Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Top 10 Blog Design Guidelines

Update (Tuesday, November 23, 2004): Thanks to my readers' help, there are really 10 guidelines now (it was originally 5).

* * *

Since one of my interests is web design (okay I know you can't tell that from this blog), and since many of you are bloggers or future bloggers, I decided to do something for the blogging community by compiling a list of blog design guidelines.

As I forsee that some of you may get offended by this list, making slightly hesitant about putting it down, but I figured that since I've already offended not a small number of you with my previous Jay Chou post, I may as well ride the momentum and offend more of you with this one =)

So here are my top 10 blog design guidelines:

#1. Play music when your blog is viewed
All your readers love your musical tastes, or they wouldn't be visiting your blog, would they? And your poor readers probably don't have their own music playing already in the background, so they need you to provide the music. Or if they already have music playing, blending your music with theirs must sound really mellifluous.

#2. Horizontal (sideways) scrolling
Your blog should have your readers' undivided attention. This means that their browsers should be maximized, occupying the whole of their 1024 by 768 screen, otherwise they'll just have to scroll sideways to view all the great stuff you have on your blog. Although web browsers do support a liquid (flexible) layout, who cares? It's YOUR blog so you have every right to impose YOUR design on everyone who views it.

#3. Use of frames
Frames are a godsend. Otherwise how would you be able to squeeze your profile, your picture, your tagboard, your favourite links, your blogroll, etc. etc. into the 1024 by 768 screen? Oh yeah and the blog posts themselves deserve a seperate frame too. And since there are so many frames, you need to keep them modestly-sized, or they wouldn't be able to fit.

#4. Fancy mouse pointers
You readers will be impressed when their mouse pointers change from that boring arrow to something much more exciting, like crosshairs. Or if you're great at (copying others') scripts, there's nothing more awesome than a mouse pointer with a trail of words or stars following it.

#5. Hard-to-read text
You write so well that you shouldn't make it too easy for your readers to read your writings - make them work for it. An easy way to do that is to use tiny fonts, which also makes your blog design look cool. Plus you don't want those old and farsighted geezers reading your blog, do you? Or use low-contrast text that blends nicely into the background. When your readers work hard to read your posts, boy, will they appreciate your words so much more.

#6. Sticky caps
Closely related to #5, but deserving a category of its own because of its importance and what some call "sticky caps". StIcKy CaPs ArE dEfInItElY dA cOoLeSt WaY tO tYpE sTuFf. It TeLlS eVeRyOnE dAt YoU'rE cOoL aNd FuNkY.

#7. Scrolling/marquee text
It's just so boring having words that stay there and not move. Using scrolling or marquee text effects, whether on the status bar (at the bottom of the browser) or on the web page itself makes your blog look so much more dynamic and exciting. Even better if a few of your readers get epileptic fits from that!

#8. Pop-ups
Pop-up windows and dialog boxes are just the way to grab your readers' attention, differentiating your blog from other less interesting blogs which don't have pop-ups, thus showing how unique and great your blog is.

#9. Explosion of colours
Computers these days can display about 16.8 million colours. The normal human can distinguish even more colours. Obvious conclusion? Make use of those colours! Using only a few colours is so boring and monotonous and drab and gloomy; using lots of colours is the only way to do justice to your colourful life!

#10. Customised CSS
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are now the in-thing in web design, so the best way to gain some respect from geeks is to overhaul the CSS on your blog. And as long as it looks OK on your maximised browser (probably Internet Explorer) and monitor resolution (probably 1024 by 768), there's no reason why it shouldn't display correctly on other computers. And can't all those Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc. etc. users just shuddup and use Internet Explorer maximised on a 1024 by 768 screen?

* * *

Darn. I think I've just made a lot more enemies =)

But really, I hope no one is offended, as no offense was meant. I compiled the list with no particular blog in mind - it is the result of a subconscious assembly in my mind as I went through hundreds of blogs over the past months, many highly annoying, some simply painful.

I believe that the most important thing about your blog should be your writings. Okay, and pictures too, if you are pretty =) Thus the overall design of your blog should reflect that, making it as easy as possible for your reader to read your writings. Everything else should be secondary.

* * *

Okay I lied. It's only 5 guidelines.

But you can help me with the other 5 =)


Thanks to you, I now have 10!

