Friday, September 12, 2008

She ain't easy (pretty, but not easy)

You'll excuse the title - I couldn't resist it.

If you are here, please comment. Be heard. Or I'll not know your opinions, and I'll just do whatever works best for me. (Me, me, ME!!)

I need some more reader input on blog template stuff. I've put in this "expandable post summaries" feature, where we can hide the brunt of a post behind a link. I'm not 100% sold on this feature, but I'm also not completely sure I should remove it. Here's why.

I kind of like this feature, because it keeps the main pages nice and tight. If readers see something of interest, they can read more. If it's not of interest on first blush, it's easy to skip, and a reader doesn't have to scroll down too far to get to the next entry. So that's kind of nice. There's a part of me that likes a simple, neat view of all entries on the main and archive pages. It makes things neat. It makes things pretty. And it makes scanning and selective reading much easier. So that's the plus side of this feature.

And I kind of dislike this feature, because it requires a reader to click on a link to read the rest of any entry. This is not especially user friendly if you want to read all posts and you don't want to scan and select your reading. It adds extra steps. With this feature in place, a reader has to click to expand every page, and then read the rest of the entry, and then go back. And that kind of thing can get pretty monotonous and annoying. There's a part of me that likes keeping things simple ... fewer mouse clicks and such. So that's the down side of this feature.

In short, the expandable posts summary feature is pretty, but in some ways it's not especially easy.

(I haven't found a way to make it work selectively, where some posts are partly hidden and others are left alone. The "Read more" link shows up at the bottom of every post no matter what I do.)

So do I keep the "Read more" link at the bottom of every post and make the main page and archive pages look all neat and succinct and easier to navigate for those who are scanning the posts? Or do I delete the "Read more" code in its entirety and let all our wordiness spill out all over the blog's main pages in order to lose those extra mouse clicks?

I think my personal preference is to keep it. Because there are both upsides and downsides to it. But primarily because removing it takes work, and I am lazy. You see, if I remove the feature now, I have to remove some code from a bunch of entries. Make work projects aren't really my thing. But I can do it, if need be.

So ... What would you prefer? Do you like to scan and select posts? Or do you want all the wordiness right out there on the main page?


Wyrd's Little Sister said...

I think "read more" links are fine - mainly because you can fit more intros on the page without wearing the fingers out while scrolling - and it looks so impressive for those of us that doesn't have the know-how!

Trish said...

I don't have the know-how either! But I found a "blogger beta for dummies" page, and it has some helpful hacks for the new Blogger. That and a bit of common sense gets you pretty far. :-)