Purpose of a Personal Web Page

The purpose of a personal web page is to provide information on one's interests, whether they are personal or professional. This information serves one of three parties:

Characteristics of a Good Personal Web Page

A good home page maximizes positive use for both the person who owns it and those who use it. To do this, I believe a personal web page should have the following characteristics (in order of importance):

  1. Practicality
  2. Security
  3. User Friendly
  4. Balanced
  5. Content
  6. Graphicly Appealing

Web Page Practicality

One of the strongest criticisms about the web is the fact that there is so much on it that is useless. While these pages may be amusing they really do not have any function that anyone is going to want to come back to again and again.

Security

When I say security, I am not specificly refurring to hackers but something more broad. A web page is secure IF the data on it poses no threat to the owner of the page or anyone who may use it. Threats come in varying degrees. The degrees of threats are as follows(from least to greatest threat):

  1. Annoyance to Computer
    Practical joke programs
  2. Mild Threat to Computer
    Minor viruses and trojan horses that do damage that is easily repaired.
  3. Annoyance to Persons
    Mail bombing, chain letters, or junk mail
  4. Severe Threat to Computer
    Viruses that do extensive damage
  5. Mild Threat to Person
    Property damage (other than computer)
  6. Severe Threat to Person
    Murder, rape, and other serious crimes
A good web page should not not condone any of the above threats and should not warrent any to either those who view the page or those who created it.

User Friendly

Users are not going to want to come back to a page that is difficult to use. A user friendly web page is one that is easy for someone who has not seen the page before to navigate through it. In making a web page more user friendly, it should not contain excessive graphics. While graphics help convey a certain amount of user friendliness too much can cause a burdon on the user's bandwidth and therefore make it difficult to use.

Balance

A good web page should contain a balance between personal and professional interests. A page that is weighted too heavily on professional interests becomes no more than a glorified resume. Then it really isn't a personal web page anymore. On the other hand if personal interests are weighted too heavily then it is more likely that the page will contain useless information.

Content

Content forms the structural foundation of a good web page. By content, I mean content of useful information that serves the purpose of the page. For this reason I believe that advertisements for comercial entities on personal web pages is bad because it is conetent that does not serve the purpose of the page but rather it serves the purpose of an agent of industry.

Graphicly Appealing

This should be the last concern of anyone designing a web page. To many people when the first start designing web pages get wrapped up in collecting images and trying to make their page as graphicly appealing as possible. The result is a useless page that is nothing more than a regurgitation of graphics. Graphic design for a page should come last and the graphics should exist to enhance the page but should not be its centerpiece... unless the page's main purpose IS graphics.


Jonathan R. Alsip
Last Modified - 11 July, 1997