Posts Tagged ‘portfolios’

Top 10 IMD Portfolios

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method wpgb::filter_content() should not be called statically in /home/shakehands/blog.iampaddy.com/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

Strict Standards: Non-static method wpgb::get_name() should not be called statically in /home/shakehands/blog.iampaddy.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-greet-box/wp-greet-box.php on line 970

In an effort to ‘give back’ [cheesy phrase I know] to the degree that got me to where I am today, I wanted to pass on some words of wisdom to the current year group. Interactive Multimedia Design, a primarily web design focused degree offered at the University of Ulster in Belfast, continues to produce a steady stream of top quality web designers each year.

top10

The students recently had to submit a portfolio site to promote themselves and their skills, so I thought I would display my chosen top 10 out of the 90 strong class to give them some praise and exposure for their work.  I didn’t judge them on any particular aspect but simply on overall quality, design and unique appeal. Hopefully the remarks I make about each will be of use to both the rest of the class and other web designers.

So in reverse order…

#10 - Chris Fearon

fearhsonic

Good

> Interesting design, a break from the norm.
> Chosen typeface and spacing indicates a sense of professionalism.
> Unique name is a selling point.

fearhsonic

Improvements

> The ‘tag cloud’ look for the about text is a bit unusual. Perhaps changing the colours instead of size to pull out the key words would be better.
> Content could be structured more effectively, some links are hidden within the page.

#9 - Brian Burns

brian burns imd

Good

> Clear indication of identity. This site is definitely Brian Burns’. :)
> About text is short and instantly pulled out with the blue background.
> Striking image is attention grabbing.
> Individual projects are nicely sectioned.
> Belfast Banter holding page is fantastic.
> ‘Available’ status is a nice detailed feature.

brian burns imd

Improvements

> Make sure alignment is perfect on every page element. A couple of pixels off can ruin a page’s professional look.
> Could push the Twitter, Virb, Delicious links more instead of just on the footer.

#8 - Shane McAstocker

shane mcastocker

Good

> Refreshing, unique style. It hasn’t got the usual web 2.0 vibe so it stands out from the crowd.
> Small details, like the Adobe icons in watercolour style, are also good ways to subtly push Shane’s style.
> Twitter status’ prominent location will encourage people to follow.

shane mcastocker

Improvements

> The ‘tweet tweet’ image could link to your twitter profile.
> Instead of scribbling out the active page link on the navigation you could circle it so it’s still readable.
> More alignment of the links at the bottom of the page keeps visual consistency.

#7 - Jonny Campbell

jonny campbell

Good

> Clear, professional and clean layout.
> ‘About text’ length and size are perfect. Including a funny remark puts the viewer at ease. Offering more details below the short intro in a much smaller font size does not overwhelm the viewer with text.
> Pushes ‘Gonzo Design’ but does not neglect ‘Jonny Campbell’.
> Including ‘In Under 150 words’ is a nice idea, puts the viewer at ease before starting a long piece of text.

jonny campbell

Improvements

> Strikethrough on visited links is a good idea for lists where you need to see where you’ve been, e.g. list of blog posts. Should not be used on navigation as people will come back to click multiple times.
> Perhaps larger images of your projects in the ‘work’ section, they should really speak for themselves with very little text.

#6 - Ryan Carlin

big panda

Good

> Fun branding with the Panda, memorable.
> Great use of icons to illustrate your key points. Love the Panda ears through the helmet. :)
> Simple colour scheme is a plus.

big panda

Improvements

> Too much text on the homepage. Should limit it to a few choice words with a ‘read more’ link.
> The capitalisation and 3 exclamation marks on the YOU!!! makes it look a little unprofessional along with the rest of the text, which is perfectly worded.
> The ‘check it out’ buttons could be improved visually.

#5 - Paul Wilsdon

paul wilsdon

Good

> One page layout is a nice change among the other portfolios.
> Simply using black and white is refreshing.
> I like the visual style with things like ‘By 2010 Digital Advertising…’. You’re saying a lot by just structuring the text in a creative way.

paul wilsdon

Improvements

> Scrolling could be smoother, would give it a nice finish and not make the viewer uneasy about using a different method of navigation.
> Perhaps the change in typeface is too drastic. Could be a better choice for the section headings.
> Could align up the text fields on the contact form.

