Designing Staff Web Site Requires Information From the Staff

February 26, 2015

Sometimes I get a really strange request when working on a Web site for a client. One company asked if I could write a bio for each of the employees to put on the “About Us” page. Since I didn’t even know the names of the people working for the company, it was impossible for me to write something about them. My suggestion was to ask each employee to write two sentences about themselves. It shouldn’t be a request, it should be a requirement!

With that situation, I was also ask to post a headshot of each employee. After several months, several employees still don’t have a picture and the rest of the pictures don’t follow any specific format.

I am working on another site and the theme it uses allows for a really cool “Staff” page. Below is a screenshot of three employees with the information the client has provided. I’ve blurred the names and titles for the staff’s privacy in this post.

You’ll note that there isn’t a picture for the person in the middle and the pictures of the other two are radically different. I’ve suggested to the client to pick a date to have “picture day” so that a picture can be taken of each staff member so they all are similarly formatted. A mobile phone wouldn’t be the ideal source for pictures, but it would still provide something superior to what they have.

This theme also allows a bio to be entered for each staff member along with contact information. Each company is different so it doesn’t always make sense to provide every single piece of information. Yet adding this information does personalize the business and should be included unless there is a specific reason it shouldn’t be posted.

After reporting the lack of photos and information to this client, a plan is already being developed to get the necessary information so the site will look as good as possible.

With any project, the designer can only do so much. Some things must be supplied by the client and that is especially true when trying to portray a group of strangers (to the designer).

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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