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Making the blog easier to use
March 26, 2011 - Jessica Collier
I've been trying to figure out some ways to make this blog easier to use. I've been getting a lot of complaints about usability, with several commenters saying they find it impossible to use at all. I've got a lot of the same complaints.
Our website is set up by Ogden Publishing Corporation, the West Virginia-based company that owns the Enterprise. The site setup includes a format for using blogs on it, which we have to use if we're going to blog for the paper. It's the same as at the company's other papers in Dunkirk, Jamestown, and Gloversville. The format lacks some really basic usability features that you'd find on any standard blog host site like Google's Blogger or WordPress.
I should be able to tag entries with names, topics and other things that are addressed in each post, and those tags should show up in a tag cloud on the side of the page so people can look at all the entries that deal with one topic. I should also be able to hit a button to enter a link in an entry, rather than using the html code for it. There should be a list of all the blog entries in chronological order, or at least all the recent ones, running down the side within the viewing screen of each post so you don't have to go back to the main screen to look at another post. And the biggest problem is that there should be links on the page of each blog post that will take you to the previous and the next blog posts in chronological order, again so you don't have to go back to the main blog page to find another entry to look at.
Someone suggested that the names of each blog entry are too short to know what an entry is about without clicking on it, and without those usability features in place, it's too much of a pain to figure out what to read. So I've taken that suggestion into account and will be trying to be a little longer and more descriptive with the title of each entry.
I also had a brainstorm about navigability. There isn't much I can do about most of the problems I mentioned above, but I did realize there's something I can do about the last issue I mentioned. While the site doesn't automatically insert links to the previous and next posts, I can do it myself if I insert the html.
I'm going to see what I can do about adding this to each and every post on this blog, but it's going to take some time. It's a bulky process, and it's super tedious. Normally, the convention when you edit a blog post is to write on the post that it has been edited, but since I'm telling you now that my intention is to edit every single post, I'm not going to bother with that. Also, if you see any of the links taking you to the wrong post, let me know.
Let's try it now!
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