Tonight’s #blogchat was all about blog design. It seemed like an awesome subject, having just finished off the first iteration of my new theme, but honestly the pace was a little too quick for me to really pull much out of it. Not a lot of moderation either – a very real conversation. One of the reasons I dig #blogchat so much is the varied tone – tonight was no different.
Above the fold is Manhattan.
I missed who said that one, but I agree – so much of our design attention is spent on holistic approaches, UI design and the damnable details that often when designing any website – especially a blog – we can forget to consider the depth of peoples’ viewing environment. Of course, this leads in to; are you designing for phones, or the iPad?
No one brought up accessibility concerns like high-contrast CSS sheets, screen reader design or anything of the like. I’m not surprised, honestly a little disappointed. But that’s something for another day.
Blogrolls are a waste of time.
So what do we replace them with? Blogroll pages, with details and reasons for why to follow a blog? I like that, but I’d offer going one step further; we do roundups all the time of blog posts, topics and so on. Why not do monthly blog roundups as well? Share the new, boost the consistently relevant? It’s all in the details, right? Organic and real is better than dropping a link on a sidebar. That much I agree on.
TweetMeme button and Fb like buttons – pros and cons?
None listed, opinion only. Not much discussion on this, but honestly – I leave a Facebook like bar on my posts and it never gets clicked. I had a TweetMeme button on my posts for two months and had no significant change in traffic or visitor behaviour. Why include details that do nothing for my visitors? TweetMeme gone, Fb bar likely to go away too.
Stupid design hacks: Styling Disqus comments.
@OrganicSpider asked about Disqus comments and styling – and here’s the answer. The awkward thing about disqus is that the styles are rather bland, and may not play nice with all blog themes. However, thankfully, Disqus comments follow a css style, which you can get by viewing the source on your blog. Style the disqus-related IDs and Classes and you’re set.
@JoeManna asked whether this should be done in Disqus settings or on the site CSS – I think this kind of thing should be carried in a theme style, honestly, mostly because you can better align the style with the remainder of your theme. Sure, you may miss some of the snazzy new images and changes Disqus makes to their comments systems sometimes – but especially if you’re using a dark theme, or some wacky avocado-shade colouring, you want to make sure the details align for a number of reasons.
All of the code for Disqus styling can be attributed to “.disqus_thread” thankfully, so it’s fairly simple to work down in the page source and get everything styled out. If I hadn’t included this, it would have meant white text entry boxes, and white entered text. Bad for comment writers.
Dates for blog posts, SEO for blogs.
Design seemed to fall by the wayside here – as soon as SEO comes up in any bloggers gathering, it seems to trump anything else, including good writing practice. People, seriously; if you write good articles, useful to people, which encourage subscription, sharing and comments – that IS your SEO backbone. This combination is one of the reasons – aside from updated content – that Google likes blogs so much lately. Not just updates, but relevance and encouraged user behaviour. Seriously.
As always, it was a good hour. And I’ll be on next Sunday night as well – wouldn’t miss it.
Mack boogied out at 9pm sharp to prep for a flight early in the morning, left the usual transcript: #blogchat transcript, June 13 2010
Naturlich, @KevinLyons also posted a participants’ list: TweepML #blogchat Participants list.