How to Make a Good Profile Page
Learn some helpful tips to ensure your profile page is appealing to the masses!
written by miontre for Community Week in projecteducate.
Quite simply, the way you present yourself is important. People make decisions about other people based on the way they present themselves. You know this is true because you do it yourself. There is no shame in this, because it's natural human behavior: we simply do not have the time to make decisions about each and every person we encounter from scratch, so we have to make some decisions based on how they present themselves. One such judgments made in this way is how worthwhile a person is - through this, we don't learn about a personality, but rather how long we are going to hold interest in this person.
If there's one thing which makes me uninterested in a person's profile, resulting in my immediate departure, it's when there's too much junk and mess on there - a result of careless presentation. In order to make sure people don't make the same decision when they visit your profile, it's important to make sure you present yourself well. By this, I don't mean you need to stick to a certain design style or run off and create a beautiful background and throw loads of pretty images in - people judge your personality through this, and that's not what we're trying to change. Instead, I mean that you need to take care when creating your profile to ensure that people make a positive decision about how worthwhile you are. Let's begin!
Two ways to make sure that you're presenting yourself well is that you keep it simple and that you keep it neat! In other words, no junk or mess! You'd be surprised how easy it is to ignore this - it's possible, in fact likely, that your own profile contains some junk and mess, even if you think you've taken time and care with it. I'm not going to try and make myself look perfect here: I've definitely been a guilty party. Finally, in order to make your profile a bit more attention grabbing, it's good to spice it up a little.
As a general rule - minimalism is key. I'm not necessarily referring to minimal aesthetics, but rather to minimal information. Only include what's necessary, and discard what isn't.
For some reason unknown to myself, humans seem to have a tendency to be complex when there is no need to be. However, common phrases such as "keep it simple, stupid" and "simple, but effective" are definitely not lies. Simplicity really does work wonders. I don't know about you, but I really can't be bothered with complexity when it's not needed. In order to keep it simple, just make sure you don't add anything unnecessary!
Colours = Few and Good
A bit of colour is great, but we don't need every colour of the rainbow. Pick two or three colours, maximum, that you'll use throughout your profile. This'll help to keep the overall theme of your profile a bit simpler. Whatever you do though, don't create an eyesore with conflicting colours. If there's any one thing that will make people leave your page, it's definitely an eyesore. Never use colours which are at or near full saturation and brightness, and especially don't use two of them together. Seriously, don't do it.
Emotes, Plzs, Stamps = Few, No, Some
There's no problem in using a few emotes throughout your page, but don't get carried away. Plzs aren't really needed at all - nobody is coming to your profile to see how many plzs you know. It's not a competition! Stamps are a really fun way to express who you are though, so definitely use those if you want; but as always, don't get carried away. Only put in a stamp if it really reveals some interesting information about you - for example, as much as you like chocolate, a stamp expressing this doesn't really tell us much about you because most people like chocolate.
Links = Few
Keep your links to an absolute minimum! You don't want too much attention for other pages competing with your profile, so make sure only to include links if they're necessary or if they add something interesting or useful to your page. For example, don't include a link to your gallery. If people want to visit your gallery, there's a handy little tab at the top of your profile. Great. You've saved some space!
Personal Information = Short
Don't write an entire biography! People don't need to feel like they've known you for their entire life just after reading your profile. Just add some simple, interesting, or funny information about yourself so that people can get a feel for what type of person you are. To get to know you better, they can actually chat with you! Not only is it more meaningful that way, but you get more messages!
Art = Taster
You've already got your gallery. It doesn't need to be repeated on your profile! Add some fairly recent work which you think would provide a good taster for the rest of your art, and if people like it, they'll go to your gallery themselves.
There's no debating that neater is better. If your page is neat, it shows that you care enough for what you've got to say, and when people know you care about what you're saying, they're more interested in listening.
Your Activity = Concise
It's understandable to want to share with everyone the great things that you're doing around the site, but unless you can do so in an incredibly concise way, don't share a link or thumb to every karma-increasing act you've done. It just adds clutter to your page, and people aren't going to bother to look at every single one of them. Instead, try providing a link or thumb to two or three of your favourite or proudest endeavours. Then, to make up for everything you've missed, create a Sta.sh document linking to all the activity you want to share, and link to that on your profile. That way, you get the best of both worlds! A neater profile as well as the option for people to find everything you've done if they're interested.
Scroll Boxes = No no
Don't use scroll boxes. I know they save vertical space, but at the end of the day they take time and effort for your reader, and are also unprofessional. How many websites, professional ones at least, can you name which hold information inside a scroll box? None. I can't even name any unprofessional ones. If something really belongs on your profile, don't hide it in a scroll box. Either display the information in full, or rethink the amount of information you're adding to your profile. Not to mention, the scroll bar isn't particularly aesthetically pleasing and ruins your careful theming. I'm sorry, but as much as people like them, scroll boxes are a bad idea.
Readability = Must
Make sure people can actually read what you've got written on your profile. Use background or text colours which contrast with each other enough to make text easily readable. Small type is fine, but don't go overboard with it - keep it no more than one size smaller. If you can't present your text in a readable manner, it's a sign that it's not all that important to you, so why would it be important to me? I'm not going to bother to highlight text or zoom the page just to see what you've got written!
Uniformity = Always
Pick a theme, and stick to it. To recycle a previous example, think about how many websites you can name which suddenly change in theme or style. None. Make sure that if you're doing something different somewhere, that you have a reason to do so, or that it adds something interesting to your page.
Backgrounds = Complimentary
If you're using a background, make sure it compliments your actual content! If your background instead detracts from your content, usually because it's distracting, try toning it down a little! Nobody can read what you've got to say when it's competing with a background.
Make sure you keep your profile unique! There's little more attention-grabbing than a completely unique profile page. If you aren't doing much extra customising - in other words, sticking to the "default" profile theme - then this doesn't apply as much to you. However, if you are going into some extra customisation, you might as well put that little bit extra in to ensure your profile isn't the same as the rest.
One thing which kills originality is using the same profile resources as everybody else. Everybody has the same buttons, the same content boxes, the same text - try to do something a bit different! While it's true that profile resources are very limited due to the fact they are made using underlying site code, see if you can rework them to turn them into something new, especially if you are familiar with HTML and CSS.
You could try using images to create buttons which match your theme - while they won't offer you the same flexibility as a coded button, they'll look a lot more unique. Try choosing a different font for your profile to make your text a bit different. It's been discovered possible to use full CSS in a profile page through use of a Journal Skin on a literature submission, set as a featured deviation. There are a number of restrictions to this, however - the height is limited, and the placement must be in the top-left zone. If these don't matter to you though, it's a good way to add a bit of flair to your profile.
Kawiku's profile page is the best one I've ever seen. You'll notice that it meets every nearly point I've covered, and funnily enough, you'll also notice that it's an effective profile page! For the points that it doesn't meet, it has been so well constructed that it doesn't matter. Here's a screenshot of Kawiku's page at the time of writing:
That's it! Thanks for reading this article - I hope you found some of my tips useful! Leave me some answers:
- What do you believe makes up a good profile?
- Name some deviants whose profiles you like. What do you think is successful about these profiles?
- If you could give one tip to readers for profile customisation, what would it be?