How to evaluate a blog – Part 8:
While most of the previous blog evaluation criteria were pretty objective, we now move into a much more “touchy & feely” area: the aesthetical presentation of a blog.
Website graphics are a means, and not a goal by themselves. Graphics support the purpose of the site. They can emphasize areas, group different topics together, give a touch of professionalism to your site. Or they can make matters worse.
As the French say: “les goûts et les couleurs ne se discuttent pas”: “You can’t really argue about preferences in tastes and colours”, there are still some basic checks:
- Does the site width fit on the most used 1024 pixel screen width, avoiding a horizontal scroll bar? It should!
- Does the graphical presentation represent what the blogmaster wants the blog to “feel” like (see the “ask the questions”-part)? Loads of flashing and moving images would do well on a teenager’s blog, but might not look really professional on a blog for your organisation.
- How many colours are used on the blog? Keep it to a handful.
- Are the colours used to accentuate things, e.g. to indicate different sections? Is there a well-defined use of colours?
- How is the division of “the white”, the blank space around the different elements: when you half-close your eyes until you only see blur areas, do the different elements belonging, still hold together?
- How many different fonts are used? Are they consistently used? Easy to read? While different colours should be used sparingly, we should even be more conservative on the use of different fonts.
- Are the different graphical components (colours, fonts, boxes,…) consistently used for the whole site? Often the home page looks very differently from the post pages. If that is the case, there has to be a reason for it, otherwise, it confuses people.
- A common mistake is to use too many graphic elements, making the blog ‘restless’, which often is not the intent. Can the number of the graphic elements be reduced?
- Are the post pictures used consistently throughout the blog? Are they always framed the same way, do they have similar sizes, frame colours, alignment?
- How about the textual elements? Aligned the same way, same line spacing? Are the headers and styling options used consistently?
We have now come at the end of our “How to evaluate a blog” series, which followed an instinctive, heuristic rather than scientific approach. I hope this series gave you some inspiration for the next time someone asks you “Have a look at my blog, what do you think?”