19/10/2016

5 Design Related Blogging Pet Peeves



We all have pet peeves. We all have blogging pet peeves. There are a lot of posts written about blog pet peeves and most of the time they are spoken from general perspective and by general I'm referring to opinions from any topic such as the blog's layout, its additional features, etc. Today, however, I am going to talk about my blogging pet peeves but from a visual standpoint. Now keep in mind that these pet peeves are based on my opinions and may or may not be justified by everyone.


I love blog hopping. I love visiting new blog and leaving detailed, long comments — sorry if your blog happens to be one of my victims! — but I'll be honest when I say I can't stand some blogs. I find myself not being able to read the whole entry and then leave some comments due to what I consider a bad blog design. Of course, we've been there — the bad blog design thing. Remember back when we think white text on pitch black #000000 background and headers featuring sparkly celebrities or anime characters as the bomb? Uh-huh, I've been there too.

I'm not saying everyone has to change their blog instantly because your blog is yours and you can design it however you want. But over the course of blogging for years (and constantly being fickle with my URLs), I've learned that a bad blog design is not only uncomfortable for my readers and visitors but also for my motivation. I am also writing down my opinions as a visitor slash reader who visits blogs; I am not doing this to insult, offend or call out any particular blog.

Here are five blogging pet peeves related to design that I have gathered so far:

Find yourself a good, decent theme

I'm not saying that you shouldn't try and create your own theme or that you need a $100 theme, custom-made or premade. If you like to experiment, cool for you but please, understanding an organized, basic grid arrangement won't hurt your brain. Inspirations can also be gathered from pages such as Awwwards and Site Inspire if you need references or just go on to Pinterest or Behance or even Google for some examples. And if you are a coder or developer, I expect you to know proper, decent layout arrangement. If not, you can always refer to the 960 grid or the 1200px grid system. But do keep in mind that just because a person knows how to code doesn't mean they will always create an awesome, user friendly and functional website design.

Alas, if you're not a good designer, please google for premade themes that have been professionally designed. Whether it's Blogger, Tumblr or Wordpress themes, you can find both free and paid themes.

Typography & Legibility


  • TYPEFACE / FONT FAMILY
PLEASE avoid crazy, fancy and edgy fonts. Do note that I am referring to font face — aka typeface, aka font family — and not font styles. Italics and bolds are alright; script-y font face is not. You might as well use Windings and write the post in doodle codes.

Keep it simple is what I'm saying. You want people to read your post and not play cryptography. If you can't pick any font family, the classic Helvetica or Arial will do the trick; some recommended alternatives from me are Roboto, Lato, Noto Sans and Open Sans. Also, use not more than 1-3 font families to keep the consistency going. If you need help with font combination, you can check Google Font for assistance.

  • LEADING / LINE HEIGHT, TRACKING / LETTER SPACING AND FONT SIZE
In printing, it's called leading while the web calls it line height; same goes for tracking and letter spacing. I don't understand why some people let their body paragraph stay super close to one another — please set the leading / line height to give your readers a more comfortable experience of reading your post. Nobody likes reading posts with cramped spacing between them. On the other hand, tracking / letter spacing may or may not be necessary depending on your preference, however, please do not overuse them.

Font size is self-explanatory. Small fonts are okay, tiny fonts are not. Because each font face has different measurement so do keep that in mind.

Colour Scheme

This is one of my strongest pet peeves. I have visited blogs with inconsistent and uncoordinated colour scheme; there's a red, a yellow, a green, a blue — the whole rainbow on the same page! Please don't ruin your reader's eyesight for I bet they still love their clear vision. My tips is to go with the classic black text on white background if you have no idea how to coordinate an eye pleasing colour scheme. But if you want some splash of colours into your page, you can start searching for colour scheme inspirations on Pinterest, use Adobe Kuler or this cool website over here.

Avoid white text on pitch black background. The classic black text on white background works and gives your blog a minimalist look but do not go in reverse. It just doesn't work on screen.

Images, please

I may not be the best photographer ever but I know better than to post blurry, out of focus and yellow bathroom shots. I'm not saying (or expecting) everyone needs an expensive DSLR or that everyone needs to learn how to construct a good photography composition though the basic rule of third is a worthwhile read if you are keen on improving your shots. Blurry photos, on the other hand, make me question if you accidentally spotted something that wasn't supposed to be there, if you know what I mean. Trust me when I say a smartphone can produce good pictures too.

