I wanted to do a quick “Tuesdays with Judge” on web design. Many of the comments and critiques on the Aniblog Tourney have been about design. Is design that important? That is the question of the hour. I’d like to quote MotsuQC, who has provided many critiques for the participating blogs:
Judging design is like judging a book by its cover, but more often than not it reflects the overall competence of the blogger. Bad design choices tend to mean that there’s an unfavorable user experience across the board.
Those who value their time would not waste it on sites with major issues. The most common problem that matters is the dreaded wall of text. There are some exceptions, but content that is easy to digest usually wins.
However, I don’t quite agree with everything he said. sdshamshel had a good response:
While I agree that better, or at least decent, page design makes for a more comfortable experience with a blog, to judge the competence of a blogger by his or her web design ability is something I have to call into question, if only because writing ability and design sense do not go hand in hand.
Marow also weighs in:
While it is true that design and writing does not always go hand in hand, just denying the fact that design is important it is plain ignorant. With a proper design it becomes much easier to digest the content itself, which is a blessing when it comes to longer posts. You just need to break it up with pictures and paragraph breaks, and voila, it’s already a lot better. As for the overall design of the site…just use common sense.
Bottom line? Content comes first to me. I don’t want to just whore myself out for hits; I want our content to be interesting. That being said, I stress a lot on design. My girlfriend will attest to this. I ask her at least once a week if I should redesign the site (I actually AM going to within the next 4 months). I’m always changing around things, albeit small things, just to see if it makes the user experience better. I’d like to think Moar Powah! is pretty decent. I could be wrong. I will say that when it comes to me reading other blogs, I don’t really prioritize design. Yeah, some blogs would be moar pleasant and easier to read with a better design, but I’m looking for good content. With my own site of course design is very important. Maybe it helps that 80% of the time, I read through RSS feeds (pending that they use RSS…talking to you Charles).
It is interesting to note that a few blogs on our blogroll have redesigned their sites after receiving criticism for their design. Anime Tree, Kiddtic’s Anime Blog, Organization ASG, and The G-Empire have all changed their designs.