Some questions for you

Yes, you. The person who reads this. I have some questions for you!

I have a little bit of background in websites and internet and that sort of thing. And one of the things I’m always very focused on is usability, the art of making a website nice for the visitor instead of the owner. I mean, I’m not an expert, but I know enough about it to catch the most common mistakes and to help people build better websites. But I don’t have any knowledge whatsoever about blog usability. So, I figured, I’m just going to ask my awesome reader panel. 🙂

  1. Which of the following do you prefer?
    • A homepage with each post having a short introduction and a “Read more” link, which makes it easier to scroll through and see if there’s anything you’re interested in (this is what I have now)
    • A homepage with every post published in full (all information in one single glance)


  2. What would you like to happen when you click on a link to another post?
    • Open in the same window or tab, so you have to use the back button (this is what I have now)
    • Open in a new window or tab, so before you know it you have 15 windows open

    Links to other websites always open in a new window or tab, by the way. It’s just the internal links I’m curious about.

  3. What do you usually pay more attention to?
    • Categories and the top navigation menu (I don’t really have one at the moment)
    • Tags and the tag cloud in the side bar


  4. I sometimes use smaller version of images and photos inside my posts. How would you like to look at the larger image?
    • Open as a new page, with the top navigation still there (this is mostly what I have now, although I’d like to be able to add the right hand navigation as well)
    • Open as a “pop-up” gallery which you can close with the little X in the upper corner (I have this sometimes for posts with multiple images)


  5. Anything else that annoys the sh!t out of you every time you come here? I love honest criticism (yay! honesty! no unintelligible social scripts!) so please take this chance to unburden your frustrations.

I would love to hear from you all in the comments! And to make it even harder to resist, I’m going to call you all awesome again. I mean, look at this. YOU ARE AWESOME. 😀 *doing bouncy happy thing*

27 thoughts on “Some questions for you

  1. 1. I prefer posts published in full, but I’m not hugely attached to it.
    2. New tab but not a new window. New window is annoying for the same reason popups are annoying. New tab doesn’t interrupt my reading flow, does enable me to do supplementary reading whenever I want (I usually right click and select “Open in new tab” anyway, actually)
    3. Uh, neither, usually. I usually go to the beginning of a new blog and read all the way through, and only tag my posts so I can organize them and find them easily later.
    4. I prefer in-post images, actually. Popup anything annoys me. If I have to pick one of those two, I’d say popup gallery so I don’t have to navigate around too much.
    5. I like archives that you can get to the beginning of with 2 clicks or less. The calendar system looks pretty but isn’t really quick to use for completionists like me that like to go to the beginning and read through in order.

  2. 1. Posts in full. I have my wordpress reader that shows me big pretty pictures and tiny snippets, and that’s ok for that sort of thing because I just want an idea of what I need to get caught up on and I don’t want to be overwhelmed. BUT once I come to your site, I’m here for the posts!! I want them in all their gory detail!
    2. New tab. While I have to acknowledge that other people may not share my opinion here, this is one of things where I realize I really might have some theory of mind issues, because I simply cannot conceive how anyone would want a new window or to be taken away from the page they are on. Reddit is absolutely horrible about this. The whole deal with that site is that it takes you to tiny bits of the internet, like memes and blog posts and youtube videos, so when I click a link there I see the content from that link for anywhere from 2 seconds to 5 minutes, but generally: NOT LONG. So my instinct is just to close the tab, and then I have to groan and open a new tab and go to reddit again and figure out where I was. I hate it. Sorry. Needed to rant. But yeah. New tab.
    3. I will visit every link in a nav bar at the top because I assume it’s there for a reason. That is, of course, if it’s a well designed site and there are less than 10 things up there. Some blogs have a billion nav links and I don’t click any of them because it annoys me. (That’s pretty revealing of my character I think.) But I’ll add that I’m also really drawn to clouds of any kind. I’m a visual person, and they are pretty. I think that’s all there is to it.
    4. I’m pretty indifferent. Both have pros and cons, but neither has any extreme pros or cons in my opinion. I am definitely with ischemgeek though when it comes to in-post images. I love that you use them so much.
    5. Exactly zero of your blog annoys the shit out of me. I come here for your great posts, so in the end, as long as you’re not using comic sans or size 32 font for everything, I will keep coming and I can’t complain.
    5a. If you change your links so that they open in the same page, it will likely annoy the shit out of me, but I still won’t complain. 😛

