October 1, 2008

What Design Flaws Need Fixing In This Blog?


Font, spacing, line spacing, color, layout, etc-- if anyone has an eye for design, some help would be appreciated.

And please no "one huge design flaw is you're an idiot!" jokes.  I'm already aware of those.  That's what the rum is for.






Comments

The archives that you have ... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 9:53 AM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

The archives that you have now are useful, but I think they would be more useful if they were organized according to month and year, e.g. a link for 9/2008, 8/2008, 7/2008, etc. I don't know if it's possible to do this retroactively, though.

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It's fine as is. ... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 10:23 AM | Posted by Matthew Platte: | Reply

It's fine as is.

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The vertical white space he... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 10:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The vertical white space here has always seemed excessive to me. A line height of 1.8 em is almost double-spaced. I think 1.25 em is easier to read. There could be less vertical space between elements, too. For example, the h1 heading at the top of a page does not need any padding below it.

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I'd like to see an RSS feed... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 11:11 AM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

I'd like to see an RSS feed for comments.

The google ads in the middle of the post make it somewhat hard to read, just because they look visually so much like the actual text. Any way to differentiate them more?

I like the minimalist layout, if that's what your going for, you can find other designs to bounce off of a plaintext.org

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I second the archives being... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Posted by j: | Reply

I second the archives being organized according to date. Along with that though, you could have something like "last five posts" list with the titles of the last 5 posts. Also, please have a colored background, and then a lighter color background for the text portion: easier on my eyes. Also, please consider making your writing "real estate" a bit bitter, width wise.

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When scrolling I often conf... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 12:54 PM | Posted by Daniel Cousineau: | Reply

When scrolling I often confuse the "recommend to a friend" box for the comment box only to be frustrated when I realize it's not the comment box and I have to scroll down. Perhaps either differentiate the two or more likely just remove the "recommend to a friend" box since people will permalink anyways rather than hand a semi-anonymous third party their friends email address.

Also, and while I understand you need revenue, as a user I HATE ads that blend in with the rest of a high content site. E.G. the current google text ad's your using. Possibly put a border and background around them and make them pop out of the content so I get less distracted while reading.

Finaly at the end of your posts you have a LOT of wasted space with the Digg and Reddit widgets, the rating widget, and the donating link. Since you have the icon row at the bottom, consider moving the Digg and/or Reddit widgets to the top right of the posts which seems to be a norm. By the time I've finished reading an article I've completely forgotten to digg it, most of the time I and people I know digg based on summaries. While the donation link could be considered redundant, it's still fine, just streamline the end of the posts. Maybe throw the rating at the top as well?

But in summary, biggest thing I think you can do is destroy the "Recommend to a friend" box.

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The google ads in the middl... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 1:21 PM | Posted by Esther: | Reply

The google ads in the middle of the posts are annoying. The header could be more interesting. I don't get why your header says "Updated Tuesdays and Fridays" when you don't keep to that schedule. I second the removal of the "recommend to a friend" box.

I really like the general look of your blog. I prefer more plain looking sites that are easy to read and you've got that.

One other suggestion I might add is an archives link of some sort. Also organizing archives by date is nice. Maybe I'm just not noticing it, but I can't seem to find that on here.

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I see you are a reader of V... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 3:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I see you are a reader of Volokh

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The links on the side seem ... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Posted by lisa: | Reply

The links on the side seem to have a fixed color. This means my browser doesn't get to change the color of those links I've visited recently. If you would un-fix the color, or have your own chosen color for visited links, that would be helpful.

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I would like to see archive... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 5:22 PM | Posted by Lynne: | Reply

I would like to see archive links by month so that I easily find past articles.

As far as the whiteness goes... I don't mind it. It's crisp, clean, and doesn't distract from the actual content of the site.

Also, for those of you who don't like ads, download Firefox (http://en-us.www.mozilla.com/en-US/).

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The ads are how Alone pays ... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 7:25 PM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

The ads are how Alone pays for the site, I imagine. High-traffic websites aren't cheap to maintain.

Probably, if enough of us actually used the paypal donate button on the top right, he could do away with the ads. Or that might just be the social worker in me talking. ;-)

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I like the way the archives... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2008 9:34 PM | Posted by Val: | Reply

I like the way the archives are listed....how do I know if any given topic in March 2006 has any interested for me. Like being able to access by topic alone.

