Patterns for Personal Web Sites

Recently (2023-10) I came across a great resource by Mark L. Irons on how to make personal web sites more accessible with patterns.

I have been thinking about exactly such patterns for a while, but Mark’s resource is almost perfect so I just link to it here and try to add a few more patterns.

I wanted to assess the quality of my own site against the patterns, so I made a table below—how my site stands up (as of 2023-11-14).

Pattern NamePresent?Comments and examples
Deep contentYesKinesis Advantage Review
Diverse contentYesSee music or photos
Gift to the communityYesE.g. dev glossary
Your own voiceMaybeIt’s up to the reader to decide
Useful home pageYesI hope so.
Index pagesYesHugo has me covered.
History pageYesLast updates
Default pagesYesHugo deals with that.
Private entranceNoBut thinking about it.
Cover pageMaybeAbout can be considered a cover
Secret gardenNoNot very feasible with Hugo.
Consistent formatYesAchieved with Hugo layouts.
Standard header+footerYesSee below. :)
Link to maintainerYesAbout me in the footer.
Appropriate lengthYesI am not using pagination.
Necessary imagesYesNo editorial images from Stable Diffusion…
Recognizable linksYesThough I override default colours.
Readable linksYes
Relative linksYesHugo does that.
Living siteYesRoughly weekly updates.
Incremental growthYes
Freshness datesYes
Unchanging URLsYesI started adding aliases when moving content.
Entrances everywhereYes
Visible locationYesBreadcrumb menus above articles
One jump homeYes
Three jump maximumYesTop menu → section → articles
Site mapYesSitemap
Related pagesYesIntegrate into the body, then add a list.
Guessable URLsYes
Open to allYesYou can read this website in links or w3m.
Appropriate formatYesE.g. PDF with score of music.
Valid markupYesIn the sense of Mark’s article.
Graceful failureYesI have 404 for this.
Downloadable webletYesE.g. PDF with score of music.
Offline readabilityYes


~33 out of 36. I am pretty happy with the results I must say!

Several points are for free since I use static site generator Hugo.

How does your site stand up?

Ideas for more patterns

  1. Regularly remove or update dead links.
  2. Do not use cookies (spare readers from the cookie banner).
  3. Limit the use of JavaScript.
  4. Limit the use of esoteric fonts, stick to the defaults whenever possible.
  5. Do not hesitate to publish unfinished content.
  6. Design for mobile first. It’s 2023 2024.
  7. Use the space on the screen responsively.
  8. Make it fast (minimize, do not use CDN and third-party libraries).
  9. Make the visual design your own. Do not use the template everyone else uses.
  10. Limit the line length inside paragraphs to ~80 characters.
  11. Expose your RSS
published: 2023-11-13
last modified: 2024-01-29