What if my life was a web page? By day I am a web strategist …so of course it got me thinking. What if my life was represented on a home page? Would it be a good design?
First, you might ask, what makes a good design? There is no perfect answer to this question. It depends on the purpose of the site. There are visual design principles one might typically want to apply. Use of negative space, or white space, is one, for example. It adds balance to the page.
Web pages are built on grids. So I started with a 16-column grid and separated it into boxes to represent hours in a day. If I were to represent my average day, how would it look? I figured out the areas of my life where I invest my time each day and laid it out on the grid to represent the hours spent.
Then I added some visuals to represent the activities that occur in those boxes.
Did this make a good life home page? It’s not bad, I suppose. I have a lot of boxes, so that means I have some variety in my life, but do I like the size of them?
What I noticed was pretty obvious. The very small 15 minutes worth of nothing—the white space. These are super rare minutes in my life, but I know what they are. Sometimes they are the minutes when I contemplate life before my eyes shut for the night. The minutes I spend writing a blog or sketching. Sometimes it is the minutes in my car—purposely sitting —not getting out quite yet. Or excusing myself from my office and sitting in the “quiet room” at work just trying to breathe for a few minutes where no one can see me. White space. And looking at this page, I think more of it might be needed. The activities of the white space get relegated to the footer of my life page, the less used but persistent “links” of my life – the soul time where I can create things, walk in nature, or just be.
Unfortunately, I can’t stretch the page like I can in the digital world and and make more time and create more white space. I must make one box smaller to make another bigger. I’m pretty sure I’ve pushed sleep to my limit at this point in my life. So that leaves the rest to try to jiggle around.
Granted these boxes aren’t perfectly labeled. Life isn’t this segmented. The Learn box could sometimes be labeled Play. It just depends on the day. And I do Learn at Work sometimes, or Work when I Give. But generally speaking, the time averages are about the right size and I’m not sure I like what I see. The Work box is a tricky one. It’s not really an option to eliminate it, but change it….possibly…. dare I say….shrink it? Yes. This could be considered. Do I need different boxes than the ones I have here? Does this design communicate my purpose? Does it say who I am or who I want to be? These are the questions I must ask myself.
That’s what the new year is for, right? To evaluate. Some of these frames are in need of growing and others in need of shrinking and I’m determined to find ways to do a little website redesign of my own in 2018.