Help an art gallery pick a website tool for its redesign.
July 7, 2010 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Help an art gallery pick a website tool for its redesign.

A small art gallery I'm associated with is looking to redo its website in-house. Basic site updates currently require two different tools (one antiquated, one too simple and not meant for this level of use), and the site still doesn't display the way anyone wants. Everyone agrees it's time to start fresh, and they've asked me for help choosing an application with templates to work with.

As such, I'm looking for a Mac-compatible web design product that will meet most of the gallery's needs through a couple of templates that come with the product. The site will ultimately be a homepage, a basic contact page, and two types of image galleries: one by medium (e.g. sculpture, painting) and one by artist. We can work with any basic template for the homepage/contact page, but the gallery template needs to have the following features:

1) A visitor should be able to view a series of images, each with a basic heading, all together on a page as well as one at a time (with "next" and "previous" options).
2) It should be easy for the person updating the site to add a new image to a gallery and re-order the gallery's images. (Currently, whenever a new image is added and the existing images rearranged to put the newer ones in front, all "next" and "previous" links need to be manually updated.)
3) It should be possible for a website visitor to zoom in on an image.

A few clarifying points:
1) The business does not need to take any orders via the website. The site's primary purpose is to drive phone/email inquiries and foot traffic.
2) The people developing and maintaining the site have average computer skills and are not experienced in web development. They strongly prefer the approach of modifying templates within a product (rather than hiring someone to develop the site) as it has worked fairly well in the past.
3) Cost is a factor, but "hey look, this one's free!" isn't the only good answer.
4) Similar art galleries don't have websites that are much better, so asking them for advice on what to choose isn't practical.
5) It's not a problem to have to upload an image twice (once for its medium and once for its artist).
6) The concern with using a web-based solution (e.g. WordPress) is that the person doing most of the site updates (adding and removing pictures) is not very technical and requires very specific instructions. If the features/layout of the menus are upgraded it would be very confusing and the site would quickly become out-of-date.

Does anyone have any thoughts on products to consider?

(Note: I searched previous AskMes, which seem to either apply to video montages/Flash or recommend web-based solutions, which are problematic for the reason stated above. My apologies if I missed anything more applicable.)
posted by cranberry_nut to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought about starting with the HTML that something like jAlbum produces?

The advantage to working that way is that you get a highly-customizable gallery that also generates its own HTML. You can pick through many, many good-looking skins for jAlbum, then when you find one you like, make a copy of it, strip the gallery code out, and use that for your non-gallery pages.

Note: I only mention jAlbum because I've used it before and it seems to meet your needs. It's great. You will have to re-generate the HTML (publish the file, basically) every time you make changes to the gallery, but that's not hard.

The only requirement this wouldn't (that I know of anyway) fit is your requirement to allow visitors to zoom in on an image. You can, however, allow them to open a high-resolution version in their browser. Alternately, you could use captions to link people to image-zooming software elsewhere on your website.
posted by circular at 10:10 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not sure, but check out Squarespace.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

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