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Why Blogs Are Annoying 7 April 2010

Posted by Scott Loughran in Design.
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Mashable.comThere is something about blogs that annoy me. There is some really awesome content out there that is provided by some really intelligent and witty people, but there is something about all of my favorite blogs that annoy me more than a high school valley-girl giving a speech where every other word is “like.” I think this is one reason why I fail every time I recommit myself to be a more consistent blogger. Not my fear of sounding like a valley-girl, but my annoyance comes from blog navigation. Is it just me (it often is), or is blog navigation horrendous? Impossible to find that one posting from six to twelve months ago that would help your boss “get it.”

In The Design of Everyday Things Norman talks about how when human beings design something, his example is a door, we choose for some reason between aesthetics and function (pg. 3). Readings Normans argument based on the concepts of visibility and nature, I found myself scouring through my favorite blogs and asking myself, “Of what is visible, do I naturally know where to go?” Here are the six blogs I looked at (in no particular order):

  1. http://thehopkinsonreport.com/
  2. http://www.hardknoxlife.com/
  3. http://mashable.com/
  4. http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/
  5. http://flipthemedia.com/
  6. http://www.altimetergroup.com/blog

What I see on these six blogs (which I would suggest to anyone wanting to know more about digital media’s influence on brands, marketing, and customer engagement), is the predicament of Internet – what is natural? Are navigation bars with page names across the top natural? Are all these bubbles and alternate nav along the right side where I expect them? Can I see what I want or am I inundated with content? This exercise made me realize how do you determine “natural” amongst a tool presented through four major browsers on three major operating systems which is created in over a dozen different coding languages in the US alone? We haven’t even questioned visibility yet!

As I work through creating my own blog from scratch over the next several months I hope to better understand Norman’s idea that how we interact with something, if designed well, will present us with visual cues that allow us to naturally comprehend or instinctually understand how to interact with it. I believe that many times we see the opportunity to share our knowledge through a blog as an exciting adventure often times cut short for our readers by poor design. It may not even be our fault – many of us can’t even design a basic paper airplane to operate to mediocre level. That’s fine, and that may be part of why our readers like you, but this current level of design is why people say “Content Is King,” because they don’t have the slightest clue on what a royal design could do for their content.

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