Nicholas’ Portfolio (NicholasPatten.com) delighted and confused the UXPanel. Overall, the design is solid and the work speaks for itself, but Nicholas is no where to be found.
My initial impression is very good. I’m looking at a site that obviously emphasizes design. The colors on the page work really well together. Whats more, the content area is a stark black and white, and that draws my eye right to it.
Unfortunately, when I go to the site, I’m forced to turn the volume down on my speakers. A video starts playing. Interesting. I’m looking at a list of videos on the right and listening to the video play on the left. While trying to make sense of what I’m looking at, I notice below the content area, an email address…
This site is very simple and fairly bright, but the purpose and intent of the site is a little unclear. After looking at it for a few minutes it looks to be an online video repository for a video editor. However, it gives us very little other information or incentive to stay on the site.
The site does not answer many questions on first view. What is this site? What is its purpose? I see a few words at the bottom, “editor – director of photography – web designer”. I guess this is who Nicholas is. I would REALLY appreciate the modern trend of a one to two sentence mission statement at the top of the website. Even if it was only “I’m Nicholas, an editor, director of photography, and web designer. Welcome to my portfolio”. This would answer a lot of my questions and help me understand why all these videos are here.
Alright, awesome. So I’ve gotten a pretty good impression of Nick. I’d like to see a resume and shoot Nick an email. Now things have gotten tricky. Looking around his site, I’m not seeing anywhere to do these things. I try clicking on “editor” or “director of photography” — no luck. Next I try clicking on firstname.lastname@example.org. After all, it is white, and it looks like a web URL. No luck. I’m a bit frustrated. What’s gone wrong here?
As a user, I’d like to know more about who’s running the show? Who is Nicholas Patten aside from an editor? What makes him unique and why should I contact him (which again, should be made easier)? Is he for hire?
I know that I’m looking at videos that somehow represent Nicholas Patten. The navigation is intuitive because it follows the layout of a video-site like youtube.
The interface is simple. You’re presented with videos worked on by Patten, and you’re given a very easy to use navigation bar to see/watch other videos he’s helped with. I have nothing against the simplicity in it all — Patten has done a great job directing his viewers exactly how I would expect to travel on a portfolio site such as his.
My recommendation would be to make those links clickable and add some more depth and detail to the site. Show me a deeper range on your portfolio and turn off the auto-play on your videos.
The problem with this site is that it brings me 98% of the way to hiring or contacting nick, but then doesn’t do much more for me. Without a business card to call Nick, or a resume in my hand, I’m left with simply a collection of videos and a name. Again, not that it’s not a beautifully presented collection of well-edited videos. Because I’m definitely impressed. I just wish he had made it easier to contact him or ask for references. Making it easier to learn more about (and contact) Nick would make this site a solid portfolio.
My biggest gripe is the fact it’s totally flash based. For me, flash should be used to enhance the user experience without detracting from usability. If the site were rebuilt with CSS and XHTML, I could see it being more accessible, faster loading, and have a better presence on the web in regards to findability.