On Saturday I had the pleasure of leading a session with Jared from Name.Com on getting online in a day with a new website. I find such joy when I see somone hit refresh and open up their first website in a browser.
Their eyes glean with such accomplishments. Fingers start flying across keyboards. People find power writing themselves on to the world.
We began the session on paper. I stress the importance of pre-planning and developing a sloppy copy when I run a getting started session.
Participants were asked to write down the purpose of their website in 1-2 sentences. This helps people consider their why. Always begin with a why.
Next we asked participants to write a five word memoir or describe themselves in 3-5 words. This help with design choices like fonts and colors or theme choice.
Finally participants were asked to consider the balance they saught between content and code. Do they want to touch none, some, or all of the code? I find framing the quesiton this way works better than asking about self efficacy. Just becuase someone can code doens't mean they want to dig aroudn in the plumbing of their website, and someone who has never used HTML may want to get started.
We reviewed the optionss available using Tantek;s guide: micro-blog, use a cms, build a cms. Given this session was online in a day we dropped the build cms option.
Next we distributed three sheets of paper to each participant and said they could only start with three pages: home, about, and contact. You have to really constrain choice to accomplish the goal.
The End Result
Everyone who came to Indieweb Summit who wanted to build a site left with one. We did a decent job of matching tools to audience. Two people left with new WordPress sites, one person built a site on Known, another started to learn HTML and built a site using Glitch and GitHub pages, while another edited an HTM5UP template in a text editor.
That's pretty freaking cool. If you want a website and don't know where to get started find an #IndieWeb set up near you.
What to Change
I would have supplies ready next time. Rulers, pens, and paper. I didn't know I would end up helping to facilitate the session. Jared talked for about ten minutes framing the question,. "How can we get people online in a day."
Luckily Jonathon LeClour also stepped in and helped facilitate. When I have experts like that in the room facilitating is easy as they provide so much of the knowledge for the group.
This is a good session and its the second time I used the activities to guide the website design.
I did ask people to take home their sheets and layout the pages. I don't think I want to "assign work" but should encourage planning and allow for some review time on Sunday.
I need to bring models of what these pages would look like or do a write out loud and design a mockup with the group. Probably both.
I wonder if this could all be done in a session zero? Like if folks know they are coming to build could we meet once or twice ahead of a camp or summit to plan?