Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blog Design Usability

Jakob Nielsen is the guru of web design usability. His tips are the foundation to building a fantastic website.

The article I found particularly interesting was Weblog Usuability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes.

The reason I'm posting a blog about this is because:

  1. I'm still working on the web design of my new blog and I found these tips immensely helpful
  2. I'm tired of reading other people's blog that are horribly designed.

Here are the 6 tips I found most useful:

  1. Links Don't Say Where They Go

    I hate going to blogs and seeing every other word underlined and linking to somewhere. I never click on the link unless I know what to expect. People are already time-poor. No one has time to click on these unknown links.

    Using link titles is one way to create good links. (Link titles should be less than 80 characters, and should only rarely go above 60 characters. Shorter link titles are better). Or, you can just clearly state what the link is linking to.

  2. Classic Hits are Buried

    Don't assume that everyone who comes to you blog has been there from the beginning. Link to past entries in order to help the reader understand where you are coming from.

    An easy way to do this is to clearly state at the top of your entry

    "Read this first: (link 1) and (link 2)".

  3. The Calendar is the Only Navigation

    By nature, blog are listed in a descending timeline. Correctly categorizing your blog posts helps readers find related topics, thereby increasing the likliehood that they will return to your blog.

    Good categories are sufficiently detailed but not too long. Having 10-20 categories is good. Too many are just overwhelming and readers will glaze past them.

  4. Irregular Publishing Frequency

    What's that saying? Less is more.

    This definitely hold true to blogs (and tweets for that matter). You want readers to come running to your website and devour your latest update. If readers don't know when to expect your blog post, the less likely they will return to your site. If you're serious about blogging, set up a publication schedule. That's what I do. I write my articles the night before and then upload them at an opportune time the next day.

    The same with tweeting. You want people to take the time and read what you wrote. If you saturate your readers with meaningless post after post, people will start ignoring you. Their eyes will automatically skip over your writing. You don't want that!


  5. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

    Here's one of my constant dilemmas. Is what I'm writing going to bite me in the ass? There are TONS of topics about my personal life that I'd love to write about. But I hold back because the contents might be seen as inappropriately personal to a potential boss. Until I'm successful and so valuable that bosses don't care WHAT I SAY, then I'll write without any boundaries.

  6. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service

    This is why I'm going through all this effort to create my own website.

    Neilsen says, quote, "Having a weblog address ending in,, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously".

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