21 Jun 2022
READMEs provide a canvas for developers to curate their developer identity.
Before this ship, user profiles were largely structured around high level elements like pinned repositories and low level metrics like daily contributions or summaries of activity by month. Profile READMEs provide GitHub users expansive flexibility in representing themselves and their work.
Before this ship, GitHub user profiles were largely structured by elements that provided proof of contribution, such as pinned repositories and contribution graph. It was difficult for users to curate a more holistic view of their developer identity; the diversity and richness of developer work was thusly somewhat flattened by the profile.
Instead of introducing more modular components to the profile to surface different kinds of information, we explored adding READMEs to profiles. READMEs were a compelling addition due to their ubiquity on GitHub — in addition to providing a canvas for writing and expression, they would be a familiar pattern.
READMEs were already ubiquitous on repositories and provided a canvas where users got to decide what information was shared and how it was designed. Since READMEs already served as customizable cover page for repositories, they offered a reusable and extensible solution.
Profile READMEs will provide GitHub users more flexibility and space in sharing who they are on their profile page. It will allow users to fill in the gaps on their current GitHub profiles, which do help users elevate their popular repositories and contribution activity, but don’t help users share a narrative or allow for much creative expression. We’ve seen READMEs work very well for repositories, and we want to extend this capability to our users:
:thinking: What do our users think?
We first asked users what they wanted to share about themselves, and then saw an overwhelmingly positive response to @mikekavouras’s initial spike of this feature when it was shared out on Twitter (the tweet went viral almost immediately, having reached almost 1 million impressions so far).
On top of requesting to be added to the feature, many users thought that, with this README, their profile will get closer to being a résumé. We can interpret this to mean that many users feel that the current GitHub profile is not an adequate representation of their developer experience and history and would like it to be.