I started thinking a bit after Robert Scoble’s (yeah I know I reference Robert a lot) Kyte video post about his blog of the future. While I may disagree with a few of his concepts, the whole concept of what a future blog may look like got my mind racing in new directions.
The problem that I think we have in many blogs, is the lack of white space which I know is not a new discussion point for many bloggers. The difficulty comes in the tools that we use in combination with most peoples skill in design. Helping the blogger (beginner and experienced) with some additional pre-packaged design elements that fit the majority of styles that a person may choose from would go a long way to improving this situation.
- Configurable Text Boxes that can be placed in a post by the blogger. These boxes would act similar to placing a picture and allow the blogger to set it to the left/center/right and allow text to flow around it. It would have selectable edges (rounded/square), alpha blending borders and background, and allow for different fonts. Possibly accommodate different shapes for the box (circle, square, rectangle, octagon, triangle, etcâ€¦).
- Standardized Font “Module” System similar in concept to TrueType or PostScript in the desktop publishing industry, standardized fonts that could easily be added to the blog.
- Standardized XML framework to more easily create customized or customizable Widgets.
- Integrate common technologies like Lightbox into the rendering engine of the blog software so there is less need for users to have to manually enhance their blogs with these add on’s, plug ins, or by having to edit code.
- Use existing research on how people view/read blogs and apply those learning’s to the default layouts, templates and themes that come “in the box”.
- Standardize an Ad Engine API that would allow bloggers to plug in standardized Ad modules from the major ad engines out there. Accommodate, in-line text ads, context-sensitive ads, text-link ads, banner ads, skyscraper ads, etcâ€¦ Make it easy for the blogger to more cleanly integrate the ads from any vendor. This would also make it easy for ad vendors to integrate with any blog software.
- A standardized tagging engine provided as open source. Get an open source library of standard tags that are either automatically attached to a post, recommended to the blogger, or that could be manually selected. We have too many people creating similar but different tags out there.
- Easily customizable HTML tag styles on a panel in the blog management interface that allows the blogger to more easily customize the “a href”, “img src”, and “abbr title” HTML styles (formatting). Make it easy for bloggers to pick the border, background, text, color, and so on. Allow them to set their selections to override the installed theme’s CSS for these tags.
Well those are my suggestions to help build the blog of the future. I personally believe that the basic layout of a blog is well defined and has little room for improvement. The basic idea of a top banner and a single column of content arranged in reverse chronological order (newest at the top, oldest at the bottom) is hard to beat.
It’s in the themes, bling or “farkles”, badges, advertising, and add-on’s that we all add to our blogs that tend to detract from the readability. Fancy graphics and animations may be “cool” but the pictures and code take time to download – even in our increasingly highly-connected broadband world. Glossy, intricate interfaces are wonderful for local high-powered devices like PCs and phones. However, any time you need to pull the bulk of the site’s rendering media and content across a connection, it’s better to keep it simple and effective (i.e. elegant).
There is more, a lot more, that we all need to start tossing on the pile of ideas for the blog of the future. I’m an IT geek that always thinks about the technical part, but that’s a small portion of what makes a blog a blog.
What are your needs for your blog going into the future? What needs aren’t being addressed today? What are your ideas to make a better blog?
Update: Well, I guess I’m not the only one thinking about fonts on the web. This article over at A List Apart, covers this idea in more on CSS3. I also didn’t realize that CSS has been around for a decade! 😛