    • Oh, so tempting to do an entire comic sans post now. 😛
      I might do some more nav links in the future, like thanks to ischemgeek’s suggestion I’ve added an archive menu now (which will probably contain some more submenus at a certain point, but I figure that’s not what you mean by a billion links).
      Thanks for answering!

      • No that’s not what I meant at all! I noticed you tweaked your nav bar and I definitely approve! Not that you need my approval or anything, but I mean, you asked for opinions on stuff, so I’m just saying I’m pro your new nav bar.

        Honestly my issue with having a billion links is that I am a child of the Web 2.0 era, and I will always embrace simplicity like that. I’ve been conditioned. So when I say “a billion” I don’t mean “a lot,” I mean specifically having so many that you lose organization. Where it spills over onto multiple rows and while multiple rows is not in itself offensive, I have a powerful aversion to multiple rows of links that end up being all different sizes and then they don’t line up right and then your eyes start jumping everywhere and then suddenly everything is in comic sans AND THE WORLD EXPLODES.

  3. Which of the following do you prefer? – Below is because I don’t use my WordPress Reader, I like to go to the individual blog and navigate through all of the posts
    A homepage with each post having a short introduction and a “Read more” link, which makes it easier to scroll through and see if there’s anything you’re interested in (What settings did you change to get this format on your your blog? I’d like it on mine!)

    What would you like to happen when you click on a link to another post?
    Open in a new window or tab

    Links to other websites always open in a new window or tab, by the way. It’s just the internal links I’m curious about.
    What do you usually pay more attention to?
    Categories and the top navigation menu

    I sometimes use smaller version of images and photos inside my posts. How would you like to look at the larger image?
    Open as a “pop-up” gallery which you can close with the little X in the upper corner (I have this sometimes for posts with multiple images)

    • Thanks for the feedback! There’s a button in the WordPress visual editor that looks like a dotted horizontal line between two heavy black bars (it’s called “more” in text editor, after “code” and before “close tags”). You can insert it wherever you want in the text.

  4. 1 – doesn’t really apply to the way I read because I usually get to posts via my WordPress feed which brings me straight the to full post page

    2 – internal links in the same tab, external links in a new tab

    3 – I use tags more frequently than categories or top menus. I’m also very fond of Search. 🙂

    4 – I thought the pop gallery in your housekeeping post was very classy – got any tips on how to make that happen? I don’t post a lot of photos, but it might come in handy at some point.

    5. I can’t think of anything that bugs me except that personally I prefer a sans serif font for reading on screen but that would require a template change so pay me no mind . . .

    • Oh I agree on the sans serif front (punpunpun, ha!). I have dozens of template changes that I’d love to do if I had access to the CSS editor but for now I’m forcing myself to be stuck with the free version. No spending money until I’m coping with my finances properly! 😉

      The pop-up gallery is available in all WordPress hosted templates I think? Not sure. Anyway, you can create one by clicking “Add Media” in your post, then choose “Create Gallery” from the left hand menu (very invisible menu, I think). Then, simply click the images you want and click “Create New Gallery” (bottom right corner). On the next page you can change the order and say how many columns you want. If your template supports it, you can also choose from different types of presentation. I currently have “Tiled Mosaic” on the housekeeping post and “Thumbnail Grid” on the soup recipe. I will probably change them all to tiled mosaic because I think it’s rather nifty. 🙂

      You can also check your Dashboard > Settings > Media. The settings you’re looking for are Image Gallery Carousel and Tiled Galleries (the latter is only if you like that mosaic thing, I only turned that on today).

