If I had no limitation in terms of restructuring my blog, one element that I would like to add would be more interaction between reader and writer, or more interaction between those that make comments on my posts, or posts of others. A video response element would be really great, and might elicit more responses, as its much quicker to add a 30 second response by video, rather than type a lengthy response. I am envisioning some type of Flipgrid style interface for the readers to view and respond to. Another thing that I would like to add to my blog would be mini-courses. This one is more a function of time rather than anything else, but it would be powerful to offer some mini-courses on areas that I have experience in. I envision a few courses where people can log in and watch video on a certain topic, maybe with reflections or assignments attached, and definitely some type of chat or discussion element as well.
Last year, I had the opportunity to work with grade 6 students on developing TedTalks. The entire grade was challenged with putting together TedTalks for their 6th grade English class in which they had to tackle a social issue. I was asked to come in and work with students on their visual elements. One of the key concepts that I taught the students was the CRAP acronym, which stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, please see this great blog post by Nitin Desheep, entitled Build Better User Experience With C.R.A.P. Design Principles. In using this concept alone, the students were able to create some powerful visual elements that complemented their talks nicely. The first article in our readings this week around Visual Hierarchy, connected with the above mentioned experience. Something else that stood out to me from this article, and the article 6 Principles of Visual Hierarchy for Designers was the fact that when it comes to heavy text like online articles or blogs, that people read in an “F” like manner. This led me to rethink my own blog for COETAIL.
Rather than make one change to my blog, I decided to choose a new theme and redesign the entire interface. The original theme had a large picture of myself as the cover, seen below, but it was time for a more dynamic approach, and to get rid of me, and focus on the writing. I think it has a more updated feel, and encourages the reader to dive into more than one article, as they read over the blog in an F pattern. The header picture just appealed to me as something that was eye catching for the reader and would pull their attention in. The background photo is minimal, but I liked the tone, and the few journals and books that you can see on the side. I also decided to replace the word “blog” with “learnings” as I feel this is a better fit for the context of my blog as a lifelong learner. Lastly, I really like the way this particular layout has thumbnail pictures of the 5 most recent posts, then continues on with a list of older posts from there. The visual elements add a nice curb appeal to the post itself.
I am curious to see how others re-designs turned out this week.