The explosion of web applications in recent times has resulted in numerous ways to promote yourself. Last week we looked at a tool to describe you — but what about your work? A professional web designer may have the ability to create their own portfolio site, but what about the rest of us? Fortunately, there are some great tools available.
One of the best I’ve seen is Carbonmade.
Right off the top, it’s important to get one thing clear about this app: it can be used by web designers, but also caters to many other professions. Illustrators, photographers, videographers, and artists of any sort can use this tool to display their abilities.
If you create and you have the ability to show your work in a digital format, then Carbonmade is a good option for you.
Let’s take a look at how the app works.
You’re all probably starting to think that I’m obsessed with the sign up portion of web applications and services. And you’re probably right.
But good design is inclusive — all aspects of a service should show be well thought out. And as I prefer to work with well designed tools, the sign up portion of an app or service gives me a good indication of the quality of the app itself.
And Carbonmade is a web application that gets it right. Signing up for the service is fast and painless. Even better, you start to understand that this app has a bit of character. Personality if you will.
It starts with the two plans available for this app. You won’t find any complicated pricing schemes here and nothing named Free or Pro. Rather, there are only two options: Meh and Whoo.
Meh is free and limits the number of projects and images you can show off. Whoo is the paid plan and it’s reasonably priced at $12 per month. For that price you get 50 projects and up to 500 high resolution images or 10 high quality videos.
Once your account is created, you are directed to complete your the settings of your portfolio. The options here are limited, but as simplicity is a feature of this app, it’s to be expected. And it fits.
The main choices here are the background color (dark or light) and the font (serif or sans serif). Other options available here are the address of your portfolio (the URL), the title, your login email and password, and the option to place some content in your footer.
After you configure your site settings, you can click on the About tab to complete your profile. This is where you’ll give people information about who you are.
You have the option to add as much or as little detail about yourself as you’re comfortable with. Fields for contact information are available (email, phone and address). You also have a field titled, “About You” where you can fill in a short blurb about yourself.
In addition, there are a couple of fields in the side of the interface where you can add the following: a picture of yourself, some tags for your “areas of expertise” and your “skills”. Lastly, you can toggle a setting to display whether or not you are available for freelance work.
And the app again shows it’s personality while you work you way through the fields available.
And Your Work
Lastly, you come to the reason for the app — displaying your work. Once you’re ready to start showing off your talent, click on the “Projects” tab.
In here, you can add your projects one at a time. Each project has several fields that can be filled should you choose to. Obviously, images are the focus here and are added at the top of the page. In fact, you cannot start a project without first adding an image, video of flash file.
But you can also add a project title, the client for a project, any notes you’d like to share, and any URLs involved.
Again, the sidebar of the app contains a few fields that are more ‘meta’ in nature. You can select a thumbnail image for the project (otherwise the app will make one from the first image you upload)), add a category for the project, toggle the visibility of the project, and choose from some display options for the images of the project.
A Few Other Tidbits
There are a couple of other touches or features that caught my attention.
Right off, when you start modifying the settings of your site, the sidebar shows that you have option to use Google Analytics to track the visitors to your portfolio. And there is no complicated setup involved — simply create a new Analytics account and grab the id number (starts with UA). Add in to the supplied field in Carbonmade and that’s it.
One last item that caught my attention fits in with my comments about the personality of the service. When you are logged in to the app and are editing your portfolio, rather than some long, complicated URL that means nothing, Carbonmade gives you a very straightforward, meaningful address:
These are the small touches that endear you to a tool. It’s the measure of an app for me — and if the developers/designers responsible show this much care in the obvious, visible portions of the app, it imbues a greater sense of confidence that the app is more stable and reliable as well.
This is a good thing for your users to feel.
It’s About You
Any application of this nature should put the focus on your work. The 3 man team behind Carbonmade did a smashing job of making sure the app is there to help you, but gets out of the way when you’re ready to get down to business.
From signup to adding your digital media, the entire process is designed to help you ensure people know what you are capable of.