A critical review of contemporary web development principles, tools and techniques
as applied to the design and implementation of an online photographic library.


1. Introduction
2. e-commerce: Origins, Evolution and Implications

3. The Online Stock Photographic Library

4. Design and Usability for the Web

5. Web Development Tools

6. Search and Retrieval

7. The Prototype: Purpose and Philosophy
8. Structure and Interface Design
9. Search and Retrieval Mechanism
10. Other Considerations
11. Conclusions



A. Web User Statistics

B. Image Users Survey
C. Photographers Survey
D. Image Storage for the Web
E. Suggested Modification for Incorporation of Thesaurus in twinIsles' Cataloguing/Retrieval Process

A critical review is made of contemporary web development principles, tools and techniques particularly with regard to the development of e-commerce sites.

The growth of the Internet and its impact on business is considered. The benefits offered by e-business are described along with the remaining challenges.

A number of online stock photographic libraries are examined to identify how they meet the requirements of their clientele, namely image users and photographers. The results of two online surveys aimed at these user groups are analysed to provide an insight into market expectations of the online photographic library.

Leading products among the plethora of tools available for web page enhancement are reviewed. The areas in which they may contribute to the development of a successful site are identified.

The issue of usability in web site design is often overlooked or given insufficient consideration. The work of leading human-computer interaction experts was reviewed and some key principles for the design of usable web sites identified. Topics explored include user-centred design, navigation and feedback.

The issue of information retrieval is considered broadly with regard to the immense and diverse collection of information that is the World Wide Web, and more specifically in connection with the indexing and retrieval of non-textual resources such as images. Solutions such as controlled vocabularies and thesauri, standardization of metadata and the use of intelligent agents are considered.

The report culminates with the description of the development of a prototype photographic website offering a searchable stock library and other resources for photographers and image users. The prototype provides a practical demonstration of the application of many of the issues previously analysed.

twinIsles, the website produced as part of this project may be found at

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© 2001