Author Topic: A new web site I am working on... opinions?  (Read 629 times)

Offline Sassy

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2003, 01:28:53 AM »
i think designing your site for what you like is one of the cardinal sins of website design. if you want to sell your stuff to people, you have to design for -them-. have you done any market research on your potential buyers? Maybe they don't like flash or maybe the majority are on dial-up.

My point is, that if you really want this to be a commercial site, you have to come at it from a sales and marketing perspective, not necessarily an artistic one. The two can go hand in hand, but not always.

granted  maybe our tastes on this forum are different than your average buyer. that's why you need to do a little market research. (maybe you have, though, i'm not trying to say that you haven't)

with that said, i do really like your pipes! :)
Hey, man, you're harshing my mellow.

Offline Nuada

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2003, 01:48:16 AM »
Nah you'd notice if there was :D
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Offline ArbitraryDesign

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2003, 08:09:30 AM »
Quote
i think designing your site for what you like is one of the cardinal sins of website design. if you want to sell your stuff to people, you have to design for -them-. have you done any market research on your potential buyers?

with that said, i do really like your pipes! :)


Hi Sassy.

I agree with your statement... for any site other than an art site.
In fact I have done 14 years of "market research", and have learned many hard lessons along the way.
The cardinal one being: Make art and sell it. Don't make art to sell.
For me, this includes how I present my work.

An art site is different from other types of commercial sites. Granted, my pipes are a commercial item, but what holds true for my sculpture holds true for them as well:

People who buy art are buying from one who has an aesthetic sensibility that is compatible with their own. They are willing to pay a little (sometimes a lot) more for an object that was created by someone they can relate to... especially if the object "speaks" to them in some way..

While I do have hopes of commercial success for this site, I will not sell out my own artistic sensibilities by pandering to the masses. Therefore, I create and then market specifically to people who like what I do, as opposed to making crap tailored to the lowest common denominator or current trends.

In my (not so) humble opinion, graphic and web design is every bit as much an art form as painting or sculpture.
I am a Flash web site designer. That is what trips my trigger. I am bored by most HTML sites and feel the envelope should be pushed wherever possible. The Internet has limitless possibilities for conveying information, and I refuse to believe that HTML is the be-all, end-all of web design.

I am not saying that Modern Smoke in any way pushes the envelope as far as what's possible in web design. I'm sure everything I have done was done somewhere else... probably even better than I have done it.
But I am completely self-taught (both art and web design) and this site is a step up for me, personally.

Also, I am designing with an eye for the future, not for people who cling to 486 pentiums and then insist the rest of the world should tailor their web sites to the limitations imposed by that outdated equipment.
If the music industry felt that way, we would still be listening to LPs and 8-Track tapes.

I recognize that many people still use older machines (which is why I'm building an HTML site as well), but that is changing daily... and my experience has shown me that the people most likely to buy my stuff are geeks with relatively recent model computers.
The folks who are unwilling to wait a few extra moments for something unusual or "creative for its own sake" are NOT likely to buy my work... they have different priorities than my customers, or I.

There is a fine balancing act that takes place whenever I work on one of my sites. I must weigh functionality against aesthetics at every turn.
I try to exceed my previous work, while not getting so elaborate that current technology can't handle the file sizes.
I try to make something that is engaging, unexpected and humorous (where appropriate) while not getting so "over the top" that it begins to look unprofessional.
And mostly, I try to enjoy what I am doing and feel challenged by it.

So, I agree with you in principal. For most people, a web site is a means to an end. It is designed specifically to market a product / service or to convey information.
But for an art site, it should also convey a sense of the artist's personality and aesthetic sense. People who buy from artists are not just buying a thing, they are buying a piece of the artist.
Art's value is not intrinsic, it is subjective.

Ultimately, I didn't quit my day job 14 years ago, and suffer through years of poverty and stress, just to crank out commercial product and market it. I became an artist to do what I want and then find people who like it.

I once audited a sculpture class at a local university. For two weeks, the instructor would saunter in and then endlessly expound upon what is "valid" art and what is not.
I stopped going to his class after two weeks because he wasn't interested in teaching technique, and I couldn't give a flying fuck what he thought was "valid" art.
I was there to learn the nuts and bolts... and I am just arrogant enough to believe that I am qualified to determine for myself what is valid aesthetically.

In a way, I feel the same about this HTML vs. FLASH debate that begins every time I post my URL somewhere.
I like Flash and that is the medium I intend to use. My interest is in making my Flash sites as functional, interesting and attractive as possible.
So whenever I hear someone tell me (a Flash web site designer) that I should ditch the Flash and stick to HTML, it reminds me of the guy who once told me (and I am quoting):

"Sculpture doesn't sell well because nobody has room for it.... You should forget about this sculpture bullshit and take up painting. That's where the real money is".

And my response to him was (also verbatim):
"Get the fuck away from me, you clueless, degenerate, spawn of mediocrity."
Needless to say, he wasn't pleased...  but fuck him.
He wasn't going to buy anything anyway.
Also, he was wrong. Online * is where the real money is.  :D

In the past, when I have tried to explain all this to people, they tell me things like:
"Well if you really feel that way, why are you trying so hard to convince us?"
Or:
"Well if you don't want to hear our opinions, don't ask for them."

