The Appeal of a Blog: It's About Usability

Reading the morning paper, I noticed yet another ad that said something to the effect of “Company X now has a Blog!”. While it’s certainly no news that blogging has made a mainstream breakthrough these last few years, I found myself wondering: why is this exciting? Why is it worth ad-space?

Well the answer is as simple as this: Blogs work well and people know how to use them.

fundamentally, we’re all really lazy

Following that train of thought, it’s actually about usability. Blogs having been around for a while now, the inner workings of such websites have now become second-nature. When people visit a blog, they expect the following:

  1. Reverse chronologically posted news items (newest stuff near the top)
  2. Ability to comment
  3. A “personal” tone

What’s so usable about this? Well, since this is the formula for most blogs—certainly most good blogs—this predictable formula acts as a positive reinforcer. When we visit a new blog we know exactly how it works: we’ve surfed blogs countless times before.

This is different from a plain-jane news section of a website because those come in as many shapes and sizes as snowflakes do. That means a lot. With no predictability we have to learn these websites anew, and fundamentally, we’re all really lazy.

12 thoughts on “The Appeal of a Blog: It's About Usability”

  1. Naja says:

    I love the way you quote yourself!

  2. Joen says:

    Haha, yeah, I think it works really well.

  3. Kevin Cannon says:

    That consistancy is useful, but beyond viewing a blog regularly, they’re not that usable at all.

    If you arrive on a blog you’ve never been to before, it’s hard to gauge it properly, and very difficult to find other good content. Articles that are gold are often hidden between articles about someone’s cat, and articles with multiple parts are often not linked together. You can arrive at part 2 from a search and there’s no link back to part 1.

    I guess fundamentally, most blogs are automated and authors don’t try an excercise any kind of overall editorial control over them or try to integrate things in a ways you might see on more static sites.

  4. Orderer says:

    Your blog looks really really cool and smooth, by the way!

    Do you do design jobs any longer? I’d be interested if you do. You’d have free rein, since all your work seems to fit perfectly with what I like in websites.

    Great job! Will be back to read more later. 🙂

  5. Joen says:

    Your blog looks really really cool and smooth, by the way!

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate that!

    Do you do design jobs any longer?

    Well, I probably will, eventually. For the past year, though, and probably for a while to come still, I’m all booked up at work.

    Great job! Will be back to read more later. 🙂

    Glad you approve 🙂

  6. Keira says:

    Hej! I’ve chosen your design for my blog, it’s beautiful. And then I was curious to check who was the author. So just to say that I love it.

    Hilsen

  7. Joen says:

    So just to say that I love it.

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate that 🙂

  8. Woooo Joen has groupies! 😉

  9. Joen says:

    Woooo Joen has groupies! 😉

    Hey! Be nice! 🙂

  10. Hey! Be nice! 🙂

    Excuse me, I mean, All Hail Joen! For he as groupies! 😉

    But seriously, by releasing Fauna you’ve increased the usability for many, many readers of many, many journals. That’s a very good thing.

    Well deserving of groupies 😉

  11. Joen says:

    But seriously, by releasing Fauna you?ve increased the usability for many, many readers of many, many journals. That?s a very good thing.

    Thanks, I appreciate that.

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