Science fiction, fantasy, & horror - web design, graphic design, interactive media development by greententacles
Not every Web site needs to be a bleeding edge, database-driven, Flash-enabled, too-cool-for-the-Web construct. In fact, sometimes all you need is a single page - a One-Page Wonder - that provides you with a presence on the Web without entangling you in all the technobabble that usually accompanies it.
With that in mind, this article will be discussing the ideas behind One Page Wonders -- the theory behind them, the features they can include, examples of sites in action, etc. -- rather than the technology that makes them possible.
In Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, characters in the virtual reality-based Metaverse exchange information by giving each other business cards. The cards include imbedded hyperlinks that let the user download everything from contact information to a significant fraction of the Library of Congress's holdings.
It was a great example of information transfer, and it works just as well in the real world, albeit not quiet as coolly. A business card with a Web address written on it that instantly turns that card into something more than just a piece of paper with your phone number and e-mail address on it - it creates a way for the client (or potential employer) to instantly find out more information about you or your endeavors.
One-Page Wonder Web sites work best for individuals - while you can do them for businesses, in this day and age most Net-savvy folks expect a business or organization Web site to be more than just a virtual shingle hung out on your Internet doorstep. For individuals, One-Page Wonders can provide a professional summary of who and what you are, while laying the foundation for something more extensive later on.
For the simplest version of a One-Page Wonder, it's best to draw inspiration from your resume... with a few modifications. The idea is the same as a resume - to provide people with an overview of yourself and your experience - without giving out the personal details that could be problematic on the Web site.
There are three basic components to the basic solution: Experience, History, and Contact.
This basic One-Page Wonder provides readers and potential employers with a snapshot of who the author is and what he or she does. Like a resume, it only needs to be updated when something major changes, which means you'll probably only spend an hour every month or three reviewing and updating the site.
The advantage to this is the site only needs to be updated infrequently, which is a boon for those who are less-than-Web savvy or who just don't have the time to maintain a page. This is also its greatest weakness - on the Web lack of change indicates stagnation and "stagnation" usually isn't a word people want associated with their careers. The site's adequate for a basic Web presence, but it won't take long for people to want a little more.
The Advanced Solution, as presented by GreenTentacles' One Page Wonder Website Package doesn't offer a little more -- it offers a lot more. But it still fits on one page, and it's still easy to maintain (view an example: http://greententacles.com/newquist/).
The page is comprised of the following sections:
This site can be more work than the basic version, though how much work depends on just how much time you want to dedicate to it. On the low end, you could update the site whenever you had a news announcement - a new story in a magazine, a new review published online, a book deal signed. That, combined with the 15-20 minutes it takes to bang out an e-mail newsletter, could make keeping the site current a 30-40 minute weekly, or monthly, job. On the high end, you could update the site every day, maintaining it as a full-blown Web Log. In addition to noting personal news, you could also add ramblings about trends in science fiction, links to sites that caught your eye, etc. Assuming you take 15-30 minutes a day to work on the ?blog', you can figure you'll spend two-to-four hours a week updating the site.
This version of the One-Page Wonder is busting at the seams with content and represents about as far as you can go without morphing your One-Page Wonder into a full-blown multi-page Web site. Fortunately, if you do decide to make the jump from a single to multi-page site, you'll find that you've already done most of the heavy lifting - you've already determined what your site's major sections are, and even created content for them. You've also done something even more important: you've gained much-needed experience in Web design and content publishing.
Examples of One-Page Wonders: