10 Trends in Photography Website Design

In the last few years we’ve seen web technologies make great strides. We’ve seen the consolidation of web standards, the birth of new browsers, and a cadre of web enabled mobile devices come to the scene. New applications of HTML and JavaScript have paved the way for innovative and more efficient uses of technologies, driving heavy Flash based sites to near extinction. Now we’re seeing a very realistic web ideal come to life. One that encompasses aesthetically pleasing design balanced with a robust but efficient functionality.
The richness of the web is no longer compromised by misused technologies and limited bandwidth. Photography websites are not oblivious to the overall impact these trends can have. And to successfully navigate this space, photographers can look to the future optimistically by paying close attention to current web design trends.

More HTML, Less Flash
Flash use is becoming much more specialized and limited. Since there is no easy way to make Flash SEO friendly, people started asking for less of it. It has also been touted as a slow, inefficient, resource consuming application. Then Apple made the bold move of restricting Flash in its handheld devices, adding yet another nail to the ailing technology’s coffin. However, Flash still has its place and stands strong among the web’s rich media elite. But today its once ubiquitous power is slowly dwindling. A combination of technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are supplanting many of the functional features once only possible with Flash. In photography sites, where the focus is primarily set on the images, slideshow animation alternatives can be easily reproduced with JavaScript. Flash is slowly becoming obsolete in the photographic web design category giving way to a more appropriate technology. For its ease of use, universal acceptance, and SEO benefits, HTML will continue to gain popularity as the technology of choice for building photography websites.

No Music Please
We’re seeing less audio in photography websites. Why? Because a lot of people are simply annoyed by music blasting through their speakers unexpectedly. After all, they’re visiting a photography site to look at images, not listen to music. Audio files also increase a website’s download time substantially. Ultimately all these factors have a negative impact on the user experience. If for nostalgic purposes music can still be utilized, and if done tastefully it can add ambiance to the presentation. A smart way of adding music to a site could be accomplished by removing the auto-play functionality and letting the user choose when to listen. This is the new approach to implementing audio on the web, and we expect to find more photography sites without music.

Photoblogs are In
As the web grows more social and interactive, photographers are looking for different ways to display their work through a richer web format. Photoblogs have become the solution of choice considering the surge in popularity of blogs across the web. Photoblogging platforms like Flickr, Tumblr, and Photoblog have also broken ground in this area and introduced a new format for photographic expression on the web. Now photographers are following suit because photoblogs provide an alternative to static sites that would not be updated in years. Maintaining a photoblog is a great way to increase interaction with users through comments and to share a photographer’s vision with the rest of the world by keeping images fresh.

Search Engines are Important
Many photographers are beginning to understand the power of SEO. Search engines are the nexus between users and a website, or translated, between clients and a business. Implementing a smart SEO strategy is always beneficial. This is achieved by using smart copy and relevant HTML tag structures that will get a site noticed in search engines. And as the web continues to grow in competing information and noise, hyper local search will be the main driver of targeted traffic. This occurs when information about a service on a website is made relevant to a specific local region. An example of this search trend would be creating a SEO strategy for photography services in San Mateo, California, in an effort to rank first on searches for this service in the region. Keyword search will continue to play an important role and should always be part of any web strategy.

Mobile and Tablet Readiness
With the explosion of smartphones, iPhones, and iPads you can expect that an increasing number of visitors to any website will be using some sort of mobile device. To take advantage of the new digital channels a site must be created with these viewing devices in mind, fully conversant in a variety of screen resolutions. By making a photography website mobile and tablet ready viewership will not be affected and will actually increase in the coming years.

Elegant Typography
The days of generic and boring fonts on the web are over. Font embedding technologies like Typekit and Cufon have allowed for creative uses of typography in web design. The variety and options are almost limitless. Special typography enhances the overall effect and experience of a site, adding to the aesthetic appeal of a site’s photography. Much like the rest of the web design landscape we imagine better and more elegant applications of typography across photography websites.

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