A major retool of kentlester.com has been in the works for quite a long time and has gone through several iterations. I wanted this new website to reflect the tremendous changes that have swept through the writing, publishing, and media worlds over the past few years.
As a Drupal web evangelist, I also wanted to highlight many of the innovations that have changed the way we communicate with the social web. As always, a good personal website should promote the "brand" of its owner, in this case, me. I wanted to emulate the typical "graphics heavy" approach of many other author pages, but do it with modern tools. The "old guard" web designers depended heavily on Adobe Flash for their interactive graphics, which had the disadvantage of poor search engine optimization and social interaction. In todays' social web, authors must blog, tweet, and maintain fan pages on Facebook and other social networks. This requires dynamic web content that can easily be searched, modified and linked to social sites--in other words--modern websites need to be powered by content management systems such as Drupal.
I also wanted this site to reflect my eclectic background in web development, media consulting, non-fiction writing, and fictional authorship. How to represent these different skill sets in one cohesive design? The Omega theme to the rescue. This powerful new Drupal theme allowed each section of the website to have a completely different look and feel, thanks to its "context sensitive" layout.
Omega also brought another powerful and much needed capability to the site: responsive web design. The website reconfigures itself to the device on which it is displayed. This capability is particularly important for authors and media personalities. With the explosion of ebook viewers, tablets, and smartphones, the modern author is no longer an architect of the paper word. We are now architects of the printed word, whether in a book, or on a digital screen. It's critical that our audience be able to consume our brand whether at home or on the run.
If a reader is consuming a book on the Kindle Fire, that person should easily be able to jump to the author's official website and view its content in a tablet-friendly format. Drupal's Omega theme makes this "chameleon like" nature much easier to develop. Try it out. Check out this site on your home computer, then on your smartphone. The site should morph to fit the size of the display.
There is still much to be done, and some bugs to iron out, but I am excited by the possibilities and hope my audience will be too.
....to be continued.