By Nerino Petro at 9 July, 2009, 2:53 pm
For those who have been following my blog since its inception, you’ve seen it go through several iterations and designs. While the last version was adequate, I wasn’t ever entirely happy with it for several reasons including:
- The dark background made it difficult for some folks to read and could be a bit overwhelming after awhile;
- It’s two column design didn’t fully utilize the available screen “real estate;”
- There were compatibility issues between browsers;
- Much of the information appeared “below the fold” requiring readers to scroll down to reach it.
In redesigning Compujurist, these issues along with what many identify as being design best practices as well as design mistakes were considered. My goals in redesigning Compujurist included:
- Improved readability;
- Easier navigation and use;
- Incorporation of new technology;
- Provide a “cleaner” look and feel.
Reading and following numerous blogs has given me a better appreciation for what seems to work and what doesn’t. Think about the blogs that you like to visit and what you like about them (in additon to the information provided). Then consider what are considered to be “best practice” and “worst practice” designing a blog found in posts such as those from David Airey, Daniel Scocco and Amir Helzer. Ultimately, your blog should reflect your vision, but that vision should also take into consideration (and incorporate) the commonly identified “best practices” of blog design to make your readers want to return in the future.
All prior versions of Compujurist were the children of my own efforts using the terrific WordPress blogging platform and readily available themes. While designing a blog can be a rewarding and fulfilling effort, the value of your time also needs to be considered as well as knowing your own limits. I often advise lawyers that it may be best to call in a professional when dealing with their technology issues rather than doing it themselves from a cost-value basis, and so, when deciding to redesign Compujurist, I forced myself to realistically evaluate my available time and knowledge and where my efforts could best be directed – being a Practice Management Advisor or being a blog designer.
I came to the conclusion that it was time to bring in true website and blog designers for assistance in making my vision a reality. While I had a vision of what I wanted, I just didn’t have the skill set necessary to accomplish it in a short period of time. Being able to take a step back from the actual hands on portion of the project allowed me to focus on the design aspects and escape any limitations in my own skills (or lack of them) and the need to try and quickly learn about new technologies to be integrated into the design. The process proceeded much faster than working on this on my own, and with better results.
In the process, I’ve gained a new respect for white space which dramatically affects readability for my visitors. Making Compujurist easier to read “at a glance” has also been achieved: rather than take an entire page for one post, longer posts now provide enough information to serve as an introduction to catch a readers interest and allows for interest folks to click the more link to read the rest of the post.
Navigation has been simplified by moving much of the ancillary information such as my Blog roll and other links to a separate page easily accessible from the Navigation Bar at the top of the blog. In fact, tabs to other pages, subscription information, categories and recent comments are all “above the fold” so that you can easily navigate Compujurist without the need to scroll down to find information.
With the increasing popularity of Twitter and my experience using it, I wanted my visitors to have the ability to easily Tweet about a post that they found interesting or useful. The ability to Tweet about a post that a visitor likes (or doesn’t like) has been added as well as a feed of my own Tweets.
Finally, the overall look and feel of the blog has been improved to create a site that is more visually attractive while providing more information and an improved user experience.
I hope that you enjoy the new Compujurist and visit often.
If you’d like to be contacted by the folks who did my redesign, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.