Posts Tagged ‘Naima Rauam’

Why Maintaining Your Own Site Works

September 3, 2012

A few years ago, St. John’s Episcopal Church on Staten Island hired us to revamp their website. The original site was serviceable but, well, blue-ish and gray-ish, and not very welcoming. Here’s a screenshot, captured from the Wayback Machine:

St. John's website in 2008
St. John’s Episcopal Church website in 2008.

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Designing Art in the Afternoon (fish in the morning)

December 26, 2011
Art in the Afternoon (fish in the morning)

Art in the Afternoon (fish in the morning)

Fast Smart Web Design has worked with Naima Rauam on her site, Art in the Afternoon (fish in the morning), through two design iterations. Both the first and current versions are notable for what’s not there: No colored backgrounds, no busy banner, no complicated navigational strategies. Instead, because the site is so simple, your eye is drawn to the paintings themselves.

Why is the site called “Art in the Morning (fish in the afternoon)”? Simple: When Naima started painting at the Fulton Fish Market, one of the fish mongers let her set up a gallery in his shop after the market closed at 11 a.m.

With Art in the Afternoon, we learned two things:

  • The more descriptions you include, the better search results you get. This is obvious, of course, but it’s time-consuming to write descriptions–and if you’re spending your time describing old pieces,  when do you get time to make new ones?  But as Naima adds more  text, her Google Analytics page shows more hits.
  • Simplicity is not for everyone. When we showed Naima’s site to Russians in our usability workshop in Moscow, they didn’t like it at all. But after we toured the Hermitage in St. Petersburg a few days later, we guessed why the minimalist style was so unpopular in Russia. If your ideal staircase looks like this, why would you like a plain white background?
Staircase at the Hermitage Museum

A staircase at the Hermitage Museum