Sunday, April 18, 2010

Playstation Blog

For me, a blog that I frequent that is visually pleasing would be the revamped PlayStation Blog.

Black Text and White Background

The revamped version has black text over white background instead of white text over black background. The black text over white background is a lot easier on the eyes for continuous reading. However, the white background only applies to the text portion. The blog isn't completely white. 

Non-text Portion has a Colored Background

The gray overall background distinguishes the space with text and material from the space without text and material. This creates a distinct separation of the important part of the blog from the part that is not. It helps focuses the readers' attention on the blog posts.

This is in contrast with the UCI-Info-Vis blog's white background with colored circles. The white background with colored circles make it difficult to determine where the blog posts ends and stops. The changes are too subtle to clearly distinguishes the different regions. 

Distinction Between Each Blog Post

The PlayStation Blog has a pretty clear distinction between each blog post. Using the date, author, and title in the top section and the comments and other information at the bottom section of the blog post. This separation helps the reader to easily see where each post start and end.

What would have been even better is if they put each post in a bordered section of the same color, making the blog post stands out more. That way, it will be even easier to determine one blog post from another simply by looking at whether its part of one section.

Important Information Stands Out

As mentioned, the date, author, and title is clearly displayed on the top in a way that is easy to see. These are some of the information that a reader might want to know the most. In this case, it is able to make the information that readeres might want easily accessible as well as using it to help separate posts as mentioned above.

Short Summary or Introduction 

PlayStation blog also keep the visible part of each blog post  short. The post itself can be as long as it needs to be, but the part displayed on the main page is only a small portion of it. The details of the blog post is hidden away and available only to those that wishes to see more. This requires extra work on the blogger's part, but it is a crucial one. No matter how great the blog layout looks, it will not look good visually if the blogger just post a wall of text without concerns for how it fits with the rest of the blog. 

Width of the Text Affect Readability

Lastly, the width of the blog post is also quite important in my opinion. Note that no blog has text displayed with the width of the entire computer screen. PlayStation blog has a decent width so that you don't have to scan for the next line often, which often disrupts the flow of reading. At the same time, its not too wide so that you have to move your head or eyes to follow the lines. I would think UCI-Info-Viz could probably have text displayed over a wider area as it is barely taking up a third of the width, though that might be just me. 

Random Notes

I can't believe this blog doesn't have the option to let me post a summary/introduction with the "click to read more." Now I have to be a bad blogger like I argued and assault fellow readers with wall of text.

The Preview option doesn't show what the post looks like in the actual blog along with the width and the background, making the feature not as useful. 

Also, what's up with the spell checker in a blog telling me that blog is spelled wrong. :(

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