Redesigned my art home page

A couple of weeks ago I have bought a nice Nikon D60 digital SLR camera, which came with two lenses, an 18-55mm and a 70-300mm. I am looking forward like a little child to trying out the big new lens at the next autocross event I go to this coming weekend.

Should the shots come out nice, I hope I will be able to sell a few through my lulu.com storefront. So in order to make the customer experience a little more user-friendly I redesigned the front page to be cleaner and simpler, so that I can use it as an entrance page for any type of traffic: send the link to a design agency or give it to a fellow autocrosser, they should all be able to easily find what they came here to do.

So here are the two designs. First the old, with the night cityscape and links to the user options below the large graphic. The graphic itself is linked to the gallery, but whenever I watched people try to navigate my site, they never clicked on the graphic, and scrolled down to the tiny text instead.

Now here is the new design: definitely cleaned up and much more focused on the user, instead of personal artistic expression. Being an artist, I can say things like that. Artistic expression is great to the point until it stops your audience from actually seeing your art. And sadly, for many years my poor home page design stood in the way.

Once the hurdle of coming to terms with the start page was cleared, the portfolio and the commerce pages were quite usable, but some of the initial good will was lost in the process.

All these problems are solved in the new design. The user sees clearly the four options given by the page: You can either look at art, buy art, buy photos, or email me. At the same time, the new design is better at visually organizing all the options and informing the user about what else is there, besides what they came here to do.

I have to admit that the pictures in the fist row (linking to portfolio and prints respectively) are not self-explaining without their captions. The photo and email pictures are much better, showing exactly what they represent. I will need to think about making the pictures in the first row of links speak for themselves.

For those of you into this sort of thing, the gallery is powered by moderately-modified SPGM, Simple Picture Gallery Manager, an open source application released under GPL. The home page is simply a hand-edited static version of the gallery listing page.

Art and photos are of course mine.

In the next steps, I would like to clean up the commerce app running on amaier.net--potentially remove it altogether, since between lulu.com and artistrising.com I am mostly covered in terms of selling my work online.