      Erm. Yeah. I work in website support. Can you tell? 😀

      • Accessibility note: A lot of people with dyslexia I’ve met find serifed fonts easier to read because the serifs “anchor” the letter to their eyes. Mind you, many of them have custom fonts (like OpenDyslexic!) installed in their browers.

  5. 1. I prefer full pages I think, but it doesn’t matter much.

    I tend to arrive on posts from my feedly reader, and if the post is full then I can read the post directly in the reader and don’t need to go to the post. I do that for a few blogs where I like the content but find the layout distracting (for example have ads or too much flickr going on in general, or white text on black background and things like that). That probably means those blogs don’t see my visits in their stats. I also sometimes do it with short posts on any blog just out of laziness. I can’t “cheat” like that when there is just a summary in the reader, which is what happens when posts are cut off by the “more” tag. That is fine too – clicking the title takes me directly to the full post.

    2. Open link in new tab, but it isn’t important. I wouldn’t want external links to open in the same window though.

    3. Tags. I like the way a tag cloud gives an overview over the topics on the blog and how much they “fill” relatively to each other, even if I don’t use the cloud much for navigation. I tend to use the Archives bar if there is one, and search if want to find something specific. I don’t like the calendar for navigation, it is too cumbersome to go back to the start, I agree with ischemgeek on that.

    I like the top navigation bar for essential pages like you have now.

    4. I prefer to have the images in the post and then have the option to click on an image to have it open on a new tab to see the details.

    The pop-up gallery can be a nice way to display a series of images and other special things though.

    5. No. I like the template, font, comment format and everything.

    Hope that was useful:-)

        • I got what you meant. I haven’t seen OpenDyslexic used as a full-length blog post font, so I don’t really know how well it would work. But on the other hand, ischemgeek has a good point about people being able to use it in their own web browsers regardless of what font I have as a standard here. So everyone can choose what they’re most comfortable with, the choice of font in someone’s browser ALWAYS overrides the font the web designer has chosen. Something that a lot of my web design buddies really really hate but which I think is awesome. 😛

    • Very useful! Thanks!

      I should probably be more structured in processing the responses here. Right now I’m just going “Oh yes great idea!” and do it immediately. 😉

      In a way, the “Read more” thing is cheating on my part, because I wanted to know which posts get more clickthrough (basically, which subjects make people curious to read more). When everything is on one page, I’ll only see extra clicks on the posts when people want to comment or read the comments. But I didn’t think it was fair to sacrifice YOUR (generic you) reading pleasure in order to get higher quality stats, so that’s why I asked.

      Glad you like the current layout!

      • That is precisely why I use the “more” tag as well:-)

        and also because I can then put the least personal parts of posts in the start of the post, and that part goes into readers but the more personal/detailed stuff after the “more” tag stays on my blog. Which I’d rather people read the parts that feel more sensitive on my blog, by deliberate choice after taking an action (clicking the link) than they have it thrown randomly in their face in the various feed readers they use. I know that may be a bit silly:-) It just feels better.

        • Same. For instance the fairly detailed description of that suicide attempt will stay behind a “Read more” link regardless of what I’ll implement overall. Something that can be really traumatic and triggering shouldn’t be thrown in anyone’s faces.

      • Thank you for getting it:-) and yes that is a good thing to remember. and I am glad not having to read your (any) blog in all-dyslexic.

  6. 1. No “Read More” break.

    2. I prefer to open a new tab — but I always click “Open Link in New Tab” on my own accord anyway.

    3. Tag cloud

    4. Pop-up gallery

    • That is right. But even personal content that isn’t triggering in anyway but just feels sensitive to me… I just feel better having more control over it by parking it on my own blog and make it available only to those who actively pursue more detailed content… by having to click a link.

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