Additionally, I'm picky about images with smaller and inconsistent size. It'd be nice if the width of your picture is equal to the width of your body paragraph.

Autoplay Anything

So you think the era of autoplay music is over? Nope. I remember visiting a blog with autoplay music and geez, why do people still do these things today? Come on, the Myspace and Frienster eras are over so please do not startle me with an autoplaying boombox from your page. I don't fancy being disturbed when I'm blog hopping while listening to my favorite indie folk pop tunes, thank you very much.

If you happen to fancy javascript animation on your page, please do it subtly — here are a few examples of javascript animation that I still find tolerable. I personally think javascript animation is more suitable for making an impression on a single landing page or a corporate profile and not on your blog unless of course, you must. Still, if you must, please turn off the sound so it won't become an autoplay screaming animation.

And that concludes my five blogging pet peeves as seen from a reader's visual standpoint. I might have forgotten or purposely skipped some points such as blog ads because it's not a huuuuge pet peeve of mine, at least not as huge as the ones I listed here.

Be sure to comment below if you have anything to add.



8 comments

  1. I completely agree with everything here :D I hate the autoplaying of ANYTHING. It scares the beezues out of me~!

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  2. HAHAHAHAAH! As a former UX/UI designer and design freak in general, I could not agree with this post more! Excellent observations.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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  3. autoplay shit GAHD. and people who use overcurly serif fonts as body fonts are the bane of my internet existence. i agree that the right photo invites people. we all know a pleasant photo when we see it. i personally invited by colors. great scheme of colors, be it only a contrast of black and white with lovely typography, i'm sold. you made great points!

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  4. Autoplaying is still a thing? Uh, no. I'm guilty of that back in 2000, but I've quickly come to realise it's super annoying, haha!

    And YES TO THE LINE-HEIGHT. Don't even get me started when people don't even put spaces between paragraphs. It's really hard to read blocks of text without any breaks.

    Honestly, if a website isn't legible, I leave and chances of me coming back are quite slim!

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  5. I love receiving comments from you. You're too awesome, Elisa ;). I hate it when sites use a color scheme that hurts my eyes. It's 2016. People should learn how to not be an offender when it comes to poor design (eg. putting pink text on a purple background... gross).

    Yes yes, there are a lot of ~free~ themes out there that doesn't look like garbage. Grid type layouts are the best! "Play cryptography" - you are LEGIT. It's annoying when people make their body font some sort of cursive. Ummm I want to read comfortably, thanks! I've been through the phase where I used 10 different font families in my layout. I learned to limit to maybe 3 main fonts.

    Pictures definitely make a big difference! I'm still trying to learn how to use a DSLR for better pics. @___@... It's hard XD.

    I still see people these days with bad layout coordination.... How can one discreetly pass this message over? XD

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  6. I don’t really have anything to add but I agree with your points! Short, simple, but strongly said. :) I’m totally not saying your post is a boring one by any means, but it outlines common sense that not a lot of people have. Design has really changed over the years and I can be honest with you and say that I had some blinding, too-colourful designs in the past that used really fancy typefaces. It got a bit too much.

    These days when I design and build/code, I take the approach of making everything black and white and actually put the colour last. :) I don’t actually use a grid because I build things from scratch and I personally hate grids, but I believe I have a good eye for design and how to arrange things on a page without things getting too messy. I think a lot of my design eye came from looking at professionally built themes in the first place, which can help you gain inspiration and get an idea of what is good.

    Smartphone cameras are definitely a lot better these days, and I am comfortable with putting smartphone photos on my blog now. In the past, about five years ago, I was OK with the photos I took but when I look back, they look so crap ?

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  7. Now that's a good idea right there. I've always done the designing + color picking at the same time and maybe I should try doing everything in black and white first..
    And you certainly know what it means to have a good, decent design! :D

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  8. Don't worry gurl, your DSLR pics are not bad. I've seen worse, lol. Keep doing it ;)

    Ikr, sometimes I just wanna say um excuse me but your blog layout sucks and it's not comfortable for me to read so uh...find a better one? Lol but people are just so sensitive and they can get offended really easily ^^;;

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