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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Getting back into the industry

    About 6 months ago I started considering getting back into web development. This was due to dissatisfaction with my new government job and an uncertain future. Honestly I missed the web development industry. So much had changed since I hung up the towel and I missed many advancements in the industry. In a way though I was waiting for things to change. Now more than ever the internet is a part of our lives. Getting off the track so I will continue...

    I spent the next few months studying online learning resources such as:

    Lynda.com
    Tutsplus.com
    Buildajoomlawebsite.com
    Teamtreehouse.com

    On the 20th September I uploaded my new redesign portfolio website to the internet. I would say that it is still a work in progress.

    Google Analytics tells me that I have had 470 visits so far. No one has contacted me directly from the site but my one of my past clients seems interested in upgrading his website. Most of my work came from word of mouth in the past. Given that I still have a Full Time job working for the government I'm thinking maybe this website is not going to find an audience based on my current employment situation. I am interested to hear what you guys (the professionals) at Sitepoint think?

    PDDesign (Paul Dickson Design)
    <snip/>
    Last edited by Mittineague; Oct 5, 2013 at 20:53. Reason: please use your Signature

  2. #2
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    This is just my personal taste and I don't profess to be an expert on design. The links in the toolbar are nicely grouped together, so finding things is pretty easy. Green and white seems to be a good color scheme for what you're advertising. I'm still trying to decide if I like how things are arranged at the bottom, though. I think most of it has to do with some of your descriptions and how you're highlighting certain things several different types of text, even in the same sentence. If your work section were a resume, for instance, I believe the advice someone would give would be to tone down the different fonts and structure your points a little more so people don't have to learn how to read what they're reading instead of being able to just quickly grab the information you want to convey.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by teknoaxe View Post
    This is just my personal taste and I don't profess to be an expert on design. The links in the toolbar are nicely grouped together, so finding things is pretty easy. Green and white seems to be a good color scheme for what you're advertising. I'm still trying to decide if I like how things are arranged at the bottom, though. I think most of it has to do with some of your descriptions and how you're highlighting certain things several different types of text, even in the same sentence. If your work section were a resume, for instance, I believe the advice someone would give would be to tone down the different fonts and structure your points a little more so people don't have to learn how to read what they're reading instead of being able to just quickly grab the information you want to convey.
    Hi Teknoaxe, thank you for your comments. I have always liked green,white and grey. When you mention the bottom, are you referring to the footer or the dot points on the home page? Not too sure what you mean by if my work section were a resume. What fonts did you struggle with, the size, highlighting or the font type?

  4. #4
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    Not sure where my http link went will try again New Portfolio Website Link

    If you having trouble viewing URL please click signature link

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist silver trophybronze trophy
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    Maybe:
    • Place the Home-button of the menu besides the AboutMe/WhatIDo/etc. buttons, so that when somebody has scrolled down on a page, the Home button is not disappeared.
    • On the Homepage you say "Making sure your website meets W3C web standards." > That always triggers me to check the html- and css-validator.
      In this case: html o.k. (only a BOM aboard), but ... 616 css3-errors. I know, 433 of them are caused by the tricks and hacks of the bootstrap.css, 82 of them by the bootstrap-responsive.css, and the rest also mostly caused by tricks and hacks. This might give a strange effect for the visitors who are just checking the validator without knowledge of all this kind of things.
    • The green "Get in Touch" flag in the top of the footer looks like a button, but it is not clickable (to the contact page).
    • In my opinion the order in the menu items should be: Home / What I do / My work / About me / Blog / Contact. The visitor will be curious about what you do first, and what the results are. After that, (s)he might be interested in who you are. Maybe "What I do" can be "What I can do for you", and "My work" can be "Portfolio", which sound more challenging for me.
    • In the "What I do" page the topics "Print/Logo/Branding", "3d Animation" and "Video projects" of the "My work" page are not mentioned.
    • The FAQ page is surprising at the moment!

  6. #6
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    Nice design! My initial impression is that it's very clean, smart, and fresh.

    My first thought was, what is this "Equals" category. You might want to make your "this + this + this = this" statement a little clearer. It's a little clumsy.

