My first impression of this site is that it is very artistic looking. I like the design and the colors very much. It seems well thought out and well put together. It is professional, while at the same time showing a lot of personality.
One of the first things that I see is the three pictures at the top of the page. They are very bold.I click on one and it takes me to what looks like a photo page. It seems that this is a photo blog entry.
Below the pictures are regular blog entries. This isn’t updated too frequently by the looks of it, but it is well designed. I think that Marios has a good eye for choosing striking pictures to pair with his articles.
As I delve around the site more I find that this is both a photo blog, a regular blog, and a portfolio for this person. He has combined all of his personal and professional work here, making it a one-stop shop for anyone that might need more information about him.
Next, I click on the Photography header. This takes me to a gallery page showcasing Marios’ work. There is a lot of content here, probably a little too much, but it is well organized. The page navigation is also pretty nice. I would say that it would benefit from having about half as may pictures on this page.
I’m also noticing that those three pictures at the top of the page are static and aren’t going anywhere. This is confusing, because although it does add some dynamic to the page, I think that if you aren’t putting your regular blog entries there either, then those pictures should be left off. It’s about consistency. They belong on the home page, but not on the other pages in my opinion. Also, the picture furthest to the right lines up with the sidebar, which makes it look part of the sidebar. I would recommend trying to differentiate this somehow.
Moving on to the Work section, here he has a list of his work with jump down links at the top. You can also scroll down for details and examples of this work. This is very usable and beautifully organized. I’m really impressed with it. My only complaint is there is no jump up link to move back to the top of the page without scrolling until the footer. I’m glad it’s there, but maybe it should be interspersed throughout.
Next I’m going to look at the archives section. This has a neat little blurb about what it is, and then a long list of all of his articles by month. This is good, but a little big. I’d prefer it to be condensed a little so that I could find what I might be looking for more quickly. Maybe even something as simple as making the fonts smaller would help.
Marios has an About Me section, which makes me blissfully happy. It’s got a nice personal introduction, and a personal picture. There are nice links to where he went to school, his resume and so on. Also, he gives us information about his photography and his gear. I like that he has a lot of nice bold links throughout, which compliment what he is saying, but aren’t totally intrusive. He has one section, though, called “What I’m Listening” which does make me break out into hives a little. If you have to have that section, which isn’t entirely useful because it doesn’t give any real information about music types or bands, please make sure it’s changed to “What I’m Listening To”, and don’t forget the punctuation at the end of the description.
The comments sections is also pretty drawn out, it’s nice to have it, but it would benefit from being condensed a touch.
I would also recommend switching to a more professional picture, similar to the one in the sidebar that reflects personality, but not too much personality.
The contact form is good. It also gives you his email address and access to his Facebook, Digg and Flickr profiles. The only problem is that after you enter your information an submit the form, the fields don’t automatically clear and there is nothing to indicate that it might actually have sent. This could result in multiple submissions… bad for the user and bad for Marios.
Other little things that I like are the fact that his logo up top acts as a home button throughout the site.
I’m instantly drawn to the subscribe button in the top right corner, which is a standard button that has been customized beautifully. When I click on it, it expands to give me options regarding which of his feeds I am selecting to subscribe to. I like the option, but my concern is that someone who isn’t entirely savvy might miss it, as it is so subtle, and think they are either done trying to subscribe, or that the button didn’t work.
The search the site function works perfectly. I like that it imports his Twitter feed. I’m not crazy about the logo… it feels a little cliche having the man standing there, but if it reflects the authors personality, then I can’t complain too much.
Do not make those top three pictures static. Keep them only on the homepage.
Fix the contact form so we have some kind of acknowledgement that information has been submitted.
Switch the picture on the About Me page to something more professional.
Do away with the “What I’m Listening” section, or fix the spelling and punctuation.
Make the archives font smaller.
Condense the comments on the About Me section.
Consider rethinking the Subscribe pull out option to something less subtle.
Honestly, this is a really great site. It needs a few minor tweaks, but overall this is lovely. As a personal blog, photo blog, and portfolio all in one it really hits the mark. I think that Marios should be nice and proud of himself!