Blog design is a combination of aesthetic as well as function. In our everyday lives we are all designers. Look know further than the appliances you surround yourself with in your home and how you utilize them.
When creating a blog you have two choices with design: hire Someone or DIY. There is the saying that you get what you pay for so keep that in mind.
When hiring a blog designer ask:
- Do they have a portfolio?
- Do you like them?
- Be clear with what you want
- Know the budget (e.g. flat pay vs. hourly pay)
- Know what their services provide (e.g. design, maintenance)
Know that with structure HTML is considered sloppy, XHTML is considered strict, and HTML5 is considered more modern. HTML and HTML5 work with how browsers handle files like how media files are displayed or audio files are played.
Now that you know the basics of the web and how you are going to approach your website’s design you need to ask yourself WHY ARE YOU KEEPING A BLOG? This will help you understand parameters of what kind of design will best be suited for your blog. If you are unsure of your exact design needs then look around at other blogs to see what resonates with you. See where your moments of perfect clarity (or good design) are.
Do not make the user have to think when navigating – make content obvious and self-explanatory
Visitors scan, they don’t read. Their eyes go from left to right, then down, then left to right, etc.
We don’t make optimal changes
Speed is essential (designer and developer consideration)
Follow a visual hierarchy
Where can I go from here?
Where am I now?
Can I search for something?
TESTING FOR USABILITY (Figure out your content)
Testing the site for 1 person is 100% better than not testing the site at all
Testing with 3-5 people will reveal 80% of issues
Guided vs. Unguided Testing – Ask questions then don’t talk (which is hard), but record reactions
Video test – record what is going on during testing
Be nice to your testers
Do not use more than 3 fonts on a site and use them wisely (e.g. heaviest font should be the header font)
RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN – this is the BIG trend in web design right now. MOBILE FIRST!!!
Tumblr – your content is trapped in that ecosystem, which is hard to retrieve when wanting to remove or copy
Blogger – mobile version as option these days (responsive design at work)
WordPress – Jim’s preference with a core code that is not edited. This platform is like play-doh with how we get to mold. There are many plug-ins to use that add custom functionality to your web design.
WOO Themes – $150 inclusive access to all themes or free themes *as an option
live theme viewer makes it so you don’t have to upload to see what it looks like
DOMAIN NAMES – you rent a domain name and have to keep paying rent or it can be swiped and sat on with an increased asking price
HOSTING – where pages live. You can choose for wordpress to host or go to another party like Dreamhost that you pay as they host
OTHER TOOLS AND STUFF
Firebug (if you really want to get down)
This presentation was done by Jim “Mister Bondage” Doran. When not pounding the shit out of people, Mr. Bondage is a professional Web designer/developer, WordPress expert, faculty at CCBC, technical book editor and international artist. Learn more about roller derby athttp://chesapeakerollerderby.com/ and Mr. Bondage at http://jimdoran.net/ .
This live-blogging recap was done by Kia M. Ruiz of Bodhi Bear