    My second thought was: "This looks like a stock wordpress theme". Did you use a wordpress theme (someone else's design) to showcase the fact that you're a designer/developer? Or did you design this theme yourself?

    ... Then I clicked into your source and realized it's all hand coded. Wow. Nice work! But it's a little concerning if your design looks like a stock theme. Keep that in mind as you tweak your site. Try to be more original.

    On the subject of originality, your tagline on your home page says "Think outside the box". Really? Really?? This has to be THE MOST OVERUSED ******** PHRASE in the history of business. Please. Come up with something unique that represents YOU. To say you "think outside the box" is so cliche, it puts your thinking right inside said box. What are you even intending to convey here? In what way are you thinking outside the box when your entire design looks like what everyone else has already done? Harsh but true.

    There is no call to action at all on your home page. You start with a very clunky phrase:

    DO YOU NEED A NEW
    WEBSITE DESIGN?
    or looking to upgrade your existing website?

    ---

    If someone is visiting your website, they're already looking for a web designer. It's a waste of their time to restate the obvious. Why not open with more impact and a call to ACTION? Talk about what makes YOU better than hiring an Indian dude on oDesk to design the same thing for $50.

    Your next-biggest heading:

    Welcome to Paul Dickson Design
    Please stay a while and feel free to look around.

    Really? More mindless, pointless phrasing. Keep your headlines impactful and substantial.

    Also, your website is responsive and looks kick-ass on mobile (good work!) except for the logo, which scales down to a pinprick. Fix that

    I really think you're very talented and your website loads fast and clean. You're off to a great start. Take a break from studying CSS and javascript etc etc and learn a little bit about business and marketing if you want to sell.

    --- One more thing. WHY is stuff like this in your portfolio: http://www.pddesign.com.au/offline/g...www/index.html <----- I would never, ever EVER hire the guy that made that! ?!?! Obviously this is very old work and you're much more capable now. I'd rather see a very SMALL portfolio filled with great work than a large portfolio "showing off" this crap. Come on. Keep your portfolio tight and accurate to your current level of skill. Otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot.

  7. #7
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    Hi Francky,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Place the Home-button of the menu besides the AboutMe/WhatIDo/etc. buttons, so that when somebody has scrolled down on a page, the Home button is not disappeared.
    Had a little trouble with a permanent Home Button next to About Me. Because my logo is quite big, putting a home button in made things go a little funny on mobile devices. When I mean funny (the home button would sit under my logo) I decided just to have a link on the logo to the home page & the top link that disappears.

    On the Homepage you say "Making sure your website meets W3C web standards." > That always triggers me to check the html- and css-validator.
    In this case: html o.k. (only a BOM aboard), but ... 616 css3-errors. I know, 433 of them are caused by the tricks and hacks of the bootstrap.css, 82 of them by the bootstrap-responsive.css, and the rest also mostly caused by tricks and hacks. This might give a strange effect for the visitors who are just checking the validator without knowledge of all this kind of things.
    Maybe I should take this out completely? I was not aware of all those other css3-errors, are they actual errors though?

    The green "Get in Touch" flag in the top of the footer looks like a button, but it is not clickable (to the contact page).
    Funny you mention this, probably be a good idea to put a link to the contact page here.

    In my opinion the order in the menu items should be: Home / What I do / My work / About me / Blog / Contact. The visitor will be curious about what you do first, and what the results are. After that, (s)he might be interested in who you are. Maybe "What I do" can be "What I can do for you", and "My work" can be "Portfolio", which sound more challenging for me.
    That's a really good point. I think I will definitely look at changing the menu layout system.

    In the "What I do" page the topics "Print/Logo/Branding", "3d Animation" and "Video projects" of the "My work" page are not mentioned.
    Hrmm, good pick up. Might be something to add.

    The FAQ page is surprising at the moment!
    That's showing my lazy side

  8. #8
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    Hi TheFox

    Thank you for your reply.

    Nice design! My initial impression is that it's very clean, smart, and fresh.
    Thought this would be the best approach

    My first thought was, what is this "Equals" category. You might want to make your "this + this + this = this" statement a little clearer. It's a little clumsy.
    Definitely was winging this part when I set it up.

