Okay, so I have just pushed an idea for a random image on the home page. I thought of this while travelling, so I thought I’d implement it while it was fresh.
This would replace the epigraphs widget. I’ll explain my idea first, then implementation.
###A nice home page
So we haven’t given this much thought, but obviously it is important to have a well-designed home page. i am particularly concerned about those who might show up semi-randomly. I’m not really worried about traditional Buddhists or scholars or monks; they’re a captive audience. But what about some random internet person who shows up, vaguely expecting to find something on Buddhism, maybe?
The epigraph widget was a way of addressing this. Show a brief snippet of a text from a sutta, to give people an idea what the texts contain. Now, i think that is fine, but it takes too long to read. In internet time, we want to catch someone’s attention in a second or so, and the way to do that, as pretty much any advertisement will tell you, is with a striking image and a few words. So that’s what I’ve done.
The approach i’ve taken is something of an evolution from my idea of Buddhist memes. The point of focusing on similes in the suttas was to remind people with images of the core teachings and ideas that we find in the suttas. But here i am more interested in a humanistic approach. I want to show people, in some interesting or evocative form, together with some Dhamma principle, a quote or paraphrase from the suttas.
Rather than using the people in the image as a lesson or an example, I have tried to approach the images with compassion, to see what Dhamma qualities they evoke in me, and with the hope that a diverse range of people, not just Buddhists or monks, would see something of themselves in them.
I chose a few images from https://unsplash.com/, which has fantastic, freely available high-def images. I selected ones that I could connect to in some way; and in addition, I only used images that had some orange in them, to connect them with the site header color.
Anyway, this is obviously just an initial trial, but hopefully you can see what I’m aiming at.
I’ve used random-image from webcomponents. It changes among a set of images when you refresh, similar to the old epigraph.
This is a very bare-bones component, so we might want to fancy it up a little. But personally I like it simple.
A couple of technical notes. The element is not registered with bower, so i had to manually add iron-images to bower.json as a dependency. Also, for some reason I couldn’t get it to work with relative paths for the images, so it currently pulls them from the web address at github. I’m sure this is just my ineptitude, so hopefully one of you can fix this for me.