#4 - Ciaran McGettigan

ciaran mcgettigan

Good

> Love the header, makes your name very memorable which is a big factor in a portfolio site.
> Automatic appearing contact panel is a great idea, saves the user from losing the page they are currently on.
> Cow icon is nice, adds a little bit of fun to the site. :)
> By using few colours and a clean look you allow people to focus on the content.

ciaran mcgettigan

Improvements

> Could perhaps make the navigation stand out a little more, perhaps with subtle rollovers.
> Seems to be nothing in the footer, perhaps you could put in contact details here also.
> You are missing a couple of link images on the right hand side links.

#3 - Caroline Smith

caroline smith

Good

> Fantastic subliminal messaging with the word ‘Beautiful’ in huge type. A great change from typical words usually found to describe web design.
> Striking homepage content, all done with text, subtle colours and gradients and not one screenshot. Well done.
> Portfolio showreel is effective.
> ‘Hire Me’ as a section heading is a great idea, stands out to potential employers.

caroline smith

Improvements

> Maybe make some distinction between the three call to action buttons on the homepage. Tell the user where you want them to go first by highlighting that button in particular otherwise they will always go for the leftmost one if they are all the same.
> The dark brown links and pinkish rollovers are a bit hard to read.

#2 - Suzy Johnston

suzy johnston

Good

> Has to be the simplest site of the top ten. Amazing what you can achieve if you strip it back to the basics. Very effective.
> Fantastic use of space, especially above your name, makes it really stand out well.
> Large but light titles are perfect.
> Great self promotion in your footer.

suzy johnston

Improvements

> A tiny piece of text with each project, even as a transparent rollover on the image would perhaps help out viewers.
> Apart from that it’s perfect. :)

#1 - SkipSkap

I had to choose SkipSkap as the number one portfolio. It’s superbly designed, very memorable and achieves everything it should.

skipskap

Good

> Getting your name out there straight away in the centre of the homepage, will be remembered.
> Great branding with the name and logo, also very memorable, and fun to say. SkipSkap!
> Contact form design is great.
> Ripped up image on homepage is very unique.
> Colour scheme and background textures are really well suited.
> Choice of font and style are very professional.

skipskap

Improvements

> Too much text on the about page. Strip it back to exactly what employers will want to know and pull out key words with colour.

Information to Everyone

Well that took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think it was great to see what talent there is in IMD. I had it narrowed down to about 20 earlier and then scaled that back to a top 10. It was tough job and there are many other sites in the class that have fantastic features. These top 10 however have a great mixture of everything and deserve the credit in my opinion.

These choices are of course my opinion and everyone else would make different decisions about the best portfolio sites. I tried to make most of the suggested improvements useful for everybody.

Masters

If you want to find out more about the Masters course you can read either my blog post or Lee Munroe’s to find out some of our opinions and thoughts.

Talk to Me

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @PaddyDonnelly and if any of you who weren’t chosen want me to talk about their site then just email me paddy@iampaddy.com. I’ll be more than glad to give my thoughts on how to improve.

What advice would you give to…?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method wpgb::filter_content() should not be called statically in /home/shakehands/blog.iampaddy.com/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

Strict Standards: Non-static method wpgb::get_name() should not be called statically in /home/shakehands/blog.iampaddy.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-greet-box/wp-greet-box.php on line 970

A week ago, I gave everyone the opportunity to part with some advice for anyone they deemed fit to receive it.  Thanks to everyone who submitted!  The results of this mass collaboration post are listed below, with some great advice from a wide range of people, including bloggers, designers, ninjas, chefs and marketers.

Advice to: Women

Stop worrying about how big your tush is. A sour disposition makes it look bigger than it really is. Smile–a lot. As we age, no one really notices the flaws but they do notice when you are bitchy, grumpy and generally unappreciative.
Love your man. Stop trying to be a pseudo-feminist. Men are simple. They like food, sex and communicating with their buddies. They also love you when you are happy, content and not complaining about the way the sun sets.

Life is short. Smile so much it hurts. Laugh at yourself every minute you can. It’s infectious.
Try to remember you were a kid once and how great that was. Be a kid. Stop trying to rule the world and climb to the top.

Success is in the smiles you gave and the laughs you encouraged.

There. I said it. That’s my advice to women.