    My second thought was: "This looks like a stock wordpress theme". Did you use a wordpress theme (someone else's design) to showcase the fact that you're a designer/developer? Or did you design this theme yourself?

    ... Then I clicked into your source and realized it's all hand coded. Wow. Nice work! But it's a little concerning if your design looks like a stock theme. Keep that in mind as you tweak your site. Try to be more original.
    I did borrow elements from templates I found on the internet to save myself some time. Yes I kinda went the stock theme look on purpose to get my name back out there. Would like something more original but finding the time is difficult.

    On the subject of originality, your tagline on your home page says "Think outside the box". Really? Really?? This has to be THE MOST OVERUSED ******** PHRASE in the history of business. Please. Come up with something unique that represents YOU. To say you "think outside the box" is so cliche, it puts your thinking right inside said box. What are you even intending to convey here? In what way are you thinking outside the box when your entire design looks like what everyone else has already done? Harsh but true.
    Appreciate your honesty here. I will be honest too, this section is a copy/paste job from another site, I needed something here until I came up with something unique that represents ME. Keep putting this one off. Any suggestions Will try do some more thinking out the box

    There is no call to action at all on your home page. You start with a very clunky phrase:

    DO YOU NEED A NEW
    WEBSITE DESIGN?
    or looking to upgrade your existing website?

    If someone is visiting your website, they're already looking for a web designer. It's a waste of their time to restate the obvious. Why not open with more impact and a call to ACTION? Talk about what makes YOU better than hiring an Indian dude on oDesk to design the same thing for $50.
    Good point, I never thought about it from that perspective. Do you think I should keep this advertising or trash it completely?

    Your next-biggest heading:

    Welcome to Paul Dickson Design
    Please stay a while and feel free to look around.

    Really? More mindless, pointless phrasing. Keep your headlines impactful and substantial.
    So I should probably trash this too?

    Also, your website is responsive and looks kick-ass on mobile (good work!) except for the logo, which scales down to a pinprick. Fix that
    That's no good, will have a play around. Thanks for the pick up

    I really think you're very talented and your website loads fast and clean. You're off to a great start. Take a break from studying CSS and javascript etc etc and learn a little bit about business and marketing if you want to sell.
    Thank you, a lot is self taught mixed with borrowed code and existing concepts. Not trying to reinvent the wheel just enjoy the work. I will take your advice and try search for some business and marketing tutorials or articles, cheers for the review much appreciated!

    --- One more thing. WHY is stuff like this in your portfolio: http://www.pddesign.com.au/offline/g...www/index.html
    I thought this originally to but decided to keep the basic designs also. One bullet or two in the foot wont kill you, just shows your flexible to peoples **** requests. In the case of giftables he wanted a 800x600 resolution website, why god only knows..

  9. #9
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    I think doing some advertising for yourself might be a good idea. Just having a useful portfolio isn't going to be any good if no one views it. Have you tried looking for jobs out there? Small custom jobs or perhaps even consider doing stock products?

  10. #10
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    Patche
    I think doing some advertising for yourself might be a good idea.
    Hi Patche, thank you for your comments.

    When you say advertising, what would you suggest. I went the free option and started a Facebook Group Page (http://www.facebook.com/pdwebdev)

    Have you tried looking for jobs out there?
    Not really, working Full Time with the government so would need to take some time off to do this.

    Small custom jobs or perhaps even consider doing stock products?
    Yes trying to get an old client to convert offline NTC website to Joomla CMS, so far it's just money holding the project back as they are a not-for-profit company

  11. #11
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    I'd say target a particular type of web-design and go from there. For example, WordPress design is very popular and you can find lots of forums out there that have listing for programmers/designers to design them new themes and such.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by motion2082 View Post
    Hi Teknoaxe, thank you for your comments. I have always liked green,white and grey. When you mention the bottom, are you referring to the footer or the dot points on the home page? Not too sure what you mean by if my work section were a resume. What fonts did you struggle with, the size, highlighting or the font type?
    I was referring to the text describing what you do. There are about three to four different fonts going on in that section. Again, this may be a little outdated and something that isn't entirely related, but most people agree that simplifying the number of different fonts in a resume can make it easier for people to discern what you are advertising a little easier.


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