Website address: http://webleeddesign.com/
We Bleed Design, created by Bryan Katzel is a unique and interesting way of displaying an online portfolio. It is initially fairly clear that it is a design portfolio. This is done through the name of the website itself, “We Bleed Design”, and the use of prominent headings such as “Design, Illustration and other Digital Keepsakes”. The thing that isn’t clear initially, is what sort of design Bryan actually does.
Straight away, Bryan tells us it’s his portfolio and has links to more information about himself, and to email him.
When we follow the navigation item to his work it becomes more clear that most of his work is print based, but that he also does web based design.
Clicking any navigation item takes us through a very unique automated scroll which runs over a transparent PNG to create a rather memorable experience with a seemingly animated page. The same “animation” occurs when we click on other navigation items, some run for longer than others though, depending on how far down the page we go. Alternatively, we can manually scroll through the page and see the animation at our own pace.
The downside of this customised functionality, though highly unique and memorable, is that the navigation does not follow the user, it remains at the top of the page. In order to get back to it, one of the many “Up” buttons must be clicked. These “Up” buttons are plentiful, but they do not really stand out and unless the user knows they are there and what they do, it leaves them without navigation. If the user does know they are there and understand their function, it makes for a slow navigation experience as the user must wait for the reverse scroll to occur before they can then navigate to the next section. This does have a negative effect on usability, despite making for an interesting response to user interaction. It is excellent to see though that this functionality is accessible on numerous browsers and platforms, and so the functionality isn’t lost for certain people.
Bryan has included a blog on his page that seems to be updated, but not regularly – only 3 times in the past year. Despite this, and the heavy use of cartooning in the design, the content does come across professionally. It would be fairly easy to effectively incorporate a Twitter or Flickr stream into the design and maintain the existing theme and aesthetic without detracting from it. It is unfortunate though that he hasn’t utilised these or any other form of social media or networking to allow users to interact with him and his website.
In all, We Bleed Design is very unique and personal, and it certainly sticks in the users mind due such a high level of customisation and unusual features, however, this does make the usability of the website a little poor. The accessibility of this website is excellent and the interaction is unique but it is not regularly updated and there is no links to other forms of social media. The contact information, while present, is not prominent, and many of the portfolio items say “coming soon”, giving the impression of incompleteness, which detracts from the overall professionalism of the website.