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A Study on the Art of a Well-Designed Weblog

Lars Holst offers a Well-Designed Weblogs Introduction as:

A subjective and non-scientific selection of usable and readable weblogs that are defined as having an aesthetically pleasing design that has been accomplished through the use of stylesheets rather than layout tables, font tags, and inline images.

Well, for a subjective and non-scientific approach, I have to say that Holst offers excellent information and some awesome examples of well-designed weblogs, many of which are WordPress Themes.

So, what does it take to qualify as a well-designed weblog, according to Holst?

The definition of well-designed implies the use of criteria that are outside the realm of aesthetics, since neither stylesheets nor layout tables necessarily relate to the visual aspects of a website. This is to be seen as an endorsement of web standards, and a nod of approval to the designers and developers that use them.

The importance of such standards cannot be overestimated: Web Standards reduce the cost and complexity of website development while increasing the accessibility and long-term viability of any site published on the web.

And then he makes this brilliant point that I’ve spent too much time talking about lately:

Even some of the sites in Well-Designed Weblogs would be well advised to take greater care in using proper structural elements, such as headings for headings, lists for lists, and make better use of background images and image-replacement techniques.

So take a look at what he has chosen as the best well-designed weblogs and look for the commonality. I think you will see that clean, simply, and easy to read styles are at the top of the list.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Posted January 29, 2006 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    That’s an interesting site and comments.
    I had a good look at the screen shots, and agree that they can be excellent!
    Of equal interest is to look at the sites as they are NOW (the shots/post was made 2 years ago). Some of them are – now- awful!
    Maybe we’ve come full circle from the clean and simple, to the glaring garish, and back to the clean?
    As expected back then, many of them (most?) are movable type rather than wordpress. No reason, however, that wordpress theme designers can’t surpass them 😀

  2. Posted January 29, 2006 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Even though I’m not that old, I’m still a fan of oldschool layout design. While a great website design can do a lot to improve your blog I think that a good post design goes a long way. This includes:

    1. Separating paragraphs.
    2. Using pictures to illustrate the point.
    3. Organizing data.

    Of course there are little things that can be done to improves the reading experience. I remember working with a former colleague in the school paper and what she taught me about stacking columns and wrapping text. While many of these tips don’t apply to webdesign, I guess the point is that people need to pay attention to the actual content that’s going onto each post.

    Sometimes I get the feeling as if people are slapping text onto their blogs without thinking about their layout.

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