Blog Interface Design 2.1

by January 2, 2006

Following the publication of our Blog Interface Design 2.0 article, a number of folks have chimed in with some additional suggestions for making the most of your blog’s content.

In the article, we highlighted Boxes & Arrows’ practice of bringing valuable comments (as rated by readers) to the front of a list of comments. In response, Tom Chi suggested an interesting alternative. Rather than changing the order of the list based on quality –change the opacity. With this approach comments rated poorly are reduced in opacity so that really poor comments become almost unreadable. If readers find something of interest in a comment with low opacity, they have a strong incentive for rating it well –it becomes more visible.

Tom’s other suggestion was to apply an email reader metaphor to make better use of the read & unread indicators we suggested applying to comments and archives. This interface could indicate which comments and archived posts have been read and enable readers to save interesting posts to their bookmarks -locally or on services like and My Web.

Jonathan Boutelle brought our attention to his blog layout concept: the mullet:

“…goes a long way to solving the problem of archived content being buried that Jakob [Nielsen] described in his top 10 list [of blog design mistakes]. The first 5 stories appear as before, with summary descriptions. But instead of having 5 more stories with summary descriptions underneath, there are links to the next 45 stories. This provides direct access to five times as much content as was available before.”

Bill Scott pointed out that “each blog article is a rich data object that should contain all of the metadata [we discussed in the Blog Interface Design 2.0 article].” This Rich Internet Object can then be distributed across the Web and beyond with all of its ratings, comments, tags, and other attributes attached. Other Web services could then utilize this metadata to organize, describe, and enhance content.

Lastly, Anjo Anjewierden mocked up a visualization of how a conversation between blogs might be represented.