Thursday, May 29, 2008

Got some advice, it sounds like this.

As advertised, I emailed a bunch of friends who blog for a living, design websites, work as online editors, etc. Got a mix of results, and I'm not sure there's a consensus. I didn't ask anyone if I could use their name, so I'll just put down the kind of work they do. Oh, I asked some teachers, too. It goes like this:

(a VP works on Internet Presence at a PR firm) - the white on black is a bit rough on the eyes, or my eyes, anyway. Looked at it on a couple of monitors (all LCDs) and the effect is worse on some than others. It's challenging to read, and if you're writing a blog, you def want people to read it. If the vibe of your blog was only a couple of sentences per entry and then maybe a photo, it would be OK...after staring at the white on black for a little bit, and then shifting my gaze slightly, I see "ghosts" of the words.

(blogs for an international finance weekly magazine) - conventional wisdom is that background's should be light colored and text dark, but I'm not bothered by your site, though

(blog was featured in the Washington Post last year) - don't have any major suggestions...The only thing I'd do is to fiddle w/ the customization on the colors, fonts, formatting, etc. It helps your site look a little different than the other blogs using the same template. What settings you choose is all a matter of personal preference.

(designs ads for the Washington Post) - I mean, it is true that some design people frown on black backgrounds. I actually prefer black backgrounds on monitors because white backgrounds give off a lot of light and can be hard on the eyes, especially on LCD monitors. I've always been really fond of this particular off-the-shelf design. A lot of people are, I think...

(multimedia editor at NPR) - too much text - not enough space for my eyes to rest. I would say write shorter posts, or break it up into shorter blocks? Also, add a picture every now and again for good measure. When there is so much text I tend to just glaze over it...
So fundamentally - I'm not opposed to the white on black, but I agree it's just a bit hard to read.

(blogs for a national political magazine) - I'm sort of partial to white on black, but that's just me. I think it's the only way to read long pieces online.... something that's hard to do under any circumstances... one of the reasons I fear the Internet: it is forcing people to write shorter stuff.

(web consultant for local professional sports team) - I'm going to side with the instructor on this issue and recommend you avoid knock-out text for the body of the page. My usability studies have shown that users do [glaze over long texts] [s]o I would uses a dark text color against a contrasting body color (bgcolor)...[they are] right about pictures and more pithy posts. Keep it short, dude.

and from three teachers:
- i like it. in fact, i used to teach online and distinctly recall receiving info on a study discussing minimizing eye strain by using black (or dark) background with white lettering. maybe...bold the white

-I like white on black. I can barely see blue. How do I leave a comment?

- the verdict here is "no," we like it (teacher and her roommate)

Ok, it's me again. Coupled with the comments left on the blog, it looks like a split (though the teachers push it into "pro"). Between designers, bloggers, editors, I've got people saying it's better, it's worse, studies say "yes," studies so "no." Hard to say. It's my first blog, so I might mess with the colors, the size, the format, so if you see something you like or hate, let a brother know. Taking a poll of people in the biz was pretty interesting to see styles and aesthetics. A few editors / writers haven't written back yet, we'll see if anything change. Thanks to everyone for the quick replies.

Now to figure out how to write shorter posts and add pictures.... (Happy birthday, Erica)

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