Pen and Paper Wireframing

Resumes just don’t cut it anymore.

There was a time when the old one-page summary of all your previous work experience was standard. It was normal. It was expected. You couldn’t get a job without one. But that time is long gone, especially for people who work closely with the Internet. Now, you have to have a personal web site, a digital portfolio, a Linkedin resume with recommendations, a Facebook, a semi-active Twitter, and as many relevant links in a Google search as possible. If any one of those is weak, you run the risk of not getting the job you want.

Naturally, the pressure to create a relevant, organized, attractive personal web site is huge. I never felt confident enough in my design abilities to craft my own site, but, with the knowledge and skills I’m developing in graduate school, I think it’s time.

That said, I’ve sketched out wireframes for the main pages of my site. I’ll share two of them here.

This is a sketch of the landing page, the first page a visitor will see. A graphical representation of my name will head the page, with a bar of icons acting as the navigational menu just below it. The body of the page will be a brief paragraph welcoming visitors to the site and outlining the site’s contents. At the bottom of the page, I’ll include a link to a full site map and to copyright information.

This is the “about” page, one of the site’s interior pages. I wanted to include a picture of myself, something I decided after reading Smashing Magazine’s 10 Steps to the Perfect Portfolio Website. Author Lee Munroe argues that including a picture of yourself “gives potential clients peace of mind by allowing them to see who they’re dealing with, and it adds an element of trust.”

I gave more space to the biography and resume sections, because those are the meat of the page. I expect that visitors to my site will be professional contacts, people who are thinking about hiring me or people with whom I’ve been networking. For the most part, I think they’ll be most interested in what kind of person I am and what kind of experience I have.

I also included a small section for links. I didn’t want to give the links a bigger section, because those links will direct people away from my page, and I want to keep them on the site as long as possible. I do still want people to have the opportunity to visit other relevant sites, though, like my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

I spent a lot of time sketching and doodling and brainstorming to get to this point, and I’m pretty pleased with this draft. I wanted to go for a somewhat minimalist approach, with more focus on the important information than on the bells and whistles. I toyed with the idea of designing a more traditional site, with a header and a foot and a sidebar or two, and space for ads and all that, but, ultimately, I decided against it. I think that format can work very well for a site, because it’s so familiar that it’s very easy for first-time visitors to navigate, but I think I’ll save it for a more complex, dynamic site like my blog. I want my personal site to function as a combination of an online resume and a digital portfolio, and I think the site is better served by simplicity.

I’ll be submitting my sketches for review and criticism, and the structure and organization will be on hold until I get some feedback. In the meantime, I’ll be brainstorming about type and color, so expect posts on those aspects of the design in the near future.

If you have any thoughts or comments about the sketches, please don’t hesitate to share! I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments section or through my contact form.

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