Myspace, Yourspace, Ourspace—Tips on Creating the Perfect Personal Webpage

by Chris Johnsen

Unless you go outside too often, you've probably heard of the phenomenon known as Myspace.com. Maybe you're a member, or maybe you've been coerced into looking at a friend's site--regardless of the reason, you should know some basic things about personal webpage development. If you already have a Myspace site, or if you are thinking about creating one for yourself, or even if you have some other kind of personal website you are attached to, there are a few things you should know before jumping right into the deceptively simple task of page design.

First, there are some things about personal page design content to keep in mind before delving into the stylistic tips. The most important thing about personal page creation is to never make it too personal. You may think that it is a good idea to put your home address up on your main page so that people can find you and personally compliment you on your beautiful page design, but it really isn't a wise decision. Even your phone number or any other kind of personal information is something you should be wary about including. Not only is it a safety issue, it's a professional issue--if you're looking for career advancement, keep in mind that prospective employers do have the right to look at public websites, and they will hold what they see against you. That's right--while I will agree that the picture Steve took of you while you were passed out and wearing your ex-significant other's favorite garment, while holding two beer cans and squirting baby oil on your face was "totally awesome," it's not really going to help your career prospects. As a rule of thumb, don't include any information that you would not feel comfortable telling a complete stranger.

With that out of the way, time to get to the style part. One of the biggest failures of personal websites, and specifically Myspace websites, is the use of a background. You shouldn't use a background with any colors that contrast poorly with the information on the foreground. A rule of thumb is to keep your background as light as possible when using dark text, and as dark as possible when using light text. Note that dark text colors on a light background are the preferred choice here. Pictures usually make for a poor background, as they can be distracting; a good background will compliment the information on the page, not conflict with it.

After a proper background is selected, the next most important part of your personal website will be an organization structure. Good organization on a site will make it easy for users to find what they are looking for. Make sure to use headings in any place you include text so that no text is floating around. Also, make sure that all your headings are short and clear; more than four words in a heading is usually too much.

With the headings and background selected, the only other big topic you need to be concerned with is the color scheme. You should include as few text colors as possible. As a general rule, try not to overdo the amount of bright, flashy colors. The last thing you want is your readers getting headaches. The subtle colors--dark blues, dark greens, blacks, and whites will all be the most attractive to look at on your site.


Works Cited:

Tynan, Dan. "The 25 Worst Web Sites." PC World. September 15, 2006.
<http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,127116-page,7-c,sites/article.html>


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