~ 4 Minute 45 Second Read | Audio version below
I first made my portfolio site at the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2014. So, when I went to BCIT I was kind of stoked to have the extra time for my homework as my site was already up and running. Though, this was at the height of “parallax scrolling”. When I first saw a website with parallax, I’ll admit I liked it. It was new, different, and if the landing image was high quality and framed well – it looked impressive. Soon after, everyone started getting them. Eventually, we started noticing some negative aspects:
- Having to scroll lengths instead of keeping a static navigation menu (or jump links)
- 1 Page websites are not good for SEO as you are limiting your keywords
- A higher bounce rate because people may not know to scroll beneath your landing page or find your navigation
- If all your content is on one page, it may become heavier and load at a slower speed
Pressure to Change
Now, people have started refining the parallax site into what I would relate as the typical “Bootstrap” website. By this I mean that they have a landing image with just enough text or icons peeking out from the bottom so you know to continue to scroll down. This is still one of the most common websites that I see around right now and what (when I have considered changing my site) comes to mind.
At the end of our school year, we had to critique each other’s portfolio websites. Not for the projects in it but for the UI/UX and overall design of the website. My rating had some extremes of people that loved it and people that hated it. I can tell by the comments (which were mandatory) that most of the dislikes came from my website not keeping up with this cookie cutter of a design that was broadly accepted by everyone else. In this moment, I did feel a bit of pressure to change it. Should I confine to the norm and follow what’s the big thing right now? And then change it again once the newest trend hits?
Benefits of my Website
What I like about my website is I didn’t choose the template without first deciding what exactly it was that I wanted. For me, the most important part of a website is the experience. I wanted to limit the clicks and have everything be where it is expected. Click “About” and there’s a blurb on me, where to follow me on my socials, and my contact is permanently on my sidebar.
Blog posts were a big one for me. I’ve glanced at many templates where I wasn’t satisfied with the layout of their blog. The organization for this one is awesome. I have 5 posts to display per page and each one has a thumbnail, title, and an excerpt. You can organize your search via category or type in a keyword; you can scroll through my Archive (if perhaps you remember a post you liked from back in 2014); and there are no intrusions that will make you click away unexpectedly.
Then, most of all, my portfolio. I like the idea that you can see the majority of projects in one area and you get a sense of what they are without having to leave the page. The hover gives a bit of detail about it, you can sort via category on top, and there is some movement to keep your attention. I also knew I wanted the colours of my projects to pop and speak for themselves against a neutral black and white website (with the accent of my yellow logo). This helps each of them to stand out from the foundation of the site and interest the viewer.
I could go on in justifying my website from my perspective but overall; what I think the best part is, is that it’s timeless. I have had it since 2014 and none of the WordPress updates have jumbled it up or made it go haywire. It has always been a clear and easy navigation. In our final class at BCIT, we had to present our portfolio and go through our projects and while others would have glitches, mine went just as planned. I guess what I’m thinking is “don’t fix what’s not broken”. If your design works for you – perhaps you don’t have to worry about it. My fear is, that it will hinder my credibility as a designer if I don’t keep it changing. Don’t get me wrong, I do see the benefit of improving designs over time to recover from any negative aging –
– I mean I hope this isn’t how my classmates saw mine.
But in my opinion, I don’t think my website is there yet. It does exactly what I need it to and to me still appears professional.
I want to hear what you think! Do you think since it’s within my industry I should follow what’s the latest craze? Or do you think it’s suitable to stick with a website that works and let my projects/posts do the talking?
Comment down below your thoughts, I would be interested to hear some more perspectives. I’d love to see links to some of your favourite portfolio websites and what’s most important to you about them!
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