I completed the About Page yesterday, you can see it at About Cyberwip. It’s rather short, even compared to one of these posts, but contains a lot more information covering a much broader scope, and is written clearly and concisely, containing content that matters to readers and no more.
Page Design Goals
I want all my pages to be of this nature in the sense that I want to convey as much detail as possible, present it as clearly as possible, in as few words as possible, while making it as easy to understand as I can. It’ll be a challenge, but I like challenges and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
- A header image that people could look at and without thinking about, know what the page is about. Images grab attention, most people would much rather look at images than read text and I think YouTube is a good example of that.
- The header needs some unique text that’s short and gives the reader something to think about while they are looking at the image, so while they are staring at the header, they are thinking about whatever message I’m trying to get across.
- Particularly for the About Page I wanted a picture of me (the author) so that even if people didn’t know me personally, they could relate that the author is a person. This is commonly done in journalism and Gravatar makes it easy to capture the author’s image from the email address. It makes it easy to recognize posts by author and I’m even using Gravatar as a factor in spam detection, so it all fits together.
- I wanted to contain all the factors that a reader might expect or want to know in an about page; a little history, focus, goals, and in particular.. why this website might be a good source for what the reader needs. As I was constructing the page, I was constantly asking myself what questions might be in the reader’s mind and what the reader might want to know.
- I wanted to keep it short so the reader could read the whole thing quickly, maybe while having a coffee, even on a device as small as a phone.
Building the Pieces
Each component (from the list above), was a separate task in the completion of the page and since for the most part this was the first page, it took a little more time and effort to get completed. I knew what I wanted to do but also that it would be a lot of work to achieve it. I wish I could say that I just sat down and put it all together but I’m not that smart and probably for me, it takes a lot longer than for someone who is smart.
I intend to cover a lot of technical material on a lot of topics, so the header image had to be high-tech looking and reflect a wide scope of fields related to technology with the focus being on computers and computing since all fields of science and technology rely heavily on computer science and information technology.
A montage seemed to be the best choice, but I didn’t have enough images about the fields I want to cover so, thanks to Google, it wasn’t hard to find many sites offering free (not just royalty free but Open Source, no holds barred free) images. I’m grateful to those sites because they aren’t charging for their services with their only source of income being the ads on the site and thanks to their growing popularity, they seem to be doing okay.
I should mention that Google generally frowns on duplicate content and that includes images so I would be careful using these images and encourage taking your own photos wherever possible.
Even though in most cases I’m not obligated to, I would like to show my gratitude by posting a link to the sources of images I used to produce this page header. I encourage you to visit these websites, consider them valuable sources for images, and even visit a few of the advertiser sites to show your gratitude. These Free Image websites include:
- pixabay – pixabay.com (easily my favorite with over 2.3 million images)
- Pexels – pexels.com (limited selection of good photos)
- Free Images – free-images.com
- FREEIMAGES – freeimages.com
- Free Web Headers – freewebheaders.com
- Unsplash – unsplash.com
- freepik – freepik.com (annoying sales pitches but free)
I know there are a lot more and I checked out a lot more, most of them being misleading fronts to get you to where they want to sell you expensive photos. I’m totally Open Source driven so these websites won’t be getting a listing here. If you can’t be upfront about your offerings, don’t expect a lot of sympathy from me.
If you do have another site for totally free (personal and business) images let me know in the comments below understanding that if the link is in any way of commercial nature, it will (and maybe the entire post) be deleted.
My final header image was a montage I created in Photoshop of several images from these websites.
The Header Text – Quote
I got the idea of using a quote for the header text from the need to keep the text as short as possible while conveying a message that people might remember. I searched through many Quotes websites that I won’t bother listing here (they are not hard to find) but after not finding any that directly related to what I wanted to say, I decided to create my own.
Starting with a short paragraph about what I wanted to say, I removed as much as possible to get to the point and condensed it into a single statement that summarized my philosophy on life.. or what that might be. I did a quoted Google search and plagiarism search and I got lucky.. among all the things that people have said – this doesn’t to be one of them – and I really mean what it says so I like it. Who knows, maybe this statement goes down in history as the greatest statement I’ve ever made.
I slid the quote in with a little CSS animation and called it a header.. it was as simple as that, only took me a few hours to complete. I’m explaining this to you because I know you know how to keep a secret.
Me, Myself, and I
I wanted to put my image on the page, so you knew who was talking. It’s not my huge successful organization and my team of crack professionals I’ve attracted, it’s me and I think that between this photo and my logo image, it draws a pretty good picture of who I am and what I do.
The Page Content
I think the secret here is that I wanted to include all the content readers regularly see, or might expect in an About page, without the endless reading of information that frankly, nobody cares about.. do you care about who invented the buggy whip? If it was my grandfather a relative of mine, would you care?
And I wanted to close by getting to the point. I’m trying to attract people like the many I’ve met through the years that are absolute geniuses and are willing to talk about what they know. And for people who can’t see themselves among those and who don’t really give a damn about anything more complex than their cell phone, there are more entertaining websites.
Sorry, this took so long to explain but I hope that it didn’t put you to sleep and that maybe you even learned something from it.. that’s my goal for this website. Have a great day, come back when you get a chance, and I’ll have more to talk about.