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Web Design in 2005 – Predictions

I’ve been very aware since starting this blog that the design I’ve got here is terrible. One knows by looking at it that whilst I might make a living from blogging that my skills do not lie in the design area (I usually get someone else to do it). However this blog was started purely as an experiment and on the spur of the moment. As a result of the growing readership here I’ve decided that I’m going to do a design update in the month ahead – any volunteers wanting some free publicity for their design work are free to submit their ideas – but in the mean time I might check out this article from Forty Media that has a great article making some predictions about Web Design in 2005.

Some of the predictions they make include:

- Minimalism is out; detail is in.

- Retro/Swiss/Euro is out

- The pure 5-piece website (header, menu, sidebar, content, footer) has worn out its welcome; designers are more willing to vary from the standard.

- Color of the year – Brown. Lots of bold colors this year (maybe my color choice is ok after all?)

- Arial dominates as the body text typeface for the year; despite much disdain for this overused font, it provides some needed relief from the overuse of Verdana.

- The chronological aspect of blogs is downplayed; new ways to search content become popular.

Free Blog Tutorials

Orangejack Blog has a great series of free tutorials for bloggers. They write:

‘Interested in blogging? Don’t know much about what a blog is, why blog, or how to blog? Need to tweak your blog? Do you feel like you need to take some classes on it all?

Well look no futher. I have put together a series on the ins and outs of blogging. I call it the Orangejack Blogging University. Here’s the curriculum in case you’re interested in starting.

Blogging 100: Prerequisites

Blogging 101: Blogger.com

Blogging 102: HTML Code

Blogging 201: Posting Photos

Blogging 202: Publishing

Blogging 301: Marketing

Blogging 302: Webstats

Blogging 401: Template Tweaks

Blogging 402: Etiquette

Found via Micro Persuasions

Unique Titles for Each Page of your Blog

Good post over at Search Engine Roundtable on the importance Unique Titles for Each Page of your Site (Blog). I can’t agree with the post more – I have all my blogs set up this way (ie the title of my post becomes the title of my page) and noticed a huge difference in search engine referrals a few days after I made the change.

Some blogging systems are set up this way by default, but most require you to specify it and manually set it up this way. Also important is having your key words in the URL of your page. I incorporate the title (and therefore the keywords of my post) in my URLs and again noticed an increase in traffic after making this change a year or so back. Here’s an excerpt from the post mentioned above.



‘Each page should have a unique title – one that will attract clicks.

A title consisting of keywords separated by commas may not be the most appealing to surfers – it’s the title that appears as the clickable link in the SERPs. So make it about 8-9 words or less, including the main keyword phrase for the page and also a word or two that’s a variation or additional modifier, to target a little wider variety of phrases.’



Read more at Unique Titles for Each Web Page

update – also check out Permalinks, Key Feature Number One which is a post on the same topic that is well worth the read.

Graphic Design Using Color

by: Kelly Paal

Color is everywhere and conveys a message even if we don’t realize it. While this message can vary by culture it pays to know what colors “say” in your own corner of the universe, and even what color means to your target market.

If you don’t think that color speaks just complete this sentence, “red means —- and green means –“ even a child will know what red means stop and green means go. If such simple ideas work for all of a given culture or market what could it mean to the graphic design of your website, brochure, or product if you know some of this information.

First let’s start with the basics. The color wheel. We’ve all seen it. The color wheel shows the basic colors, each wheel is different in how many shades of each color is shown, but they are essentially the same.

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Where do your Blog Readers Look?

eyemovement.jpg

I just found this fascinating article that has been written about some research into where web page readers eyes go when reading online news sources. I need to digest it a little more yet – however there are some interesting findings in the research that I’m sure would apply to us as bloggers as we consider the layout of our blogs. Here are a couple of snippets from the article.

“The eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right. Only after perusing the top portion of the page for some time did their eyes explore further down the page….

Now also consider another Eyetrack observation: Dominant headlines most often draw the eye first upon entering the page — especially when they are in the upper left, and most often (but not always) when in the upper right. Photographs, contrary to what you might expect (and contrary to findings of 1990 Poynter eyetracking research on print newspapers), aren’t typically the entry point to a homepage. Text rules on the PC screen — both in order viewed and in overall time spent looking at it.”

Read more at Eyetrack III – What You Most Need to Know:

Blog Design – Choosing Colours

One of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to designing your website is to think about your colour scheme. One of the more useful articles I’ve read on this topic is Choosing Colour for your Website

‘For most people, colour is something taken for granted. It is all around us. Yet, when we come to use colour, in paintings, in design, in our furnishings and clothes we often make mistakes because we don’t understand what is going on.

Some people will say that this colour goes with that colour and that “blue and green should never be seen.” They will even try to make up complex tables and formulae for combining colours in pleasing ways. I’m not going to do that!’

Its nice to read a site on the topic that actually uses colour beautifully in their writing. If you want to think more about the colour of your blog you might aslo want to check out some of the following colourful resources.
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Blog Design Showcase

Want to know what a good blog design looks like?

Blog Desiger – Rachel Cunliffe has just released the Blog Design Showcase. She writes:

This is a collection of outstanding blog designs, thoughts on what makes a good blog design, and will also be where I announce new blogs that I have designed.

She also invites readers to submit suggestions for inclusions.

Good weblog design and layout

Here is another worthwhile article on weblog design and layout from How to Save the World. His 9 main points are:

- Use Titles
- Abstract Long Posts
- Use a Teaser Paragraph for Long Posts
- Select a Readable Font, Size & Column Width
- If You’re a ‘Linker’, Add Something of Value
- Give Readers Someplace to Go for More
- Use Graphics If They Add Something
- Use Categories Only If They Help Your Readers
- Use Outlining ‘Twisties’ Cautiously

Each is expanded really well in the original post.

More on Blog Design

Here an old article written by Biz Stone who has been blogging (and writing books) about blogging for years now. This article is on Designing your blog and it has some good tips. His main points include:

- Create Your Own Limitations
- Think Simple
- Adding On (features)
- Designing Beyond the Blog