At time of writing there are 927 blogs signed up to the A-Z Blog Challenge, and I have visited, so far, (again, at time of writing – there’s almost 2000 now!), in preparation for this challenge, over half so far. Read at least one post of about half of those blogs, commented on about a fifth of them. Some of them, I wasn’t interested in the topic or theme of the blog, which is fine. I am not going to be interested in every single blog on that list, that’s just common sense really. I won’t go into the type of blogs I don’t like reading, but, you know, I read what I read and that’s my own personal preference. It’s like reading overall. I like reading detective fiction with women detectives, and sci-fi, I do not enjoy historical fiction, or male gay romance fiction (I really like women), or romance at all really. That’s just me and that’s not really what the point of this post is about.
What I guess both annoyed and disturbed me the most were the amount of blogs that were completely unreadable. Not because of the topic, or writing style, but because of the design of the blog. So many blogs simply hurt my eyes and it made me kinda sad because there really is no need for it. If you’re using wordpress or blogger, they both come with well put together layouts and colour schemes that are easy on the eyes. That are readable. Somehow people have either decided to completely ignore all these nicely and professionally put together designs and while I have nothing against changing layouts to suit your blog, or your own personality and picks colours you like – I do it myself – people need to be aware that there is a find line sometimes between making something personal and making something ugly.
Blogs are things to be read. And if someone cannot read your blog then there’s something very,very wrong with it.
Tiny font for the posts, crazy or ‘interesting’ fonts for the header or hell, the navigation! Clashing colours, green on black, using a lighter shade for the font and the darker shade for the background. Busy, busy, busy pages, with so many images and links and so on that it’s impossible to know where to start, if there is anywhere to start at all. Header images or background images that clash, are out of place (the wrong size, badly repeating, out of focus or pixelated), or that are so busy they distract from the words, the main section of the blog. Images that are just ugly or badly designed in themselves aren’t the worst offence, because, you keep scrolling and I forgive that. Not everyone has Photoshop, or the ability to use Photoshop or a similar program, but of course, a header image that is too busy in itself is hard on the eyes and a little off putting. Headers that move. Or things (images, adverts, whatever) that are moving, or moving too quickly to even see is distracting). Simplicity is key, in my opinion. Clear definition and readable text. These are the most important things, for me, in web design, as well as blog design.
Of course, some of these things are easily fixable by me. I tent to increase the font myself (CTRL + in case you were wondering) because some days my eyes and brain just don’t cooperate or work quite right. Not always, not often, but sometimes I need a bigger font. Not a problem. Colour isn’t always something I can fix. I can highlight text and often do to help me concentrate, which changes the colours and any clashing issues with background.
My main issue I guess, besides the fact that nice, readable, well designed themes are readably available for blogs, is that either you are not reading your own blog over, or checking that it is readable, or that maybe they don’t care, or maybe they really just don’t see it.
My own blog may not be perfect, I have change the colours and the header to the Forever Theme and added a few things to the sidebar, but hopefully the navigation is clear enough (what little there is), the text is readable and it’s easy enough to comment and follow links without the extra stuff I have put on the sidebar being too distracting. Or distracting at all. I want people to read these words. Understand them. Be able to read them even if they ultimately chose not too.
If you put bad web design in google then a lot of example come up, a lot of extreme examples. Most websites that break the rules don’t make all the mistakes, just one or two, but it’s enough.
There are plenty of sites out there to learn about good basic web design, while I was search bad blog design I came across this article that also lists a couple of things I didn’t even mention that do really bug me – like pop ups and forcing people to click off a little bar or box in the middle (or bottom) of the screen that asks you to share the site on social media before you’ve even looked at the blog. Very annoying. It’s a good and short little post that’s pretty important.
You don’t have to be an expert in web design, or even in whatever platform you’re using for your blog, but you do have to have a little common sense.
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