Designing Blogs For Readers

by Christopher Paul on May 29, 2013

Last week Matt Gemmell wrote a great piece on designing a blog for readers that just about everyone I read covered. He goes through a long list of “rules” that one should stick to as much as possible to allow the content to take front and center. This line is my favorite:

When I visit a new blog, as I do several times each day, my first assessment is whether the content is obscured by the design. I’ll rarely consider whether the design enhances the content. I’m visiting for a purpose, and the purpose is to read.

That is one reason why I like RSS so much. with a good reader (like Reeder for the Mac and iOS), the content takes center stage. It’s readable and lets me enjoy the author’s words and point of view without distraction. And I often don’t subscribe to sites who truncate their feeds for very long (if at all). If I find the site valuable, I’ll pay to get a long feed; if not, unsubscribed.

It’s also why I tend to stay away from more “mainstream” sites which have multiple columns, header and footer areas, sidebars, media boxes, and all sorts of confusing containers for content I can’t pass judgment on and, therefore, can’t risk wasting my time on something that won’t interest me in the end.

When I did my last redesign, I tried to mirror many of the blogs and authors Matt mentioned as those to be inspired by as I was. I think I’ve done a decent job. Over my vacation, I hope to go through another round of revisions to bring my CSS hacks into a proper child theme while retaining the look I have today.

There may be school of thought from a UI/UX perspective but Matt’s list is pretty spot on. If you’re designing a blog, read this first.

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