Unfortunately some of the most successful blogs on the internet today suffer from some of the worst design choices ever. I however do not blame the designers or the blog owners themselves, as a lot of these have become very common in blog design. My time spent browsing the blogosphere has allowed me to compile a list of the most annoying choices in blog design today.
7. Liquid Content Columns
I know that this is going to really upset a lot of developers, but liquid layouts rarely work. While there are a few sites out there that do it well, the majority of the sites that attempt it just suck. Unfortunately this is just not good typography, on larger resolution monitors the line length is just too long, and makes reading very tiresome.
6. The Post Calendar
Can we let this thing die already, no one uses it and all it does it show your visitors that you haven’t posted a new article in the last 12 days.
5. Tag Clouds
While the functionality of tag clouds is arguable helpful, unfortunately most tag clouds appear as nothing more than a jumbled mess. So messy in some cases that they are actually too hard to disassemble in a reasonable amount of time, and are just avoided by users.
4. Text Size Adjustment Tools
While you may think that leaving text size adjustment up the user is a good idea, in reality it just shows an inability to make a simple design decision. Users who prefer larger text sizes most likely have set their browsers to override your settings, making this “tool” useless anyways. Instead take the time to set content text with great leading and ample contrast, so that you can achieve great legibility without having to resort to huge text.
3. Third Party Widget Overload
While these widgets offer a ton of great benefits, and can bring great services to your users however without some customization they stick out like a sore thumb. Most of these widgets carry a very strong branding of their own that can clash with your blog’s branding and steal hierarchy away from more important page elements. This goes for social media tools as well, believe it or not but 3 or more of them look cluttered and amateurish.
2. Huge RSS Icons
Who put make my logo bigger cream on the RSS icon? I know that getting RSS subscribers is an important goal of blogs, however there is no need for them to take up a complete upper third of your blog. Enough said.
1. Next & Previous Pagination Buttons
In my opinion you should never use next and previous for your pagination on a blog. Next and Previous what? Is it the previous page, previous posts, or previous in time? Next and previous are extremely vague descriptions. Blogs typically are organized in chronological order so why not use a time based description such as newer and older, or avoid this situation all together and use a numerical pagination.
Disclaimer: Please realize that there are situations in design when any of the above scenarios could be used with great success, however in most situations my opinions hold true. That said, comment away, let me here your take…