error This forum is not active, and new posts may not be made in it.
Designing a Page That Compliments Your Content Pt.10 (Consistency)
4/4/2007 2:39:14 PM
Designing a Page That Compliments Your Content Pt.10 (Consistency)

Because your blog shares many attributes of your local newspaper, think for a moment about what the newspaper look like. It has a masthead, headings, and stories. It has a certain number of columns, fonts of a certain size and type, and stories categorized within sections. It looks that way every day. It is consistent.

On the other hand, imagine what you’d think of a newspaper that placed random obituaries in the sports section, put the top story of the day in the classifieds section, or used random fonts and character sizes across an ever-changing number of columns. You wouldn’t have a lot of respect for that newspaper, would you? It would not be taken seriously by most readers. They would ignore it, even though it may be incredibly informative and insightful once they get past the layout. They will ignore your blog, too, unless you learn a lesson from the papers: consistency makes a good first impression.

That means your entries have to look smart and interesting, even before the reader scans a single headline. And your entries must be readable, especially if you are quoting a source and explaining or arguing with that source. This can be done through the use of bolds, indentations, color (either font or background) or as many ways as you can imagine. The only limitations are your imagination and a respect for consistency. What works for one entry should be made to work for all. If a specific layout does not work for most entries, keep experimenting until you find one that does. Your readers will appreciate it.

Your blog entries, laying one after the other on a page, will present the same visual opportunity to make a first impression as the consistent fonts and columns of a newspaper. That means your entries should all look similar. They should have the same font in the same size. The headlines and links should be treated the same way all down the page. If you use images, they should appear in the same place in each entry. The entries, at least on the front page, should be the same size, with no entry so large that it takes up the whole front page unless that’s the only story you’re doing for the day – and you do it every day.

But how do you do that, since you’ll not have the same amount to say about every subject or the same number of images to present? Extra commentary should be handled, like newspapers do it, “behind the fold.”

Take a look at a few of the favorite blogs you chose earlier and notice a linked line at the bottom of many stories. It may say, “More behind the fold” or simply, “Read more.” Notice how each of the entries looks the same, with no long entries taking up the entire page. Notice how if a story does not interest you (and not every one will) you can see the next story without paging down. That blog realizes that if a long story does not interest a reader, she will most likely not skip to the next one unless she can see it; she will likely surf away instead. If it does interest the reader, the rest of the story is only a click away.

Whatever blog software you choose (and we’ll review a few types later) should allow you to put data behind the fold, saving your front page for multiple stories, just like a newspaper does. Remember, the New Media will take the best from the Old Media, and a consistent and serious presentation is one of the best lessons you can learn from them.

Kenneth R Sword Jr

Next topic:Designing a Page That Compliments Your Content Pt.11 (Copyright)


Like us on Facebook!