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August 7, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter Design: How Many Feed Icons Do You Need?

A question came up during this WTF Blog Design Clutter series asking how many feed icons to we need on our blogs. We looked at feed clutter on your blog but how many is too many and which ones do you need?

How many do you think you need?

The two most popular feed types are RSS and Atom. That’s it. How many feed icons do you have on your blog? Hmm?

These are the types of feed, the code that generates the feeds based upon XML formats. From here, there are different types of content that can go into the feed, various off-site alternatives for handling your feeds (called feed subscription services), and many colorful, cluttering feed icons that promote all the different feed readers. read more

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August 3, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Unrelated Ads Angst

You know them. Those ads, often text-based, that appear in the sidebars, headers, footers, between posts, in posts, and all over blogs. The ads use an algorithm to evaluate the keyword content and publish ads related to the keywords. We all know how fallible those attempts are, don’t we? When it comes to WTF Blog Design Clutter, the distracting ad that pulls us from the content to the ad with a “WTF is that doing here” thought can ruin your blog reading experience.

A friend of mine shared the story of her husband’s struggle to recover from a stroke on her blog. There were laughter and tears in her stories, but also distractions. Her husband’s nickname is Joe and the ads in the sidebar showed horrible ads for Joe Cool, Joe Blow, Easy Joe, and other obnoxious things including cigarettes and light porn. Totally inappropriate. So many people complained, she took down the ads.

While online advertisers are working overtime to figure out profiling techniques, aiming as much related contextual ads at the blog’s visitors, a lot of the ads are totally unrelated, often insulting or demeaning.
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July 29, 2008

WTF Blog Design Elements: Twitter, Tumbler, and Microblog Babble

As we explore our blogs and clean out the clutter in this ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, we’ve looked at the pros and cons of blog clutter with too many “friend” pictures and badges, calendar archives, and most recent comments and shout boxes. Remember that clutter is in the eye of the beholder – the visiting user – not necessarily the blogger. What we see when we visit and use our blogs is not necessarily what the visitor and return reader see or experience. We need to explore our blog’s design through their eyes to help them use and read our blogs.

The usability factor in web design is critical. We often add design elements (widgets and gadgets specifically) to our blog for fun or novelty. We’re flush with the excitement of the latest and hottest whizzbang goodie and we want to share the fun on our blogs. If your blog is getting cluttered with a lot of WordPress Plugins, Widgets, Gadgets, Scripts, and whizzbangs, maybe it’s time to analyze these design elements to find out which ones are most important to your blog and its users – and which one are just clutter.

Today, I want to explore the pros and cons of microblog clutter on your blogs. Are you microblogging?
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