In this blog post, I have the opportunity to dig a little deeper into topics related to web design. For this activity, I have selected three articles to explore. The activity is designed to answer the following questions:
- Why did you choose each particular article?
- What did you learn?
- Can you apply the insight gained to the public-facing portfolio site you are building this week? If so, how?
Below I list each article by title, (hyperlinked to the article) and my personal response to the above prompts for each.
1. Creating A Successful Online Portfolio:
What I appreciated most about this article is it reflected many of the ideas and conceptual ideas I had in mind with regards to an online portfolio. First and foremost is keeping the project simple. This is why many of the sites I explore that entice me to return have very minimalistic structure and aesthetics. Keeping the use of language as refined as possible is key, as is avoiding architecture to your site that forces a user to dig deep into several layers to accomplish a goal. In the end, you want your site visitor to find your best work, with the least amount of effort. For your portfolio, less is more. It may be best to focus on a handful of strong items you are promoting, rather than the full catalogue of skills and abilities. Keeping navigation simple allows you to be unique in other areas of your site. Being to uncommon may cause challenges for the site visitor and defeat the purpose of your portfolio.
The greatest advice I learned from this article was consideration of having multiple portfolio sites that are targeted for different purposes. These could be sales, networking, or seeking employment. Each portfolio has a different set of needs and goal. Keeping these separate can help eliminate complicated navigation or a site visitor losing interest. Usability is a key component to the effectiveness of your portfolio site, but must have just enough information and your personality instilled within the structure of the site.
In regards to my own online portfolio, this article will be a go-to in regards to identifying if I am meeting the needs and important elements of my portfolio to best engage the user, have the desired effect, represent my brand and personality, and garner the desired results. The site is packed full of a number of links to additional articles and examples that will allow me to further define the look, feel, purpose for one of several potential online portfolios.
2. Usability 101: Introduction to Usability
I selected this particular article, because there is an inherent importance to the ease in which an end user interacts with your website. This article effectively breaks the idea into what qualities make up “usability” – offering five distinct qualities: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors, and Satisfaction. What was appreciated in this article was identifying a process by which usability testing could be conducted (on a base level). Through testing for usability, you are better able to identify areas of the site that may need restructuring. Usability testing is what can help prevent a visitor from leaving your site.
It comes down to a level of efficiency that your site has, and determining if is it easy and pleasant to use. The article clearly expresses a method to measure if your site is “useful”. This is a combination of Utility and Usability. If your site has the features a visitor is seeking (utility), along with easy navigation and a pleasant experience (usability), then your site is “Useful”. In the end, taking consideration as to the usefulness of my public-facing portfolio for site visitors will help relay a level of professionalism, hopefully hold the users attention, and make it easy for them to navigate when they return to the site in the future.
3. 10 Great Web Font Combinations
While this article isn’t packed with a lot of details or information on methods for identifying font combinations that work well together, having a page that shows effective combinations of many traditionally available web fonts is considerably useful. Having a visual representation (much like you might include on a mood board) is a very effective and handy resource that I will go back to as I design my online portfolio. Each combination elicits a distinct and different look and feel, while remaining balanced. In the end, the visual elements of text on my portfolio site (though text remaining a limited element in a my future portfolio site) enhances the user experience and works in many ways towards the UX design and potentially minimalistic experience I hope to achieve with my portfolio. The most important take away from this page of fonts is recognition that the most effective font combinations will be one Serif font, combined with one Sans-Serif font. The combination is very effective in differentiating text and will aide in drawing user attention to the points on a page that I wish to draw attention. This is especially important when you consider that most people scan a web page, rather than read.