P.S. I just realised that most of the items can be found in Singaporean blogs. I wonder why.

32 Comments:

Blogger Bubblemunche said...

Tell me about it... I'm still using one of the default blogger templates, and I've only one lousy pic of myself :D!

My main grouses about some blogs:
1) Minuscule fonts. Makes my eyes squint, so this one takes the cake.

2) Blogs with techno music. I've never seen one before though, thank goodness.

3) Er... that's pretty much about it ;)

7:33 PM  
Blogger Zen|th said...

I'm don't want my blog to be too fancy that's why I'm still using the default template.

One of the rules I learnt in my Interface design class is not too have those lousy horziontal scrollbars (some blogs have so many) because it's going to make people have to scroll a lot to get where they want.

The best interface is the kind where the users can easily find what they want (eg. tagboard) and the layout is simple, easy to understand, like Google.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Germaine said...

you should type in sTicKy tAps and gUsh about sylvester sim too. :)

8:59 PM  
Blogger ningx said...

Blogs with pictures that are of bad resolution/bad colour/stretched to fit wherever they want therefore making the picture ugly! I absolutely cannot stand it.

Bad colours. Like what, lime green and pink. No..:|

A blog entry with lotsa colours and types of fonts and sizes. Emphasizing is good. But never overdo please.

Typing like that -> "i dOnNoE lEhXxx" OR "ii ddonoee llehh." It just makes reading so much harder.

Lots and lots of pop ups with stupid messages like "You are stupid." and when you click ok another one pops up saying "HA! You admitted to being stupid!"

I can't stand music in blogs in general. It is annoying and it's not as if everyone's using broadband or cable. Spare the 56K-ers!

Ok I can go on but I'll sound like some crazy woman. hahahaha.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Nna said...

StuFF liKe thIs unleashes my anal retentive side. *snorts*

All it matters is just the content and well, a decent amount of visuals. Not retina-popping inducing stuff.

1:31 AM  
Blogger FF said...

Oops, I gush about Sly Sim.

Ya lor, I hate people WhO TyPe LiKe ThIs.

And the music slows loading the page down you know.

I hate it when you have to enter a password in a javascript prompt to enter the site. Without the password, you can't even go back to previous page or go to another page.

9:01 AM  
Blogger ivan said...

Guilty as Charged!

I really really hate music that you cannot opt to switch off. that is sooooooo passe... like when i was a tad younger and midi tracks were like cool (kEwL in those days)

11:12 AM  
Blogger JellyGirl said...

hahaha! Love those guidelines!

12:42 PM  
Blogger calm one said...

Bubb: Nothing wrong with Blogger's templates - in fact they are designed by top gun web designers. Only thing is that they're not unique, so people wanna change them.

Zen: Looks like your interface design teacher taught you well. Unfortunately not all teachers who teach web design here at NP knows anything about good interface design.

Germaine: oH YaH I FoRgOt aBt StIcKy CaPs!!!! tHaNx!!! =)

ningx: yup good ones you have there. I think with your help, I can update my post to 10 guidelines! =)

Annabella: yuppers, can't agree with you more!

FF: oh yes passwords. I guess some bloggers have something to hide =) others who have things to hide use pseudonyms or fake names. like me =)

ivan: don't even mention midi. makes my hair stand on end.

jellygirl: thanx =)

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya, stumbled upon your blog and found it quite an interesting read :) Just be glad that some people have not quite yet discovered the full wonders of css :P

Oh i know. What about annoying popups? :P You know the kind that goes **** WeLcOme 2 My BloGzzzZzzzz!!!1 <3 ***

1:19 PM  
Blogger Mabel said...

Hello. I chanced upon your blog and coincidentally I'm from NP too. :) Random clicks on the "Next Blog" button certainly proves to be rewarding, eheh. Those are some interesting guidelines you got there, and rest assured that I won't be heeding them anytime soon. ;)

3:03 PM  
Blogger Yours Potatoly said...

1 little thing that annoys me is the text scrolling in the bar just above your task bar. I don't know what's that called; ain't a HTML dummy for nothing. But the text just.. ANNOYS me!!

6:15 PM  
Blogger creepingking said...

