If you are a dedicated follower of blogs you may have noticed a lot of template changes in those hosted by Blogger over the past week. Those crafty Blogger developers have released a new template editor and not surprisingly many of their writers have enthusiastically taken to it.
This blog has remained as it is though. It uses a variation on the most basic of the original Blogger themes, called Minima Stretch. White background, full screen width black text, no images, no fancy fonts. The web as it used to be, welcome to 1998!
So why, given that for a living I stay a step ahead of the cutting edge on these matters, have I retained such an archaic look and feel? The answer is threefold: clutter, accessibility and bandwidth.
Clutter, because this for me is primarily about writing. The occasional picture finds its way in here, but the word is where it's at. Too many widgets, banners and animations take away from that focus. I want you to read the text and I don't want you to be distracted from it. Of course, the text has to stand up on its own, but that's a function of my writing and your taste, I can't blame the design if you don't like it.
Accessibility, because I want this blog to be easy to read. I used to work in an industry in which it is de rigeur for web sites to have a black background. Against that the slightest funny font or indistinct colouring made them almost impossible to read. Some of the Blogger themes seem anxious to replicate this to the extent that there are blogs I follow that even I with my near-perfect vision I find almost impossible to read through their web interface. So black text on a white background with an easy-to-read font means this blog is as readable as it can be, nobody should come away frustrated because they couldn't see the text.
And finally bandwidth. Most people won't notice this one being on super fast broadband connections, but the more stuff there is on a web page, the longer it takes to load. As a recent adopter of an Android phone I've had this brought home to me recently, loading a large page over a rural 2G GPRS link can be painful at times. A minimalist template like this one is about as quick to load as a Blogger template can be, meaning that browsers on slow connections get their word fix quickly.
This has been a geeky post but I'm not sorry. It touches on my professional life as well as my life as a blogger so it's a subject I have some views on and I've unloaded them on you. Thanks for reading and next time you change your blog template bear some of the above in mind. Your readers will thank you for it.