Sunset over Formby beach with dramatic clouds and a channel of water in the foreground

Sunset over Formby beach with dramatic clouds and a channel of water in the foreground

News

Re-Designed Zest Images Website Now Live

We are pleased to announce that our re-designed website is now live. We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for the past couple of months and we feel that the new design is a lot cleaner and more modern so we hope that it is well received.

We now have a random image displaying near the top of every page (not just the home page, as with the previous version of the site). We’ve done this because as photographers, we feel that our site should make heavy use of images. There’s lots of tweaks we still need to make to the site (we’re still not happy with the layout of the home page for example, and expect to start displaying some news/blog entries there too at some point), but we feel that it’s now good enough to launch so we decided to take the plunge.

Another major change is the width of the website. The previous site was 750 pixels wide and aligned to the left - this was great for users who were using 800x600 screen resolution, but meant that those with larger screens had a fairly narrow website. The new website is 960 pixels wide and centrally aligned. It was a tough decision in making this change, but believe us when we say we only did so after careful consideration and after exhaustively analysing our website usage statistics. We found that around 97% of our website visitors had monitors capable of at least 1024x768 screen resolution, so took the decision to give a better user experience to the overwhelming majority rather than a small minority. We anticipate more and more users to be using large screens as time goes on as LCD screens become more popular.

The website code should validate and this, combined with the CSS-based layout (the old design used an older table-based layout), should make the site more accessible and quicker to load. Depending on feedback over the next couple of months, we might introduce a mobile version of the site (which accounts for some of the 3% of our users who have a smaller screen resolution) for the growing audience of users who use their mobile phones and PDA’s for web browsing, and we might even introduce user-selectable colour themes for the site.

We’re still working on the search facility to refine the results, but one new feature you should notice is the image tags on the home page. This should make it very easy for users to quickly browse the images in our gallery.  Speaking of which, it’s a huge job for us to actually get more of our images online, and this is still in progress. We have several thousand images in the archive, but realistically, we are probably aiming to get hundreds of images online rather than thousands. We have comprehensive image collections for locations such as Liverpool, Merseyside, North Wales, the Lake District, Yorkshire, Florence, and Rome. If you have any specific requests for images, please let us know and we’ll make a note to escalate the uploading of these onto the site.

The content management system which powers the website means that it’s not only much easier for us to update the website, but it also means that all the functionality the site delivers is driven from a single central source - the text pages, the image galleries, the news blog, the contact forms, and the RSS feeds. We’d previous hard coded the main pages, had a separate database for managing the images, a separate script for running the search facility, a separate piece of software for powering the blog, etc.

We’d love to hear feedback on what our clients and users think of the new site, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any suggestions, bug reports, or other feedback and we’ll promise to take everything on board, thanks.