Gertz notes, “when we design with content the way we should, design augments the message of the content.”

I like the use of the recent post sidebar on the right side, as well as the archives and categories sidebars on the left side, and the dropdown menu within the PUB 101 category is useful for easy navigation. The search menu is also a good feature that is easy to locate for the person who knows exactly what they’re looking for. I don’t know if my peer has any social media pages that they might be able to link to on their website, but if so that would be another great way to get people interested in their work while also associating an actual person with the website. It also just adds another small element that can be placed in the header or menu bar to spice things up a bit.

Overall, the structure of the website looks good and they have all the necessary pages for a successful website. It could just use a bit more attention to detail in adding some colour or other visually interesting elements, as well as more content.

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