Recently I switched from mrevearittart.com over to beholdcreators.wordpress.com. A number of factors led to this decision, and having a landing page for my expansion from art education to educational technology was just the beginning of it (another post altogether). But the primary decision for my move was based on the premise that students and teachers need clean, modern, navigable web designs.
I thought about my webpage like it was my classroom: the physical space for my students has to be designed in such a way that cleanly and clearly facilitates and maximizes interaction between my students, myself, the lessons, and the content. That can’t happen in a poorly designed classroom, and it can’t happen on a poorly designed teacher website either. I had to ask myself, is the content on my page responsive? Does the sidebar really need to be there? My web space had to be like my physical space: It has to be welcoming. It has to be modern. It has to be designed with the user in mind. It has to inspire.
I looked at my old design, where the font was Times New Roman, the sidebar had a sea of links, an ongoing and unsightly ‘Google doc’ for my updates, and the header and general content looked like a webpage from 1998. I had a calendar embedded somewhere in there that served no purpose at all. Looking at creating a new design, I explored WordPress.com’s themes as templates, and decided on a minimalist design, with a clean, modern look and a simple navigation menu in lieu of the sidebar and multi-tabbed menu. The sleek look and the minimalist features of this site accomplish vastly more good than my old website. By creating posts that can be categorized in the menu bar, I have a landing page where all my content goes to live, and my students can respond and utilize the content they need and find it simply by looking at their destination on the menu bar. Goodbye sidebar, calendar, and Google doc “updater”.
You may be hesitant to get rid of some of the “content” on your old page, but slimming down the design and giving it a minimalist, modern overhaul will greatly increase the usability and investment from your students. Is your workspace clean? Does it interface well with your kids? Is it navigable, or will they get lost in a sea of links and words? These are the deciding factors into whether in your web space is successful or not with your students.