Chris Pearson writes on the holy grail of design, or “the one element that you absolutely must nail if you want your Web site to be effective and useful for your readers.” In essence, I think I can capture his sentiments in one word: usability. I’ve always been a usability buff (though not an expert) and I would think everyone should be to some extent. After all, we are users ourselves and we should always design with the end-user in mind. This doesn’t only apply to webistes, per se, but also to blogs.
For your blog to be effective and serve its purpose, you should have the right design elements at the right places. For instance, in my opinion, I prefer to make the main content the focus of my blogs. I usually do away with superfluous elements, while sticking to the essentials. And I try to set the focus towards the main content.
An intelligent, meaningful design process (and the only one worth paying for!) looks like this:
- Decide what the important elements of the site are
- Decide where these elements need to go
- Design an “exoskeleton” that accommodates these elements and provides visual clues that enhance the usability of the site
Of course, I reiterate (as I always do when writing about “design”) that design should mean not only style but the entire architecture of the website (or any other object for that matter).