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This day’s portion

What blogs should be: Introduction

In my last post, I explored the idea of a blog “non-design”:

…how do I build a blog that simply fulfills a set of requirements and stops there? What are those requirements? I could take a purely minimal approach, but I don’t want a design concept such as minimalism to influence what the blog does. To express this in a cliché: function before form.

I argued that any “design” arose from fulfilling a set of requirements, rather than any approach or theory, such as minimalism. As a consequence, any blog aiming to fulfill the same set of requirements should, in theory, end up with a similar design.

I’ve been working on this blog since 2008. During that time, it’s more or less looked the same, which would indicate it’s had more or less the same set of requirements. It struck me that it’d be a good idea to detail them, for three reasons:

  • Anyone building or redesigning their own blog might find a list of things to think about useful
  • The list of things I consider has grown organically over time; I’ve never evaluated it or explored other options
  • I’m, erm, thinking of writing a book. Bear with me… I’ve been managing websites since 2008 and witnessed the first browser wars, the end of tables for layout, mobile first, SPAs, the return of static, BEM, GDPR, atomic CSS, * + *, the JAMstack, Netlify, the fall of the tech giants, the fediverse, the destruction of the planet, flat-file CMSs, crypto and AI. How do you navigate all this while managing the competing demands of marketing departments, boards, fairly unhinged CEOs and the poor visitor to your website? I have answers! Listing what a blog – and really most websites – should do will serve as a good starting point.

I plan to cover the following requirements, outlining what they mean and how they affect what I’ve built in a series of blog posts. Think of this as a table of contents. It may change. Now I’ll have to write this.

So, a blog should be:

  • Viewable on any device
  • Accessible
  • Transparent
  • Easy to use
  • Legible and readable
  • Navigable and discoverable
  • Scrapable and viewable elsewhere
  • Fast
  • Affordable
  • As energy efficient as possible
  • (And, thanks to Tom) …good