I've spent some time tidying things up here at my3books HQ, changing some colors around, finding a new typeface, removing some unwanted elements from the page layouts. And much of the inspiration has come from a couple of really smart designers and bloggers that I follow. Thanks for the inspiration, guys!
Jeffrey Zeldman is a legendary web designer and publisher, and he published a new web design manifesto last week that calls for simpler page designs and larger type. In an era where web apps and mobile apps such as Instapaper and Readability are almost required to tiny fonts and cluttered page designs into something approaching simple legibility – his thought process feels revolutionary. He wrote "...it indicates how pathetic much of our web design is when our visitors increasingly turn to third party applications simply to read our sites’ content. It also suggests that those who don’t design for readers might soon not be designing for anyone."
Another design guru for me in the blogging and online world has been Los Angeles-based culture blogger Bobby Solomon, whose main online home is The Fox is Black, a blog that covers movies, books, music, graphic design, and architecture. Back in April, I noticed that he'd completely revamped The Fox is Black with a cleaner & simpler site design. Earlier this week, he linked to the Zeldman manifesto in a post about his own thoughts on the site redesign and their two posts really got me thinking.
So using my own limited web design skills and the tools built into the Squarespace site kit, I took out some extraneous social media modules, I lightened up the colors, moved some of the details about each post down to the bottom, and most importantly pumped up the type sizes. While I didn't go all the way up to 24px for the text typeface, most of what you'll be reading on this site is now pegged at 18px. Even on pocket-sized mobile devices, posts should be clearly legible. And on devices like the new iPad, with its Retina Display, it looks pretty sweet.
I welcome your feedback, though I'm thinking a lot about what Bobby wrote on his redesign post - he took out inline comments, trusting instead to feedback by email and via social media channels, saying "I’ve ripped out the comments from the site. 98% of comments are unnecessary, like correcting a spelling error I made or saying “That’s cool!” Neither of those comments really add to the overall story or conversation, and a lot of times there’s no conversation to be had." My experience on my3books has been that for every one comment I receive that's from an actual person wanting to add to the dialogue on this site, at least 20 have been spam posts. Something has to change, but I haven't decided what to do yet. So for now anyway, feel free to comment here.
It's coming up on my3books' three year birthday in June (June 6, to be exact!) and while I've never matched the pace and energy I was able to put into it those first six months, I feel invigorated and inspired to continue writing and posting here. I hope you'll keep coming around.