Web presence is always about good content and ability to attract traffic to a website. The winning combination is providing newsworthy information for the targeted public, applying all tips for online writing and providing a good design – uncluttered, clean and easy to navigate. Adding widgets and allowing interactivity so that readers can actively participate – is always a plus!
“Less is more” rule for successful personal website
Branding and distinguishing one’s online presence is challenging! The most important rule is to find a balance between presenting the existing work and presenting the relevant work. Young television producer and a Saint Louis University communication graduate student Jasmine Brown designed her digital portfolio so that prospective employers can read about and see her work. She presents herself as a video, photography and design professional.
- Jasmine presented herself and her work on six webpages: home page, resume, reel, gallery, articles, and contact page. All the pages are aimed to present her best video, photography and design work.
o Home page clearly explains who she is and what she does in just six sentences. A reader doesn’t need to scroll down when reading on desktop or laptop screen.
o Resume page presents her resume emphasizing her skills on the top. However, a PDF file resume would be a plus.
o Reel page contains six videos (a short description, year of production and running time are provided). Hope to see more recently done videos!
o Articles page shows shots of her best newspaper articles with the “go to link” option.
o Gallery page presents best of her work as a photographer and designer. She didn’t clutter the page with numerous photos. Who is interested in her photos may click on “show more.” I would like to know more about where the photos were taken, even though every photo has a caption.
o Contact page is simple and nice, but I recommend removing a phone number info.
- By using white space, she kept her digital portfolio clean and organized. The usage of three fonts, and black and blue letters helps search easily from more to less important information. A pop of purple color when choosing one of the pages gives an insight into Jasmine’s playful character.
- Simplicity and meaningful layout makes the portfolio very effective. I especially like the fact that only her name (which is in the biggest font) and the three-word description are consistent through pages. The most appealing about this digital portfolio is that Jasmine presented herself as a professional who is at the same time both serious and interesting.
Nontraditional media site: Be easy with scrolling down option!
Traditional and nontraditional news websites are equally fighting to attract readers. Since both types of websites are all about the news, the frequent traps that both should avoid are displaying a lot of small font letters and endless scrolling down! Nontraditional news websites have the opportunity to play with the news, publish a lot of personal opinions and play with their content in different ways. Mashable is visually appealing website and offer different news content with the social media news emphasize. The site is adjusted to different platforms and tablets’ version is simpler.
- Mashable offers seven pages within the site: Must Read, Social Media, Tech, Business, Entertainment, US & World, More. All pages except for the Must read have nested additional pages underlining social media. To avoid endless scrolling down, the news articles are also presented in three main sections on the page: The New Stuff, The Next Big Thing and What’s Hot.
- The most appealing detail is the data providing numbers of articles’ shares on social media and the velocity graph showing how quickly people share articles on social media.
- On the home page there are three font sizes that make articles easily readable: the headline font size of the news from The New Stuff section, the headline font size of all the other articles and the font size of provided leads. Different and limited number of font sizes allows easy navigation.
- Mashable provides a lot of information but its color design is simple: white background; the blue ribbon at the top offering different pages menu, and the green ribbon announcing The Next Big Thing section. The numbers of the articles’ shares are also in green, while blue letters are reserved for the embedded links.
- The most appealing enhancing design tools are quality photographs and videos that accompany each report. Additionally, readers have the opportunity to see a photo of the article’s writer.
Photo captions are “must have”
The website that I have frequently visited recently is the New Mexico Tourism website. The site is very interactive and provides both information about tourism and a tool for planning your own trip.
- Alongside the home page, there are five additional pages: True Adventures, Stay Here, Dining and Entertainment, Explore New Mexico, and Trip Planning. All of those pages have numerous pages nested within each of them. This layout, at the same, offers a lot of useful information, and makes easier the site navigation. However, excessive data are time consuming and make you spend more time searching.
o True Adventures page offers diverse info: from arts and culture, to outdoor and family fun.
o Stay Here page displays info about hotels, resorts, campgrounds and dude ranches.
o Dining and Entertainment is devoted to New Mexico cuisine, restaurants, and performances.
o Explore New Mexico page is about parks, annual events, Native Americans and a lot of other stuff.
o Trip Planning offers info about transportation, visitor centers, vacation guide etc.
- The design is simple with pops of orange color and three fonts sizes letters: larger for headlines, medium for the most interesting sentences which are extracted from the texts, and small for articles. And there are a lot of beautiful photos! However, a large photo is the most dominating item on the page and additional scrolling down to written info is necessary.
- Photos are the most appealing on this website! My only suggestion is to add captions and provide “who, where and why “information. Captions are not only informative but makes sharing photos more meaningful!
- An interactive map where you can search for example, farmer’s markets in Albuquerque, is a great asset bot to the design and content. Interactive design is also appealing because on each page, a reader can look at the map, plan his or her own trip or see the info on the New Mexico Tourism Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube channel or Instagram. Additionally, there are seven tool markers at the bottom for reader to choose different cultural, family, or cuisine events. Just click on chili papers icon and you will find more about New Mexico culinary delights!