The design saga continued

Tonight I went to Adelaide Hackerspace and spent almost 3 hours working on making this blog better. Some of the lovely people there patiently answered my questions whilst I stumbled my way through.  To completely honest the whole process all got complicated and too hard. I’m using WordPress for my blog and bought my domain name (the name of the blog) through WordPress. I was hoping to keep the management of this blog simple. Whilst the management is easy, getting the design right is.

In the land of Worpress there are only 213 themes I can choose from, some of the themes are a free.  A theme is what decides the layout, structure, fonts, background image or colour and much more about your website. The 213 themes are all adaptable but only within a limited range.  Sadly the theme I really wanted isn’t available via the official WordPress website so I couldn’t use it with out a complicated process I didn’t have the patience or skills to do. This means I have to adapt an approved WordPress theme to get the website I want. 

So Dear Reader please bear with me while I continue to learn about adapting WordPress themes and designs, each time you visit the blog may look a little different. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I will find a theme that I like and that you like.

Design epic fail

web design clip art

Today I spent the day at The Royal Adelaide Show. I am deliberately not providing a link to their website, because the website commits what I think is a design epic fail. The website has an autoplay video, a video that plays automatically when you arrive on the website.  To make it just that little bit worse the autoplay video culprit has a really annoying jingle.

Autoplay videos are bad for a lot of reasons:

  • They are very annoying if you are multitasking on your computer, maybe watching a dvd or listening to music
  • They can suck up bandwidth, not everyone has ADSL2 or cable and a big download quota
  • The audio of the video will clash with the audio of a screen reader being used by a person who is blind or has an vision impairment 
  • They distract from the content people have actually come to the website to view
  • They breach international accessibility website design standards

A few months ago I visited the South Australian Gridiron Association website www.gridironsa.com.au and they had an autoplay video. I used the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website and pointed out their video was annoying.  To their absolute credit I got an email within 24 hours thanking me for contacting them and telling me they would make the necessary changes, and they have. 

I contacted The Royal Adelaide Show via their website and have not heard anything, which given the resources at their disposal is shameful. Even if they disagreed with my comment, they should have been polite enough to reply.  If you are the administrator of a website and someone takes the time to send you a message about your website, please be polite enough to reply. You don’t have to agree with the comment, you don’t have to do what you are asked but please Dear Reader be polite enough to acknowledge someone took the time to give you some feedback. 

Design – a life altering decision or not

Image

When I started this blog I didn’t give it too much thought. I didn’t start on a whim but it seems that I didn’t plan it out very well. One thing I did not give any thought to at the beginning was the design of the blog. Today I spent over 2 hours scrolling through WordPress themes, trying to find one that I though would be perfect for this blog. 

Choosing a design for this blog feels like one of the most important decisions I will ever make. Of course I know it isn’t, but it feels like it. Choosing the look and feel, the font, the layout and overall design is proving to be a painful process. Which font best reflects me and my thoughts about technology? Should I have a solid colour background or a picture? Should I go hipster retro or clean and sleek? It turns out these are all important questions when it comes to choosing a design.

They are all important questions for which I don’t have answers. I know why I started this blog, but how to best reflect that in colours, fonts and images is proving very difficult. I realise that I am, as is often the case, over thinking the whole enterprise.  But the pressure I felt scrolling through hundreds of options was intense.

So Dear Reader, I have made a decision and that is to make no decision, yet. I will keep my eye out for designs, fonts and colours I like and trust that when I see a design I will know that it is right on for me. In the meantime, any tips or suggestions will be gratefully received.