Advice to: Everybody, but mostly Bloggers and Designers

Maybe it’s cliche, but do not bite off more than you can chew! This involves only taking on projects that you can handle and projects that you will be able to maintain. When you do too much, you end up doing nothing. I can testify to this myself. Often times I think I can juggle 5 different projects and still do my homework and eventually I have to abandon certain projects - that makes me feel like crap. For example, instead of publishing five rushed articles everyday, maybe just write one really good, polished article every week. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take risks. Risks are good and can prove rewarding. Simply take them in moderation.

Advice to: Web Designers

I just did a little screencast about a tip to help keeping your code organized in dreamweaver.

Advice to: Cooks around the world

The best advice I can give is around food so I would say……Make sure not to over cook steak! Try it medium rare and you will get to like it and eventually totally love it!

Advice to: Non-Profits

If you think that you know everything, then surround yourself with lot’s of very smart people - just in case ;-)

Advice to: Designers/Developers

Always keep learning and improving your skills. In a fast paced field, stay on top of the design community, keeping up with the latest trends, learning new software, and broadening your skill level is essential. Hard work and dedication pays off in the end.

Advice to: Designers/Developers

Always Remain Teachable.

Advice to: Songwriters

The first draft is always crap. Even if you love it. Never write without humour and humanity. Write concise, meaningful lyrics. No filler. Sing in your own accent, character and style. Never underestimate the power of the first inversion and the octave leap.

And most of all, write more. There’s never an excuse not to have written another song.

Advice to: People who walk in the middle of the pavement

When I’m out for a run get out of my way!

Advice to: Google

Please make your captchas readable.

Advice to: People learning CSS

Use Eric Meyer’s CSS reset to get rid of all the default browser settings before styling things the way you want them to look.

Advice to: Everyone

I advise you to read this blogpost at Minor Issues.

Advice to: Everyone

In memory of my mum, Ann Sewell, “Don’t put off till tomorrow, what you can do today”. It’s like she knew.

Advice to: Anyone

Todays musings: Don’t leave things to the last minute. Don’t let someone unreliable do something just to avoid confrontation. There is no such thing as too much coffee.

Advice to: Slow Walking Pedestrians

Please if you are looking to take a nice stroll in nyc on a busy day do so on the side and not the middle of the sidewalk. I BEG YOU!

Advice to: Aspiring Ninjas

Remember not to carry your throwing stars in your pants pocket. Use a specially designed accessory belt instead.

Advice to: My Co-workers

I would REALLY keep close your valued possessions at work this week. Office pranks will NOT be made on ME this week. :-D

Advice to: Web Developers/Designers

Our profession is unique, and we should be unique as well. We should strive for greatness to further our field and help others along the way. Technology is a great thing, and we should all do our part in contributing to the web and Design community in general. If you want to get noticed in your field and make a difference, people are going to look at what you did, and how you helped the Development/Design community advance. Whether it be your great resources, or your great web application or site that you created that helps others enjoy the internet even more, or even giving fellow developers your time and advice. Whatever it is, don’t give up on it, keep your head in the game, and finish what you start. Keep learning and achieving your goals. Do what you love and Others will notice your hard work. And you will be a success at it.

Advice to: Anyone and Everyone

There is a difference between what you are willing to do and what you have to do to succeed.

Advice to: Politicians

Regret everything

Advice to: Independent musicians and music businesses

Understand the internet properly. Not just its mechanics - but the kinds of connections it creates and the different behaviours it encourages. Accept that this is the way it is, and then capitalise on that fact.

Advice to: Bloggers

Forget your SEO and your web design. Write articles that will make people either 1) die from excitement or 2) overwhelm with knowledge.

Advice to: Everyone

The Bible, a good read… ;)

Advice to: Everyone

The best quote I ever read is frighteningly simple - “often the obvious is not apparent” (I can’t remember where I got it!)

With hindsight, the development of the iPod was obvious… but if it was so obvious why didn’t Sony or someone build it?

“Well-informed people know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to transmit voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of NO practical value.” - Boston Post, 1865, quote from an article concerning the arrest of a man who had been attempting to raise funds for work on a telephone.

“I don’t really foresee any commercial possibilities for COMPUTERS and I predict a world market for maybe FIVE computers!” -Thomas Watson, 1940, Chairman of IBM

In short, many things are only obvious after they have been built/created/designed/introduced!

Advice to: Start-Ups

Make money now!

Advice to: Visitors to London

First thing to do when arriving in London is invest in an Oyster card - It will be much cheaper in the long run and you can reuse the next time you visit London!

Advice to: Everyone

There’s no substitute for hard work. To be a little more precise, about 10,000 hours worth.