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Simplify your blog

Recently, I was asked to be a judge on a local college’s literary festival. The contest was about blogging.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2010 13:09 IST
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
Hindustan Times

Recently, I was asked to be a judge on a local college’s literary festival. The contest was about blogging. Participants were asked to write the text and work with a partner to design a blog. A collaborative effort. You were supposed to write Gandhi’s blog, from the future, where Gandhi was leading the Martians in a protest against invading humans.

Now, for me, the winner stood out among all the other images I was sent. But to be a little clearer, here’s what I was looking for: a blog that best reflected the theme, in terms of design and content. Easy enough, and should have been fairly obvious to everyone. Except it didn’t seem like it was.

Easy on the eye

Dear readers and people who want to start blogs: Please do not, for the love of god, use a “fancy” font. Do you know what handwriting font does to the eyes? It creates eye strain. It may look very pretty and retro, but it’s very, very hard to read, and usually, people will give up after the first paragraph. Not only that, it will probably not show up very well on the Firefox browser, which is what most people use these days. I use Google Chrome, a pretty user friendly browser, and even then, I have a hard time with a lot of blog designs, where people have put style over substance.

Also, think like your character. While using a notebook design, which is very attractive but also “safe”, would a futuristic Mahatma Gandhi actually use it?

Think about what you’re creating — if you’re talking about books, a notebook/ page design will work, but if you’re talking “single girl in the city”, you need to have a design that will best reflect that. Not that that means going overboard. Please refrain from background music, scrolling up text and pink and blue flashing lights. Your blog is a refuge for people searching for good content, make sure it is somewhere they want to stay for a while.

For me, the winner (a basic black and white template, with very cool, imaginative ads targetted at the Martians) stood out at first glance over the others. The writing was succinct and tight, the text easy to read and nothing in the template hurt my eyes or made me strain to read the next sentence.

That’s what you should be aiming for, that’s what I try and emphasise over and again — make your blog easy to access. Not boring, but easy. It shouldn’t be too hard.

Meenakshi writes a blog at the

ht epaper

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