Saturday, November 17, 2007

Comparing Photo-Sharing Sites

I've been researching today on what web site I want to use to share photos. I compared Flickr, Shutterfly, Snapfish and Picasa. Here's what I found:

Flickr - more community-driven
  • a Yahoo! company - can use yahoo id to sign up
  • can search for photos without logging in or becoming a member
  • comes in other languages
  • can invite family and friends to view photos
  • basic accounts are free
  • can organize photos by tagging them or using collections and sets
  • can make stuff like cards, photo books, dvds, etc.
  • map function - map where you took your photos
  • tons of ways to upload photos

Shutterfly - more product-driven

  • free unlimited photo storage
  • picture sharing
  • pick up prints at Target stores
  • lots of photo products
  • order prints
  • Shutterfly Collections - 2 web addresses used to share photos with friends, add comments, and add other photos
  • Shutterfly Studio - upload, organize, edit, share, order, and create

Snapfish - product-driven

  • owned by HP
  • 20 prints free with first upload
  • unlimited storage
  • photo sharing
  • lots of products
  • must register or log in to view other pages than homepage

Picasa - community-driven

  • owned by Google
  • photo sharing
  • over 1 GB of storage
  • friends can download photos at same resolution to print
  • download other friends' albums to keep a copy for yourself to view and add comments

So, I've decided to go with Picasa. It's simple to use. I'm a fan of Google. Plus I don't need to order prints. And if I do, I'll choose Shutterfly, because I've used them before. Flickr is overwhelming to me, there's just too much going on with the web site. I like that it's people-friendly and has a large community, but I don't want that. I really like the fact that with Picasa your friends can download a photo of yours at the same resolution to print or whatever. That won me over.

Billboard Design for Small Businesses

The other day I noticed a billboard off of one of the busiest interstates in Florida. It was for a small business. There was a graphic or icon of the company enlarged as it being the whole billboard itself. I didn't recognize the graphic and looked for the company name. At the very bottom of the billboard was the company's web address, in small print. It was so small that I couldn't read it completely as I drove by. This was badly designed.

I took another look at billboard designs from major or familiar companies of the general public. Such as, Budweiser, Coke, Heineken, IKEA, and etc. These all use some sort of icon or graphic, such as a logo, that's recongized as a household name. Just like in the Budweiser billboard, they're using the clouds as the crown logo. Recognized companies are free to do that, to use elements of theirs in different ways. Such as enlarging a logo or graphic or some sort of element that belongs to the company. Or even a certain color, as with some IKEA billboards I have seen - yellow. Another example I see everyday is the Yellow Tail wine. A few years ago they used the logo as being most of the billboard with an illustration of an animal or something with a yellow tail. Now they have it as the illustration enlarged, taking up most of the billboard space, with the yellow tail and their logo small off to the side or bottom.

Small start-up companies shouldn't do this yet. It's confusing for the new viewer. They need to first establish their brand and be known to the general public before they can go all out with enlarging random graphics. Instead they should enlarge their logo or name to let it be known. Having the name of the company or the web address written small and almost hidden on a new billboard is not helping the company out. Let the name get out there first. Plus add an icon or graphic that goes with the business. If the small company is into real estate, then have a house graphic or photo with a sale sign. If the small company is into pet care, then have a photo of a dog or cat or even an illustration of animals. But the make the name of the company stand out against the graphic elements, not vice versa.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Veerle's Blog

I can't say enough how much I love Veerle's blog. I've decided to dedicate my first blog post of the month to her.

Almost everyday I visit her blog to read up on what's new and take a look at the archives. Today I was reading a post about a billing software that she wrote about. As I was looking through it, I noticed she had a screenshot of the application. It was a listing for an invoice and she had her rate listed on it. Now I know how much catching up I have to do on my skills so I could make the same! Anyways, the point I want to make is how honest Veerle is. And even though I don't personally know her, her blogs are like mirrors of how I want my future to be. She's a true inspiration to me and to many others as well as I noticed in the dozens of comments she gets on her posts!

Her blog is really helpful for me. I've learned about so many new applications and techniques to use as a freelancer. And this is perfect for someone new in the freelance world. Her designs are very unique also. I don't see where she finds time to even write a post. I barely have time to even comment!

I think it would be really great to meet Veerle someday maybe and get a chance to talk about design. (Maybe even work for her one day...)