A few weeks ago, I got back into gear and continued the process of redesigning this site. The redesign includes both cosmetic and structural changes. While dozens of changes need to be made, I’ve started with the most basic and most important – the individual entry format.
My primary goal is to make Daily Exhaust a great reading experience. Most sites don’t work this way. This applies to amateur blogs to professional blogs to news sites by multi-national corporations.
We’re all familar with layouts similar to this:
You’ve got a entry body area that may or may not be at an optimal size for readability and then over on the righthand side, a bunch of shit having nothing to do with the entry you’re reading. If you’re lucky enough to scroll past these billboards during your reading journey, you inevitably encounter the eternal sidebar deadspace, the U.S. Route 50 of websites.
I need a better driving, excuse me, reading experience on Daily Exhaust. I want people to enjoy coming here, not merely endure a sub-optimal reading layout because they like the content.
So in my world, when you’re reading, it’s the only thing in your view:
Look to the left, look to the right… it’s all related to the entry. In this case, when you look to the right, it’s the meta content related to the entry. Time stamp. Category. Keywords. No ads. No sub navigation. No dead space, just open space.
Yes, I’m not directly monetizing this site (aside from self-promotion) yet, so I have the luxury of creating any format I choose. Regardless, it’s possible to scale the current format in a way that still favors the reader while making me money. Down the road, if I do include ads on the page, I plan to do so either within designated space between posts, or in actual entries themselves. I look forward to having these types of problems.
Moving forward, there’ll be many more changes but won’t change is a focus on readability.