A letter to those people building my website

Millions of years ago, in internet years, all websites were custom built. They were either expensive, or horrible to navigate. I learned how to build my website in photoshop of all things, and each page was an image designed to look like a website, and it was horrible.

Not everybody was as talentless as a web designer as I, in fact some people managed to make masterpieces with the limited technology. The best sites are the ones that just work. By default these websites end up looking extremely simple. Subtle things like a change in the color of text hint at another level of depth in the page. It took me weeks to build my websites from scratch, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing and would have to start from scratch every time I learned something that improved the site. Also, because I was trying to build websites in photoshop.

Now I can “build” my site in a few hours, and that’s just a matter of filling in blanks in a pre-built template. It’s simple, looks expensive, and best of all, it’s cheap! I think that there is a sort of “moores law” of websites though, that states that every 18 months we will pack twice the amount of coding into a website designed to do the same job. What once was just a simple portfolio has turned into a complex pop up with buttons, fades, and a cute little jingle. There’s now slideshows in the background that somehow are supposed to make the photo that you’re looking at more interesting.

As a result, I’ve spent three months looking for a good template to replace my current site.

I understand, web design has come a long way, and you are flexing your coding muscles, but I just want to show my photos. If you went to a photography gallery, how are almost all photos framed? Thin black frame, white matte, nailed to a wall. Simple.

Take a look at Sebastian Kim’s website, Simple, elegant, no frills, perfect.

If you build it, those of us who want to avoid learning code will buy it.


About Ben Horton
Highly influenced by his love of travel and adventure and his constant search for something new, his imagery is vibrant with fresh and creative energy. Raised in Bermuda, Ben Horton has spent the majority of his life traveling and seeking out new adventure. Ben is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Young Explorer award for research on Cocos Island involving shark poaching. This led to becoming a photographer for National Geographic, and has allowed Ben to continue his passion for adventure. Follow Ben on Instagram

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