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I've talked and listened to many people to learn about their needs. Written in first person, my schizophrenic self, in order to focus on the scope and use-case, and to prevent me from running into the technical details trap. ;)
This is a summary of multiple individual perspectives, most notably two personas:
- A 30 yo woman, who studied industrial engineering and works in the medicine field. She's not happy with her current employer and thus considers to seek a new job. She realizes that a personal web site is the modern way of presenting yourself. She has absolutely no idea how to do that though. She knows Facebook, and that's basically it.
- A 32 yo man, who studied economics in parallel to his work as insurance broker. He wants to present himself, his services, and his knowledge to existing and potentially new clients. He's using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks and media to draw interest in his person and work. He's looking for an own web site that's just like his life; everything professional has a high private/intimate factor, and his personality means a lot for his professional business.
Use-case: My personal web site
A simple web site for an "ordinary" and arbitrary human to present herself/himself.
The primary purpose is to learn about the person, answering the questions: Who am I? What did I do? What am I doing and going to do?
There are two aspects about me: my professional life (in my current and past jobs) and my personal/social life. Sometimes, the line between both is hard to draw. I want to present both aspects in a modern, state of the art, "living" way.
My second best goal is to drive interaction. On the professional side, it should be easy for potential employers and headhunters to send me ad-hoc job proposals. On the social side, it should be easy for my friends and followers to give me feedback about everything I'm publishing.
Speaking of publishing, I know that long walls of static text pages are not interesting for visitors and not read by anyone. I'd also have a very hard time to write an essay about myself. So there most likely won't be any static/basic pages. Though I'd still like to have the opportunity to create simple pages if necessary at some point.
My site visitors should see a box on all pages depicting a photo of me and a short introduction/summary about me.
There are two main types of content I'm going to publish. The first are basically items/entries I want to present in my digital CV/resume, and it's perfectly possible that these will be the only site content in the beginning. Over time, the more I'm getting used to my personal homepage, the more likely I'm going to publish the second type: I don't consider them as blog posts, I think of them as "updates."
My resume entries are going to have a (job) title, a from/to date, a short description, a location/place, and potentially also one or more images. I want to categorize them into, say, Education, Work, Interests, Conferences, Publications, etc. I probably need to bring those categories into a custom order. I don't really know yet how I'd like to display my resume, but I'm sure as a web designer you are able to come up with something fancy :) For example, a simple table/listing with a map next to it that shows the markers of my "life stations", I'd find pretty darn cool, is that possible? You might have more ideas. Perhaps you can simply do multiple, so I can choose the one I like best?
As mentioned before, the other type of content I'd simply call "updates." I don't see me as a blogger and writing novels about my dreams last night. But I could very well see me writing posts about stuff I'm doing. These could be related to my work, but possibly also about personal or social topics. In general, I think I'm only going to post something when I have a clear and concrete message to tell to one of my local, social, or professional communities. I want to keep my circles updated about what I'm doing, and ultimately, kinda build me a reputation around the topics I'm mainly dealing with. These posts can be very short, but some of them possibly also longer. I'd definitely like to embed media (primarily images and videos) into them. Some of them might take some time to write and polish, so a quick and easy way to further edit my drafts would be good.
Can you make it so that my updates are automatically sent to some of the social networks I'm using? Many of my friends and followers are hanging out there and probably won't visit my site frequently to check for new stuff. I've no idea whether that's possible or how to do it other than copypasting the posts manually, so if there's anything you can do, that would be really helpful.
My friends and followers should be able to share their feedback on my updates. They should also be able to like, share, and bookmark an update.
I'm not really technically versed, don't I think I'll spend lots of time with or on my site, and generally in hurry. For that sake, I hope you can make it simple to use, and hopefully, also "forgiving". For example, I don't want to lose my work when I mistakenly close the browser or my laptop's battery is empty.
That said, I'm traveling a lot, and most of my friends are, too. I'd like to do the most common tasks from my mobile/smartphone on the go. Needless to say, the site should also look nice and be easily usable for visitors on a smartphone or ipad.
But yeah. Ultimately, I guess it's going to be a very simple site first. I'll use and make it more active in the long run, to build my online home and reputation. Isn't that how and where everyone is starting? :)