Perhaps you are thinking the same thing right now, but I am only taking the time to explain because you took the time to look at my site and tell me your views. It seems only courteous to respond honestly.
And I am interested on your views... but that doesn't mean I am going to agree with all of them.

Anyway, I do appreciate all the comments and the time you took looking at my web site. Some of your comments were helpful and will be implemented... others I disagreed with.
But I assume all your comments to be made in the spririt of helpfulness and I bear no grudges toward anyone who thinks differently than I.
I hope you feel the same way.  :D

Cheers,

Robert
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Offline Ranges

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2003, 08:59:50 AM »
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This is a standard disclaimer and quite neccessary for any "tobacco" site housed in the US. The LAST thing I need is parents in my face due to their children looking at a site they don't approve of. This disclaimer is reiterated in the "purchase" section, and will be stated again on the PayPal order page when  it is complete.

*nods understandingly*
We have our own rabid 'family first' christian conservatives over here as well. I sympathise. ;)

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I am designing my site for the future, not for people clinging to outdated technology.

That means an XML version, not HTML then, i suppose?

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Bottom line: I like animated sites (if tastefully done)... so that is what I try to make.

Fair enough. :)

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Also, pardon me if this is insensitive, or politically incorrect, but I am not designing my art and graphics related sites for blind people. Quite frankly, I don't see the point.

Well, it would make your site more accessible to a LOT more people.


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The banner image IS a link... are you suggesting a text link as well?

Yup.


Gotta jet, more later (i hope)
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Offline Piter

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2003, 02:43:10 PM »
Quote
... I am bored by most HTML sites and feel the envelope should be pushed wherever possible. The Internet has limitless possibilities for conveying information, and I refuse to believe that HTML is the be-all, end-all of web design.

Also, I am designing with an eye for the future, not for people who cling to 486 pentiums and then insist the rest of the world should tailor their web sites to the limitations imposed by that outdated equipment.
If the music industry felt that way, we would still be listening to LPs and 8-Track tapes.

I recognize that many people still use older machines (which is why I'm building an HTML site as well), but that is changing daily... and my experience has shown me that the people most likely to buy my stuff are geeks with relatively recent model computers.
The folks who are unwilling to wait a few extra moments for something unusual or "creative for its own sake" are NOT likely to buy my work... they have different priorities than my customers, or I.


First of.. I'm not trying to turn you away from making a flash site if that's what you want to do!! :) I think it's logical for an art site to be arty (and resorting to Flash to make it so)

But one comment you're making I'd like to respond to (and that is in favour of HTML ;))

You say you're designing for the future:

Quote
Also, I am designing with an eye for the future, not for people who cling to 486 pentiums and then insist the rest of the world should tailor their web sites to the limitations imposed by that outdated equipment.


But the one thing that is starting to develop is internet on all kinds of other devices,  not just your standard computer. Internet on PDAs and especially mobile phones are a growing phenomenon (especially amongst the geeks and the other early adopters). And the one thing they have in common is that they can deal with HTML, okay... They may make a mess of the layout, but the information is coming across and that's what counts.

Your site is not the typical example to be watched on a PDA/mobile phone and you're correct in saying that you built it the way you did in my opinion.. Just don't 'write off' HTML just yet ;)

Offline Olli

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2003, 05:10:09 PM »
Flash is dead!
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Offline ArbitraryDesign

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2003, 05:24:58 PM »
oops!
Visit Arbitrary Design online:
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Offline ArbitraryDesign

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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2003, 05:33:54 PM »
Quote
[..]
That means an XML version, not HTML then, i suppose?


Actually, to be honest, I don't know squat about XML.
It may be that I will someday make an XML version of the site, but I am only willing to devote a certain amount of my life to web design.

My "real" work is sculpture and I tend to resent anything that takes me away from it. Promotion is neccessary to keep from starving, but that's a whole different balancing act..lol

I have spent quite a bit of time learning how to use HTML... plus Flash (Swish actually), Photoshop, Illustrator, RealDraw Pro, Dreamweaver and other programs... and I still have a lot to learn.
I hadn't really intended to devote huge chunks of my life to learning each new program or language as they become popular....
But if XML will be of benefit, I will look into it.

Also, to Ollie:
Flash is NOT dead. It has just been utilized in tacky ways most of the time.
(perhaps my site even falls into that category..lol)
SWF format is the best game in town right now. When something better comes along, I'll look into it.

Piter:
I haven't written off HTML... I just find static sites dull. I like motion and a sense of interaction that is not possible with HTML.

Robert

PS.
I fully expected to be bashed for my last post. It's a pleasant surprise to find open minds here...
Or at least people who don't feel the need to get pissed off if their advice is not blindly accepted...lol
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Offline ArbitraryDesign

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A new web site I am working on... opinions?
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2003, 01:20:39 AM »
I just wanted to let anyone reading this thread know that I have moved my web site to it's own domain.

The new, and permanent, URL is:

http://www.modernsmoke.com

Cheers,

Robert
Visit Arbitrary Design online:
http://www.arbitrarydesign.com

"Is that a chrono-synclastic infundibulum in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"