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Graphic designer here. Firs... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2008 6:29 AM | Posted by BOBK: | Reply

Graphic designer here. First I enjoy your blog. I almost always find it thought provoking, even when I think you're simply mad. As for design? Well, try the following:

1) As is, blog looks like a b&w newspaper with poor layout. If your going to keep it so black and white, then please tighten up the line spacing and perhaps slightly embolden the text. Frankly, I'm not nuts about the font, seems amateurish, elementary school-ish or picked at random. Let me know if you'd like some suggestions, and I'll give you a free five-minute consultation. $75/hour after that.

2) Dispense with ads between posts and relegate them to there own area.

3) If so moved, it would be great idea to add color --perhaps to delineate content categories or page areas. Also, graphic structures can lend a real sense of dimension and please the eye. I think this actually makes online reading more pleasant. Think "magazine".

4) By all means, provide the ability to look at posts by date, and try to come up with some basic categories by which to group posts as another format.

5) Don't stop writing about whatever the hell you want to write about.

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I typically only read you v... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2008 7:36 AM | Posted by Andy: | Reply

I typically only read you via the RSS feed, except when I'm forced to comment like now to ask what rum you drink. Also why the narcissism fixation?

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The google adds are in the ... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2008 10:32 AM | Posted by Dr Shock: | Reply

The google adds are in the way, loose them or replace them. You could do with some color and elegant header. While your at it loose the recommend to a friend.
Make a design with readers being drawn into the post. Contents is everything and your blog excels in it so make it the center of the design.
Regards Dr Shock

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Zaya rum is my favorite.... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2008 10:48 AM | Posted, in reply to Andy's comment, by ALone: | Reply

Zaya rum is my favorite. Ten Cane, a different flavor altogether, is also good, but for different circumstances. 2:1 with water, or straight. No ice.

Thanks everyone for the comments, keep them coming, I am making a list and learning html.

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It would be nice if you cou... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2008 11:02 PM | Posted by Harold Perry Dahl: | Reply

It would be nice if you could search through comments. I remember seeing some very clever comments that I couldn't find again. Can such functionality be enabled in movable type?

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The only change I'd really ... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2008 1:33 AM | Posted by Lee B.: | Reply

The only change I'd really like to see is for the "continue reading" link to only be added to posts that have some text that isn't on the front page.

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The column for the article ... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2008 6:11 AM | Posted by Odm: | Reply

The column for the article is really narrow, while there are large blank columns on either side. Of course, this is typical blog design, for some crazy reason.

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I like the spare style but ... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2008 12:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I like the spare style but would really appreciate comments to a post be under the post, in a different font or indented. That way you don't have to scroll as much, you don't always have to peer for who said what about what ....

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Thanks for publishing your ... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 1:59 PM | Posted by Brian: | Reply

Thanks for publishing your complete feed. I cancel tease-only feeds, because I don't have time to visit every blog I read every day. Since your words are what I value, and I read your blog by feed, everything is great.

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When I rate a column (nice ... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2008 9:45 AM | Posted by secret agent girl: | Reply

When I rate a column (nice idea, BTW) the screen jumps to the top of the post. I wanna stay by the stars so I can then read the comments!

Otherwise, it's good. I really dislike video and audio. Simple colors and layout are fine. I block the ads so they don't pester me.

Oh, I guess you could reduce the line spacing a bit. But a short line (wide margins) is A Good Thing.

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Not a design flaw, but a su... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2008 11:05 PM | Posted by worger: | Reply

Not a design flaw, but a suggestion: I would enjoy it if you did a podcast so we could listen to your ideas instead of (or in addition to) reading.

Thanks for all your hard work on the site.

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Someone mentioned this alre... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2008 1:53 AM | Posted by Robin: | Reply

Someone mentioned this already, but it would be much appreciated if there was a colored background since staring at a primarily white screen tires the eyes quickly.

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I like having the black pri... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2008 8:46 AM | Posted by ruth: | Reply

I like having the black print on a while or gray background. It is the easiest for these middle age eyes to read.

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The content to me is by far... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Posted by Chad: | Reply

The content to me is by far more important than the style. The width is traditional "blog style" as has been mentioned, but it would be nice to have an option to widen the column. Even if it was just to another fixed width (I'm a huge fan of 100% fluid though) that is wider would be nice.

Whatever you end up doing (if anything) don't let it detract from the content. This is by far my favorite blog.

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Just one major flaw. Not ne... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 3:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just one major flaw. Not nearly enough articles:)

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WOW! This is a symbol of ex... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 2:22 AM | Posted by Clipping Path: | Reply

WOW! This is a symbol of excellence! Fantastic creation. Thanks for sharing...

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