Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Competitive Analysis - Professional Portfolio

For this part of the assignment I must conduct a competitive analysis on a professional portfolio. I must sum up the pros and cons of their designs in preparation for the creation of my own. I have chosen to analyse the portfolio of Chris Spooner, who is now an independent freelance designer having participated in a number jobs through his career. His site can be found here.


On the homepage you are instantly hit by a very bold image reel. This is great for grabbing the viewers' attention from the start, with a small insight into some of the work he has done. This is definitely going to encourage the viewer to go on throughout the site, learn a little more about you, and sample some more of your work.

Above the image reel is a very subtle neat header design. Both the logo and navigation are very clear, which is vital for the user to be able to navigate around the page.

Use of a very bold heading and subheading text gives you a good sense of hierarchy; important for navigating around each page. The most important information is also all found above the fold which is crucial to increase the chances of viewers continuing through the site.

The paragraphs below the fold line are poorly structured, and make me unsure where to go after reading the first one. This could be solved by dividing the sidebar more from the main content section.

The link to his personal blog is a very good touch on any page. Advertising your own work only increases its views, and your profile. The clever hover image also grabs your attention and makes you more aware of the link.

The footer is very simple and does exactly what it needs to. He could have possibly included a site map, but for a four page site I do not believe this in necessary. The small link saying 'going up?' is a very clever tool. The way in which it takes you to the top of the page is aesthetically pleasing, with one smooth movement.

About Page

The large bulk of textual content is very well structure on this page. The colours are comfortably distinguishable with the dark text on a light background. With a good size font and good line length, the text is easily readable.

Again, the uses of links to his blog are used. Here he has included his second one but it is a great advertisement for his work.

I like the use of the side bar for a small portfolio section. I personally think it is good that he has included the image of himself. It instantly gives you a more personal feel for his work and means you can put him into context.

He has used the section entitled: 'My other homes on the web' to advertise all his online work. This is a great use of links to a variety of different websites he has work on.

Portfolio Page

This is a very clear and precise way of displaying his work. The thumbnails are great for allowing you to quickly preview the work before you click on it. Using thumbnails also allows you to fit plenty on the page. One negative has to be the lack in information on each piece of work. A small piece of writing to describe the work would have helped me to put each piece into context.

Contact Page

This page is also very simple and clear. A good use of PHP for the small feedback form gives the readers simple communication means to him.

The section entitled: 'A few things to keep in mind' gives clear information as far as contacting him and the questions that can be answered upon initial contact. These are great outlines for anyone interested in his work. This is a very profession approach with very clear guidelines as to what he does, what you need to do, and what you should expect. This is something I should definitely take onboard when making my professional portfolio.


Some of the language used (especially in the headlines) is not of a professional standard. I know the intention is to be relaxed and reflect some personality, but personally I think a little more professionalism is needed.

Overall the portfolio is very professional looking and does exactly what it needs to without the fuss. It is also very user friendly and I can definitely take many positives from it.

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