Form plus function, please. Recommend some blogs that you like for their successful combination of design plus usability.
I have been tasked with providing a list of well-designed blogs for review, to a colleague of mine who is heavy on tech skills and light on design, and wants to take a submersion course in those who are doing it right, right now. Content comes first, so we are seeking sites that execute well at pretty-but-quietly-effective wrappers -- instead of design for the sake of showing off one's design's skills.
(I have already seen this AskMe
and this one
, but the former was really seeking good content
, and the latter is almost three years old -- I plan to peruse it but expect that the designs that were cited for goodness in 2005 have likely changed today. I also checked previous threads with tags "blogdesign
"; the responses are obsolete IMO)
Open to all suggestions, but special appreciation will be given to those where the site ticks some or all of the following boxes:
- Conveys the blogger's "brand" quickly and effectively
- Easy-to-read posts, where the headlines and meta-data are distinct and don't distract from the content
- Clever use of categories, tags, or whatever system the author is using to demonstrate the different topics of post
- Effective incorporation of graphics and photos
- Has the blogger solved content-variety problems without overwhelming the reader? ie. does the site manage to present "regular" blog posts, and also longer essays, and also those micro-sidebar-one-off things?
- Some element of timelessness: is the design going to age gracefully? Or is it laden with what will become the Comic-Sans and shiny rounded-corner gradient buttons of its time... immediately dating itself as having been launched in 2008?
- Effective handling of advertising, if applicable
- Avoids "overdesign," where every element is some custom icon, the header is five inches high and crammed full of visual stimulus, and the decorative fonts are practically unreadable. You know the type.
There is potential for sites-which-are-not-blogs to be worth mentioning here, but the most helpful answers will be ones that understand that we are looking for design that complements a very specific site purpose... which is blogging, or otherwise providing short chunks of outward-looking content on a regular basis. For example, the site designs at Overstock, Etsy and the New York Post might ring all your bells, but would be of little use here.
Your commentary is exuberantly
welcomed: why you like it, what works for you about the site, what the blogger seems to have "figured out" that other people haven't. Or what you maybe have gleaned, as a regular blog consumer, about the direction that design is headed. Or blog designs that you don't like
, as long as you can articulate why in a constructive way that is relevant to the bullets above (A slamfest isn't productive, and I can certainly find generically bad design myself).
Thanks, MeFites! I look forward to the collective brilliance of your thoughts.