You are here: Home > blog design

December 16, 2006

blog design

Posted by dogpossum on December 16, 2006 5:15 PM in the category dogpossum

Because I'll be sitting about on my clack for the next week (I hope) in between spurts of walking and outside-ing, I have plans to redesign this site.

Right now I'm not happy with the amount of scrolling it takes for me to get to my links in the left column there - I use this site as an oldfashioned home page, where I keep links I use regularly (speaking of which, some need sorting out).
I don't like the stark black/white contrast of the starry background with the white words and I think I need to find a smaller font so the individual entries take up less space. I think there's a bit broken in my template too - I suspect every entry since the last time I fiddled with this site is being kept on this front page (which makes for all sorts of annoying page-opening issues).

I am generally not keen on blogs where I have to click through to the invidual entry to read the whole entry - I like to just read straight down from top to bottom (I'm like this with newspapers too, though). Nor do I like writing to accomodate this break.

I think I need a clearer menu across the top, pointing to things like an about page, a page of links, etc etc.

But there are a few things that kind of have to stay with a blog (with my blog):

  • a big lot of white space to put the entries in
  • a big column to the side where I can put my links so they're quick-to-access (I don't want to click through to them)
  • a search box on the front page (I've shrunk that down to make it less space-consuming)
  • a nice fat dogpossum logo. This needn't be a big banner across the top, but that's the most practical solution (I know a lot of designers think it's naff, but dang, it's been working for newspapers for zillions of years for a reason). I could choose a more squarish logo, perhaps put it over to the side in a wider side bar where I keep the list of things in two columns
  • I like to be accessible, so:
    • I like a page that's a fixed width (and I work on a scale that suits the size monitor most people use to look at my site)
    • I do things like underline links in a contrasting colour (if I neglect the underline colour blind people can't see the links)
    • I use a pale background/dark text contrast (because, as with newspapers, that combination (rather than the opposite), has worked forever, and it's the easiest to read), I test all my code to be sure it works on Internet Exploder (if you're using that to look at this site - CHANGE NOW). This quite often makes me cry, but I deal with it. Even though IE is a piece of shit.
  • I want a nice, clean layout like Barista's, with small headings and without big space-wasting images
  • I want a simple background that makes it easier to read the entries (the words are where it's at - function over form, baby
  • even though things like this look awesome, I want to have right-justified text
  • I want to use the simple fonts I use now (which look better on safari than on IE, but that's not my problem
  • I haven't decided whether I want 2 columns (as I have now) or 3 columns (as < ahref="">here). I know I don't want that thing that's a bit chic at the moment where you have a chunk of info either at the very top, under your banner, or at the bottom of your page. The old-school 2-column/3-column option is most practical when you're dealing with masses of words (as I, and newspapers, do)

My main priorities are: useability; nice clear text; a design that says 'me'.

I've been looking through the usual sorts of web design pages for inspiration (including this one), trying to remember to style it up on the laptop screen, not my giant desk top monitor or The Squeeze's even huger desk top, and trying (and failing) not to fall for bright-colours-and-white-backgrounds again. I style like I dress - playschool presenter all the way.

I suspect that this site will be gradually morphed into the new deal... because I just can't be arsed starting from scratch to make something beautiful that works well. As per usual, I'm too busy writing words to think about the layout of this site.

PS any ideas? Tips? I am a CSS stooge and can html a bit. I say no to javascript because I can't speak it.

Posted by dogpossum on December 16, 2006 5:15 PM in the category dogpossum