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Blog // Thoughts
March 24, 2009

How Thinking About Blog Design Reveals Moral Questions

Last week I posted some preliminary thoughts about this blog’s future and it’s a topic I want to revisit every week or so as I start redesigning this site and rethinking its future. Today I’ve been pondering what a “good” blog might look like. Metropolis magazine is a rewarding read on architecture and design. The […]

Last week I posted some preliminary thoughts about this blog’s future and it’s a topic I want to revisit every week or so as I start redesigning this site and rethinking its future. Today I’ve been pondering what a “good” blog might look like.

Metropolis magazine is a rewarding read on architecture and design. The current edition talks about what good design might look like, especially in our current moment of “…deeper cultural anxiety about consumerism.” They suggest 10 “urgent criteria” for good design,

Sustainable
Accessible
Functional
Well Made
Emotionally Resonant
Enduring
Socially Beneficial
Beautiful
Ergonomic
Affordable

Although Metropolis is arguing for these categories to be applied to physical design, I believe they are relevant for our thinking about social media as well. In the same way that design and architecture are responses to physical problems, blogs and social media are responses to communication (and cultural) problems.

“There are no solutions to design problems. There are only responses in the form of arguments.”

So, right up front, I want to ask what is the problem that blogs are trying to answer and more specifically, what is the problem my blog could answer? Without a sense of that, it’s impossible to present an argument for what a good or bad blog might look like, or more importantly, whether my blog is good or better in the it’s new form than in the current or past forms.

With that in mind, my task over the next week will be to come up with some words that could form a criteria for what a good blog might look like.

Responses
Mike Mahoney 14 years ago

I like that list, and I think it absolutely applies to webspace as well as physical space. I’ve recently redone my own blog as well as the two ministry blogs I write, and I am now in the process of a ground-up overhaul of our church website.

The struggle for me is in the design of the “aesthetic” features. I know what I want in terms of content and navigability, but sometimes the less tangible aspects – the “look” – is harder to define.

What problem does my blog answer? I’m not sure. I like to hope I am a resource – just an everyman with an eye on things and a willingness to share my experiences. If I can steer a parent away from a bad movie or a musician to a good piece of software or even just make someone chuckle – I feel I’ve accomplished something.

Blogging is, for me, also somewhat self-indulgent. I spend much of my time either at work, where my position requires a certain detachment, or at church where my ministry is largely to children and youth. Not that those relationships are unfulfilling, but sometimes I need to flesh thoughts out in more “adult playtime” then I get lately. Make sense?

Toni 14 years ago

I read this, went away and came back again. I’m not sure blogs are there to solve any problems especially. For me, they’re a place of self-expression and communication between people. I very specifically avoid blogs that are bible studies in disguise, places of instruction or a means of advertising a business.

What they are for me is a place of interaction: a window into the lives of people I’ve come to know. The problem I have *with* them is that they often need to be constrained because of who can read them. I cannot say what I think about numerous situations now because I know it will cause problems for those about whom I think it. Now it could be that I shouldn’t be having those thoughts, but that’s not really the point.

Stepping back then, is the ‘problem’ a blog solves one of networking across cultures and distance? Maybe that’s what it is for.

I’d suggest then that a good blog helps build an understand of and interaction with the blogger. It’s design should promote that while expressing the designers personality. But it also needs to be satisfying to the designer – they need to feel as though they are getting something back from the hours they put in.

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