Take this as a list of things not to do, unless ugly (un)design is your intention. These are the 10 worst elements I've seen around the blogosphere. You have probably noticed them too. I won't link any of the examples here out of courtesy to the blogs I found them on. Here are the elements in order of increasing uglification:
- 10. Orange XML/RSS Buttons
- It doesn't get much worse than plain white text on a rectangular orange button. Do these match with any layout at all? How many orange blogs exist? Did you know orange makes people hungry? I'm hungry. Unless your blog is about food, that is not a good effect.
- 9. Neutral Submit Buttons
- If you modify the CSS styling on your <input>s, and you are using <input>s for your submit buttons, this is what Firefox users will see. Plain, ugly buttons. The best way to prevent this is to use <button>s for your submit buttons; they do the job just fine and keep your styling separate.
- 8. Long Blogrolls
- Long blogrolls say, "Look here, this is a list of 100 other blogs you could read, just the titles because there is no need to make a convincing case for any of them." Who has time to check 100 different links? Do you think your readers are that bored? Nevermind that this many links is a huge usability problem, or that the relevance of these links is usually nill when they are repeated on every page of your blog. I say have 100 links in your blogroll, but please, show 10 at a time.
- 7. Tag Clouds
- These are hideous. For all the structured and well organized text on your page, here lies this blob of often unrelated tags, with random sizes, that sort of vomit at your users and say, "Look at us! We are ugly and proud!"
- 6. Social Bookmarking Buttons
- Let me tell you something about users of social bookmarking sites; they have already integrated their services into their internet use. They don't need your buttons on your site any more than they need them on every other webpage they visit. All these buttons do is create clutter. They also look amazingly stupid at the bottom of every blog entry.
- 5. XHTML/CSS Buttons
- Do any of your readers care about what doctype your site uses or how it is styled? These buttons are nothing more than pretentious, if not totally useless. Keep what is under the hood hidden.
- 4. 80×15 Buttons
- More irrelevant clutter for your blog. These were never cool looking, and like most everything else on this list, they never fit with any blog design. And nobody cares about your support for Wikipedia or Greenpeace.
- 3. Feedreader Buttons
- These buttons are not equal sizes, nor one bit similar in their style, and to top it all off, a couple look like they were designed by small brainless children. Monkey children. Much like the rest of Web 2.0.
- 2. Ads, ads, ads
Come to think of it, I could use some sort of credit alternative. Nevermind everyone, this ad is totally useful, and form follows function. I'm going to sign up for this offer right now.
- 1. Your Picture
- Remember when people used to say "you have a face for radio?" Well, you have a face for blogging. Wear it proud.
I'm sure I missed a few things (I've been working on this entry long enough), so feel free to share your blog design pet peeves in the comments. Now go forth and redesign your blogs!