September 11, 2008

Blog user interfaces

Over on A World of Bytes, I’ve started highlighting interesting tech blogs people might enjoy. However, I chided each of my first three selections for UI failings. A comment thread quickly ensued, and social media maven Jeremiah Owyang asked how he could make his blog easier to read. This post is a followup to that discussion.

Jeremiah’s blog and my most active ones – DBMS2 and Text Technologies – have a lot in common. Specifically, they are multi-hundred-page websites, featuring dense material meant to be read by busy, tech-savvy people. And so my core advice boils down to: Make it as easy as possible for people to find and recognize what is interesting to them.

In particular, I suggest:

I could go on at great length, listing important possibilities that did not make the cut on my screen real estate, but might be worth it for you (starting with ads!!). Or I could highlight subtleties, like the just-for-me invisible log-in button my web designer Melissa Bradshaw gave me (just to the right of “Subscribe!”). But this has gotten long enough for a single post. :) And so I’ll close with a question:

Which aspects of my blog interfaces do or don’t work particularly well for you?

Feedback would be most helpful.

Comments

5 Responses to “Blog user interfaces”

  1. Do I need a blog redesign? on September 11th, 2008 8:25 am

    […] and gave me some feedback when I asked how I can improve, (read comments) then extended it to his own personal blog with practical recommendations. He gives me and other bloggers some food for thought on effective blog design for […]

  2. Andrew Lampert on September 12th, 2008 5:26 am

    Hi Curt,

    As a reader of your blog, I didn’t even know (or at least didn’t remember) what your blog looked like until I came here to write this comment. Consuming a blog through an RSS reader makes many of the issues you’ve identified less important or irrelevant (category pages, good search, many posts visible etc.).

    Of course, you have to get people to subscribe to your feed, and I guess that’s where your comments can help. It also depends on the nature of your audience as to the significance of RSS readers as a delivery channel.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  3. Curt Monash on September 12th, 2008 3:23 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    I wouldn’t disagree with any of that.

    Thanks,

    CAM

  4. John Troyer on September 21st, 2008 11:19 pm

    Hate excerpts — I like coming back to Jeremiahs every week or two and scrolling through everything like scanning through the newspaper. If he excerpted everything, I would read 1 in 10 posts.

    As always, it depends (on your content, your audience, and their use patterns).

  5. Curt Monash on September 22nd, 2008 5:31 am

    John,

    There’s one in every crowd. :)

    Actually, given the size of Jeremiah’s readership, in his case there probably are a LOT in every crowd …

    Best,

    CAM

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