This is an alarming trend in many blogs that I want to subscribe to. The most interesting factoid in this complaint of mine is that many of these blogs belong to big shots in the application development, promotion and design arena. In many cases they provide ample reasons for their blogs’ appearance (much of which I disagree with personally) but since they are the masters of their domain, my opinion really does not matter. In some cases, a lot of their readers agree with their design tactics and believe that they are appropriate and even well justified.
I need to flesh out my thoughts and realize that an accusation like this is irrelevant without any examples to look at directly. But since antagonism is not my intent and I quite like and respect most of these people, I will refrain from pointing out any particular links.
I might be wrong and crabby about all this and so I ask you. The three main questions are:
1) What visual prompts make a blog a blog? A blog in the “skinned” form of a magazine with changing information in (all) three thin columns, is very hard to read. I personally really dislike the highly fashioned blogs with weird fonts and a big celebrity picture up on top (e.g. fan blogs) but then again I don’t read those much. How many columns are too many columns? Should all three columns contain dynamic information? I dont think so. Should one column be discernable as the main column which contains the real meat of the blog? I think so. Which column works best as the main column?
2) Are the customary blog contents (such as the archives, calendar, categories etc.) important to the readers’ experience? Can they be tucked away in smaller, less conspicuous areas and still make the blog easy to navigate? (I know someone that does this incredibly successfully and I find their blog a joy to read)
3) I know colors matter but do we need lots and lots of visual cues to make our blogs look fancy? By visual cues, I mean the little permalink icons or the comment icons or even fancy little icons to denote links. (I am guilty of this myself) Does the little comic thought icon (I don’t know how to describe it any better) make a blog look better? My problem is that I am a little slow and every third blog finds a new little icon to denote comments and I get lost. Thank God for alt tags!
Till I find myself to be a little more tolerant and because I really want to read your content, I will just subscribe to your feed (which you hopefully provide) and read your content my way.
Oh, and please do not find a way to send the comment thought icon in your feed.