As a web designer I’m really interested in design trends as well as good design practices. Blogging may be all about content, but nobody is going to stick around to read your thoughts if your blog is horribly designed. As a designer I thought that I would start a series of blog design lessons for the average blogger - essentially just pointing them in the right direction to improving their blogs appearance.
The benefits of a well-designed blog:
This week I will be looking at menus, but will eventually cover all aspects of a well-designed blog (just follow the series of lessons).
This is a VERY common design error on your average blog - menus often become illegible or don’t draw enough attention due to poor textual contrast with the background color/image. When reviewing other’s websites this is usually the first thing that I will point out. The good news is that it’s very easy to fix! Just try and experiment with various text/menu colors and find the greatest difference between the two that fits with your blog’s color scheme. That doesn’t mean go for black on white, keep it within reason. What I usually do is design my blog from the ground up, and then as a final step just increase the contrast of all my images in photoshop by about 10 - this adds ‘pop’ factor.
Check out some examples of good menu contrast below:
Use text instead of images (where possible):
This one is also pretty basic, but I continually see blogs using images instead of text for their menus. Here are some reasons why you should use text wherever possible:
Here are some cool examples of text based menus:
I should also point out that you can still have really graphical backgrounds behind your text menus to help liven them up (see: Web Designer Wall)
Dare to be different:
This point is a little trickier, and will depend on your designing capabilities. Quite simply, it pays to be different from every other blog. You will see more return visitors and create a unique brand for yourself if your menu (and design) is really unique and interesting. Try to think outside of the box, try anything, the worst that can happen is that you’ll go back to the drawing board!
I hope that these tips helped some of you. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions or would like to know more. Here are a couple of very useful links to help you in your menu designing ventures: