Let me start by saying that for a period of 3 months I was relatively happy customer of Livebooks. Abstracting from some communication problems with designers of my 2950$ custom website, I have enjoyed good ol' flash-based website with a decent flash-based CMS. It wasn’t perfect, yet it worked and it served it’s purpose of displaying my work on the web in simple yet elegant way.
However, many of you, who follow me on Facebook probably noticed the publicity and assignments we have gained literally days after Facebook officially featured us using their various channels, including the main page with almost 100 000 000 followers worldwide.
Just to keep the long story short, new assignments = more photos = more movie clips = more behind the scenes material = growing need for more complex portfolio to show off our work for you guys, but also for future clients!
Before changing the portfolio designer, I have contacted Livebooks. I have asked for additional “PROJECT” section, more video pages, + more intuitive video “ABOUT” page. It appeared that every single extension I have requested will cost... a lot of hard earned $$$. Fair enough, portfolio development can be a challenging task and obviously requires a decent number of man-hours to complete!
However, the biggest disappointment came when I was notified many of the changes I had requested were simply incompatible with the present, yet ridiculously outdated, flash-based architecture of Livebooks content management systems. Hence, I decided to make a switch of portfolio host provider!
It didn’t take long to find an alternative: DesignX platform by aPhotoFolio.com
I am still working on the portfolio adding new galleries and project sections! So, our work on the site is not yet done! However, these are the key features of our new site that really make the difference, at least in my mind and ... pocket:
1. It is based on HTML5 language which is, supported natively by all modern browsers irrespective of the operating system, let it be Windows or OSX (no ugly and slow Flash plugins required, unless you turn on backwards compatibility option for old browsers on which you can have your portfolio displayed as a flash web-page).
2. Every single aspect of the website design, including font sizes, colors, font types, placement of menu items etc. customizable via simple yet very powerful CMS. No more countless hours spent on waiting for the response of Livebooks support to add extra page or little modification to my portfolio! Something that is really a great relief as I want to have full control over my portfolio!
3. No more ugly pop-ups with video clips! Everything nicely embedded within my new portfolio. Both custom-encoded H264 videos and VIMEO content! Enjoy this one: http://www.alpine-photography.com/PROJECTS/UNDERWATER-PIXELGUIDE/2/
4. Organizing project files: photos, videos, text pages is done with easy and very intuitive drag’n’drop interface.
5. Every single text page can be highly customized with additional user-defined HTML elements! Just check my NEWSLETTER section, programmed using ready-made MailChimp HTML widgets. http://www.alpine-photography.com/NEWSLETTER/1/
6. Easy to use, and very powerful PDF-portfolio builder! A truly cool feature for agencies and future clients that within a single click can retrieve the latest portfolio in a form of very elegant PDF file!
7. A dedicated iPhone / iPad app that retrieves your content from your portfolio CMS and uploads it to your mobile device so you can also show off your work to your clients at their location while being offline! Very, I mean very cool and fancy feature!
Summing up, would I recommend DesignX by aPHOTOFOLIO? Hell yeah! Considering the elegant and slick design, HTML5 coding efficiency and number of features it is an awesome package that comes at very reasonable price! Exactly half the price of my previous portfolio that was simply disappointing in very many aspects!
Interested in DesignX? Please follow this link! You should be able to setup your own trial website in relatively short time!