Monday, December 05, 2005

Best blog design?

The 2005 Weblog Awards finalists have been chosen.

Some of my favorite nominees in the "Best Blog Design" category did not make it to the finals:
  • Point Five. I don't really get what's going on, but it looks great.

  • We Surf For You - it doesn't aggravate my claustrophobia.

  • This one, never nominated, has a nice menthol attitude and navigation system: seaSons.

  • Nominated in some other category, but I commend its calm and readable design:

  • This one is a finalist: Sharp as a Marble. The type is small, but I like it anyway.

So many sites have tiny type like this - and like this one, which is actually nominated for a best design award ...

  ... even though it ALSO has that sadistic white-type on dark-background thing going on!  

It occurs to me that many designers have huge monitors - so the type doesn't look small to them.

Some people are people viewing at 800x600 resolution. For them, some sites (including mine, unfortunately) don't work correctly and require scrolling.

Sites like make me feel like an asthma attack is coming on. Or this or this or this.

A question for anyone who's interested: I know younger eyes don't mind eensy-sized text crammed tightly together - but really, WHY cram a page like that? When the real-estate is, after all, free? (It's not like you have to cram everything onto an 8-1/2 by 11 sheet of paper to save printing costs!)

Overloaded blogs may be the rage, but they make me tired and I don't have the inclination to read them.

My contrarian move to bigger type and more line-spacing: daughter Melina (a young woman with excellent eyes) thinks it's too big now.

Honestly, what do you think? Comments on readability/design in general or the Pratie makeover in particular are humbly solicited.

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At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These 55 year old eyes like the type size and spacing just fine.


At 3:03 PM, Blogger MLight said...

Well, I went and looked at Gleeson, and realized that I've got in the habit, from reading the newspaper online, of only looking at the middle column of three columns. Which is why, when I designed my blog, I stuck to two columns and tried to keep a more open feel.

I like the type size and spacing (especially since, at this point, I refuse to go to bifocals), but did you edit down the quote under "Pratie Place?" I liked the full quote too!

At 3:37 PM, Blogger CGHill said...

I'm a firm believer in simplicity above all else. (God forbid someone should actually read the source on my site to see the hoops I jumped through to make it look simple.)

And while three-column layouts probably help the guys who sell blog ads, I usually end up squinting at them.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger kenju said...

I love larger type on clean backgrounds, with plenty of contrast - or I move on to another blog. No way do I want to strain my eyes to read something that doesn't make it easy for me.

I heartily agree with your changes. Tell Melina that when she is over 50 or so, she will appreciate why some of us like it that way.

Some of the blogs you linked to here are way too visually messy; which usually leads me to skim the post content - and skip the sidebars altogether.

Had to laugh: the word verification for this comment is "faahk". Makes me think of the way that Ahnold S. might swear!

At 3:48 PM, Blogger matthew said...

I agree and I'm only 24. I hate small fonts on a site (blogs especially).

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble) said...

I don't fix the font size (only the starting point). My site should scale up if you need larger fonts. As a professional web guy, I know I use a ridiculously high resolution and that most people don't.

Let me know if the screen doesn't scale for you 'cuz that's something I thought I'd worked in there.

And thank you so much for the mention. Had it not been for Technorati, I wouldn't have known I had even been nominated!

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

I like the homegrown, simple style blogs - when it gets too busy and fancy, I generally look for the ones that are simple in style.
Just found your blog - I am a musician too, teach in the public schools in special education.

At 12:56 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

Your font size is perfect for me (but I'm using 600X800) and I also hate messy blogs. I don't bother reading them, usually.

Also, white on black is impossible on my old screen, so even if I want to I can't read those. And pale text on a pale background tends to fade away so I can't see it anyway. I have been to blogs that are apparently blank except a few pictures.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Linda said...

That's why I like Firefox so much. If you hold down the CTRL key and hit + it enlarges the text. Even the white text on black is easy to read without my reading glasses.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

One of my biggest pet peeves is white text on a black background. It really strains my eyes, and every reputable source I've ever read about web design says it's a no-no. You should not have to change browsers or resolution or adjust your font size either, according to standard good practices. Same goes for fancy fonts. I took a blog off my blogroll that was very pretty and thoughtful but it used a font that was difficult to read, and I finally decided that it wasn't worth the effort.

I agree, simplicity is best. I learned when I worked in bookstores that too many displays at the front negated the impact for all of them. Same goes for websites and blogs.

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous corey said...

does my blog use too-small fonts?

i am sure some people hate the dragonflies. does anyone use a feedreader? then you can format the text however you want.


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