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30 Minute Redesign: Cathiegraphy

Week 64: Cathiegraphy

This week I will be redesigning: Cathiegraphy.

In the space of 5 minutes I can identify some of the key strengths and weaknesses of this design, and sketch out a mockup.

STRENGTHS:

  • Definitely one of the better designed websites I’ve had to redesign. It’s creative, eye catching and generally well designed.
  • The welcome video is a cool way to showcase Cathie’s work and is framed in a creative photo montage area.
  • The logo typography is elegant and attractive, and the logo icon is unique, well designed and helps further Cathie’s personal brand.
  • There’s good social media integration, with the use of a bird to evoke ‘Twitter’.

WEAKNESSES:

  • I didn’t realize there was a menu at all for the first 5 minutes I spent on this site. It’s simply not prominent enough.
  • The welcome video seems like too much effort. Rather than being immediately presented with examples of Cathie’s work, users must hit play, wait for the video to load, and then wait for each image to play within the video.
  • There is nothing really drawing the user further into the website, a definitely lack of calls to action!
  • There is no clear welcome area to explain the site or what sets Cathie apart.

My Redesign

As always, I was limited by the 30 minute time-frame, but I tried to improve upon several of Cathiegraphy’s features, adding a few design flourishes and a clearer layout that promoted content over wasted space:

MY AIMS FOR THE REDESIGN:

  • I designed a bolder, more prominent menu area to help capture user’s attention and make the site easier to navigate.
  • I added a textual welcome area to the site, which better explains Cathie and what she does.
  • I integrated a call to action button, drawing users further into the site.
  • I added an immersive panoramic photography website background, which has the option for a jquery rotating image effect or similar. This instantly displays Cathie’s talents to new visitors.

Before/After:

Here is a quick comparison between the original design and my 30 minute redesign. Sure, my design could be more polished, but I believe that a lot of the basic elements have been improved upon, creating a more pleasant browsing experience.

How and Why To Enter 30 Minute Redesigns

You can have the chance to have your website redesigned in next weeks post. All you need to do is leave a comment to this post with your website address and why you think it needs a redesign.

The Benefits of Getting Your Site Redesigned Include:

  • Most obviously – a FREE redesign job!
  • Your website gets exposure to PSDFAN’s thousands of readers
  • You understand how to improve your website. This isn’t just a redesign, it’s a lesson in design principles.
  • You will get emailed the .psd of your redesign and can do whatever you want with it!

NOTE: I can only accept sites with English content, as foreign language websites are simply too hard for me to work with.

So please, leave a comment today for a chance to have your website redesigned next week!


About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

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14 Comments:

  1. Dianne says:

    I find white or light lettering on grey very hard to read (especially if it is very small). You’ve added to the problem, for me, by having a semi-translucent background over top a very busy background which doesn’t really let me see the graphics very well nor read the text very well (kind of a double miss for me). Do you take readability into consideration? I find more and more sites seem to ignore the fact that not everyone is 20-years-old with 20-20 eyesight. Some people find white on black or white on grey to be nearly invisible or vibrating (and thus tiring) to the eyes. Any solutions for that other than “live with it” (which is what one web designer with light blue on medium blue background told her readers). I don’t have a website so I don’t need a redesign. I’m just asking. Thanks!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for commenting Dianne. That’s actually a very valid point, and accessibility is of course a vital issue in design. I suppose with more time I could have tried a white content box that wasn’t see through. The background would still be effective as it would fill the entire browser width, so be wider than the example shown in my screengrabs.

  2. Stephanie says:

    A really nice redesign, and as you said one of the harder websites to redesign as it has some really nice features in the original. I think that a video or moving image could improve this and the suggestion of that background changing could be a really nice feature. Thinking about that though this could distract from the content that you have consciously put in. Maybe a call to action to bring a video up in a light box with all the work on if moving image is something that the client would want. Video is really important and a lot of sites are introducing them into their websites so I think this could be brought back in but not as such a focal point.

    • Tom says:

      Yeah definitely one of the best site’s I’ve had to redesign. I guess the video is a personal preference, but I would prefer to see it on the inner ‘media’ page than the homepage, as I feel my background design helps showcase the work instantly in a more impactful way. A lightbox solution could also definitely work though.

  3. Chris says:

    This was a great design from the start, but I agree with every point you made Tom. Your design is easier to follow and I think the points about the video are really spot on. I would be just as likely to close the page and move on as clicking and waiting for a video. To Stephanie’s point about having a link to pull up the video, I think you could replace Cathie’s picture with a thumb from the video and have some text saying “Watch my welcome video!”

  4. Cathie Heart says:

    I’m very grateful that you’ve done an analysis and 30 minute redesign of my site. All the points you’ve made are spot on and I will be taking a lot of lessons from this. The front page was good but could be so much better and usable with an action to draw my viewers and potential clients in. Also thank you for pointing out the menu .. I should learn how to do a heat map analysis to see where people are moving their cursors to see how people interact with the design.

    I like your big images background and would love to learn some HTML5 to be able to do this rather than rely on flash to do it. Lots of positive lessons and comments from above as well. All perfectly in time to help with the redesign and splitting of my CathieGraphy business into new halves of Commercial Photography & Design and then my Portraits & Weddings Photography.

    Thank you very much Tom for your thoughts and time.

    • Tom says:

      No problem Cathie, I really glad you liked my redesign. Give me a shout if you’d like me to email the .psd, or if you’d let me have a crack at a full redesign for your upcoming relaunch.

  5. Jason says:

    The website for Jefferson St. United Merchants Partnership (JUMP) is not my site. I am actually doing some volunteer marketing work for the non profit. I have been fighting with the founder to free up funds for a redesign but she wants to see what it will look like first. No designer is willing to put in that work without any money upfront. I hope it makes it to a 30 Minute redesign that I can show her.

  6. Wow this is amazing I voted for Cathie, and think her website is pretty good as is, however, I love the changes you have made. I would love to win a 30 minute redesign as this is something I have been thinking about doing.

  7. Eric Vasquez says:

    I really like what you have done with the redesign Tom! The strengths and weaknesses of the original website seemed to be spot on. I think the video is cool but to the point of some of the other readers, some people may not stick around and wait for a video to load. I think the same problem happens with websites that rely heavily on Flash.

    I think making the nav menu more prominent was a fairly straight forward fix, but a much needed one. I also really like how there is more of a textual area on the main page.

    The background for me is a bit busy, but after reading some of the other comments I think that another possible solution would be to have a slideshow below the text or next to the CTA that would allow users to see some of Cathie’s beautiful work right off the bat. Nice redesign overall!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks a lot Eric! I like your suggestion for a slideshow, that could definitely work well. It seems that a lot of people have agreed about the negatives of a video based or flash website though, so I’m glad that point held up.

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