Erik on your online gallery
Host and build it yourself with WordPress
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Don't make me think. Don't make me scroll.
The website developer's mantra that Erik Niells recited to us in this 4 hour workshop critique still reverberates in my ears.
His tools were a WordPress.org content management system (fancy term for a website or blog) and the JetPack plugin (created by WordPress.org's more commercial big brother WordPress.com) to help you lay out a clickable image gallery on a page on your site.
He made it as clear and accessible as it possibly could be in an informal sit-down.
The point was not ditching your existing site and going to WordPress, but to make sure the site or blog you do have is still supported and that your theme is updated. And that you're taking full advantage of all the tools, plugins and templates your system offers to help you give your viewers the nicest experience of your images.
Your site is all about your illustrations (and your books, once you've published.) The point is your pictures (which includes your book covers) and you (by way of your pictures.) So the goal is not to let your site's theme, page design, or any on-page bells, badges and baubles upstage those.
Once we've put up our site or blog, we're publishers now, in a new medium the likes of which humanity never even dreamed of before the Web went public.
With great privilege and opportunities come great responsibilities, like the imperative of good communication and great design. So we must double down, just as any traditional publisher would and does, on our messaging and presentation.
As Erik gently demonstrated in his critique, we need to carefully think through what we're trying to say to the world and our core audience – and what we hope to achieve or result from that expression.
It's not for nothing that the WordPress folks named the latest version of their software Gutenberg – after the German tinkerer who transformed Western society with his movable type printing press. His movable type press brought literacy to a mostly illiterate Europe near the end of the Renaissance.
With these relatively simple, low-to-no-cost tools we can push a few keys on our keyboard and create our own exhibition, personal museum, store or other virtual real estate.