Awesome :)
You pretty much brought out the 'best'.
A few more also-rans for your consideration:
1.) Stolen (oops, let me use the word 'researched') scripts, that over-ride the blogger bar links like Next Blog
2.) Templates, where the comments appear in 'bold' and larger than the main post text - Hmmm, maybe that's a deliberate ploy.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are u from the BA side? And I also reserved the Da Vinci Code almost abt tt time too. What a coincidence..

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey hi~ thanks for visiting my webby @ cranky.unnaked.info :)

11:28 PM  
Blogger calm one said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:31 PM  
Blogger calm one said...

Anon(1:19pm): Some others have discovered CSS, but have unfortunately abused it. Yeah pop-ups... I think you're referring to the Javascript alerts. Thankfully Firefox manages to kill those new window pop-ups.

Mabel: Yeah after you spend so much time and effort on a site, you won't have the mood to change it so soon. At least you're not angry with my guidelines =)

starrily: Are you referring to scrolling text on the status bar (bottom of the browser window)? Whatever... scrolling text of any kind sucks big time!

creepingking: I haven't noticed the overriding of the Blogger bar before, but maybe because it's not really that annoying. But having extra prominent comments is just plain... i-dunno-what-to-say =)

Anon(9:58pm): Gee everywhere I turn, I see da Vinci code. I going crazy...

* * *

I'll update the list of guidelines to 10 as soon as I have more time =)

11:34 PM  
Blogger Claris said...

Applause~ I totally agree with you!
About the music in the background, and the mouse pointers.

Cool. My interest is also web design. And what NP lecturers taught in classes, ok what... That's what i learnt in class. Haha. The Do's and Don'ts

One more guideline to add. If you are choosing other kinds of templates, please ensure there's no pop ups or what so ever.

When i go into some blogs, it will prompt me; "Click to upgrade your explorer!" blah blah all these stuff.

I don't think it's some sort of spyware.

1:46 AM  
Blogger calm one said...

A huge THANK YOU to all who have commented and given me ideas. As you can see, I've added 5 more to get the 10 I needed =) I didn't add in all your suggestions because some of them are quite rare (to me at least), and I felt 10 was enough (otherwise I won't be able to stop). Thanks again! =)

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aLrIgHt mAn.. hOw Do u LiKe tHiS? tOoK mE a wHiLe tO tYpE tHiS sO u bEtTeR rE-rEaD iT 5 tImEs...

cLaRiS

man... it's tough....

8:35 PM  
Blogger Bubblemunche said...

Haha, as long as the bloger is happy, any kind of template also can do ;)

10:40 PM  
Blogger calm one said...

cLaRiS: yeah it's tough! I don't know how those people do it all the time!

bubb: yeah anyone can do anything they like to their blog. But if they want readers, they should spare a bit of thought for the readers.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ack you hit the spot there. I'm glad I have none of those things you mention on my blog ;)

One other thing that you probably won't agree with me is the use of Blogger (and, even worse, LiveJournals). When I comment I have to post as Anonymous unless I have a blogger account too. Somehow that annoys the hell out of me.


Chu Yeow

9:58 AM  
Blogger calm one said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:32 AM  
Blogger calm one said...

Chu Yeow: I actually agree with you regarding Blogger's commenting system (let alone livejournal's), just that I've been to lazy to change it, and allowing anonymous comments is the lazyman's compromise. But now that you've 'complained', it gives me more incentive to use a 3rd party commenting system. I'm sorta looking at haloscan now (since many are using it), but I'm open to alternatives.

p.s. You've got a pretty well-designed blog =)

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wandering semi-randomly around blogosphere today and landed on this hilarity, via Metroblogging Bangkok. Thanks for a very good laugh.

Pim
chezpim.com

6:29 AM  
Blogger J Schnorng said...

Haha...I guess these are things that annoy almost all blog readers, right?

No choice, no choice! I wish there were blog police or something.

Regards,
J

1:20 PM  
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1:36 PM  
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4:24 AM  
Blogger Janice said...

Thanks, I'm learning a lot about blog design. Very useful tip.



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11:35 PM  
Blogger Global Teksol said...

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5:50 PM  
Blogger Ubul Ulet Bulu said...

Hemm i love a simple template on my blog..

Just like the template i'm using on my android tips blog

7:01 PM  

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