About Pages - Are they totally necessary?
My thoughts on whether about pages are necessary or not
I was recently reading an article by Smashing Magazine on the subject of best practices for designing about me pages and whilst there is no arguments from me that some of the About pages on display look fantastic I am a little dubious of their opening statement.
The “about me”-page is one of the most overlooked pages in development and one of the highest ranked pages on many websites. In a world that’s becoming increasingly connected through the Web, it’s important that you engage your audience in a personal and friendly way, otherwise you risk just being another faceless web designer among a sea of websites.
I agree that you need to engage your audience, and the more personal you make that the better. However I don't think an About Me page is the place to be doing it.
Most people include the following information in their About Me section;
- A small mission statement.
- General information about them (stats and hobbies).
- A small blurb on work they have done.
If a mission statement is to be included on your site I would argue that it is too important to be hidden in an about me page, it should appear perhaps in the footer of the site or somewhere of prominence, I don't think I would go looking for a mission statement so if you need someone to see yours you can't leave it to chance.
The general information is perhaps the most included bit of information found in most About Me sections, this is where people try to make themselves stand out above the rest, this is obviously far more crucial for designers than it is developers, however again I feel that getting your personality across is something that is too important to just put into one page, the entire site needs to sweat your personality, it needs to soak into the person viewing the site regardless of what page they are on. Once you have got your personality across things like vital statistics (age, sex etc) aren't really that necessary and are small enough in volume that you could probably place them somewhere else on your site.
The small blurb on work you have done is something I have seen more and more in About Me sections, and I really don't agree with it being there at all. If you have a portfolio of work you want to show off then you need to have a portfolio section, there you can talk in brief or in depth about work you have done. Again, you site should scream that you are a competent designer/developer/seoer/whateverer so you should either be backing up the claims implied by your site with a full blown portfolio showing a body of work, or nothing.
Another point I would like to make is a lot of people would say their main call to action on a site would be to get the user to contact them, and with more and more people offering things like Twitter and Facebook as contact mediums, there is really no need to include a personal bio on your site, users can easily see that on the various social sites you have already written stuff on.
Of course I could be totally wrong, perhaps the About Me section *is* vital and the information stored in it helps potential clients/partners see the real you.