I was reading (as I seem often to do) Rob Helpychalk’s blog, when it occurred to me the differences in design. His is white, with nicely arranged photographs to the right, simple text, many links on the right side. Mine, in contrast, is dark, with a messy background, and probably poorly-chosen coloring. Which is the better blog? Which is the more professional?
This is a question that has been nagging at me for some time now, simply because I am getting to the point where I will have to worry about what people will learn of me on the internet. Not that I particularly care, as I am a rather forgiving person, but there seems to be a large and larger problem with the seperation of one’s personal life and one’s professional life, due to the ease of which a potential or current employer can access what you blog. While I may not be ashamed of being in a band of sorts, will I be passed over in the future because someone is afraid I will sing at work?
Granted, this sort of thing in my field, as far as I believe, is not much of a problem. I’ve yet to meet a geologist who won’t pretty much accept you as you are.
In general though, I would like to think about the differences in design philosophy. What makes one site more ‘professional’ than another? Content is number one. No matter how polished your layout, I doubt that many people will casually overlook your stories about being a neonazi or having questionable relationships with farm animals*.
Layout must a be a close second. If only I had a copy of those studies I remember which talked about first impressions and overall opinion at a later date (in reference to web sites–I’m sure we all know how people react to first-impression data). Now the question is, is there a perfect layout? Can I be the best to everyone? Admittedly not. Actually, please comment on the fixed background image. Should it scroll along with everything else? Should it be lighter, in order to make it appear like there is more ‘space’ on the page to move around? I think that, although much darker than I would prefer (it was a quick photoshop effort), it expresses me well. In fact, when I actually do view the site, I am always surprised at how good it looks, as if I had expected it to grow horns in my absence.
I’d like to take an opportunity to say a word or two about personal information. There seem to be three or four types of sites that can be officially described as ‘blogs’: 1) the personal life blog. What I did today and here are some photographs of my pet sheep. 2) the personal emotional blog. I’ve been feeling like this, but it’s up to you to actually know me in person in order to understand everything. 3) the professional blog. I do this at my job, and the problems we worked out today were x, y and z. 4) the opinion blog. You don’t need to know who I am, just what I have to say.
This blog is in transition, at least it feels like it could be, from type 2 to type 4. This is for a combination of reasons including quasi-professionalism in the jungle and simply the fact that it doesn’t seem important to expose every aspect of myself to the world.
Excuse me, as I have run out of steam.
*This may, in fact, gather you more sympathy than you may be looking for. It all depends on how you swing I suppose.