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Lightbox: Yes Or No?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 qwerty

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 12:24 PM

I'm redoing a site that currently uses Flash for its image gallery, and that obviously has to go.

I really like those AJAX lightbox scripts that let a user navigate a gallery of images by clicking a thumbnail and having the full image open, superimposed over the page (which looks to be dimmed while the image is open), and has the user move to the next image by clicking a link on the image, at which point the lightbox resizes itself to fit the new image. I think it's elegant, visually appealing, and pretty intuitive.

However, there doesn't appear to be a way to add indexable captions to the images. The scripts I've seen use the title attribute of the image file for the caption, and search engines ignore that text. And I think I need indexable content for each image.

So what do you folks think: do I create a long page of full-sized images with search engine friendly captions, or do I go with the lightbox? And is there a way to use lightbox but still have captions for each image, directly associated with the proper image? The way I'm picturing this, I'd be using too much text to squeeze in under each thumbnail.



#2 piskie

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:57 PM

I too like the Lightbox presentation, but have (very reluctantly) decided not to use it for the same reasons that you have so far.

I use a gallery pageful of quite large thumbnails. Each one contained in a dic with it;s own H2 plus caption. The click to enlarge brings up an enlarged picture with an H1 and description. I frequently use this and although it shouts "Old Fashioned" it does (so far) have a tremendously high success rate in Google Image search.

The better visual behaviour and user interaction is indeed very tempting but i judge the commercial value of Google image search referals to outweigh the Lightbox visual advantages.

#3 scouseflip

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:43 AM

I have not looked in enough detail to know if it will work, but could one of the lightbox variations not acheive the desired effect, as some of them seem to allow a lot of flexibility re what type of content you put in it... something like ht tp://particletree.com/examples/lightbox/ for example?



#4 cfreek

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:45 AM

Depending on how involved you want to get...

Being a big JQuery fan... If you used a JQuery solution (like fancybox.net/howto), you could create a larger view page, and have it only return the image and text/caption (no header & footer), if a cgi var exists, say ?ajax=1.

Then, in your $(document).ready(), use .each() to append ?ajax=1 to each of the image links, then call the fancybox() function.

And, that would give you the best of both worlds; search engine friendly, and spiffy lightboxes.

Also, and optionally, in the .each(), you could hide ( .hide() ) your captions and set them as the title attribute ( .attr('title') iirc ) of the link, making them work with the lightbox plugin.

My two cents, I'm not the best at explaining things, if any of the above sounds promising, feel free to PM me for JQuery code examples.

#5 Scottie

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 06:57 PM

I think the lightbox effect is worth it- it makes a site look very up-to-date and current. I've only used lightbox within a Drupal environment where I was able to add additional fields for captions, text, etc so I'm not sure what's available as a standalone script. Not much help, I'm afraid!

#6 qwerty

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 09:00 PM

And the content in those additional fields was picked up by the search engines?




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