June 5, 2014

Minimalist blog designs

Blogs and other websites look great when they have simple design. Yet, when we have so many of our resources to show, we tend to carry a number of them on the homepage. We use widgets, menus, link lists and so on to display these resources, cluttering the website. 

Many webmasters and bloggers manage to reduce clutter by grouping similar links, colour variations, drop-down menus and other techniques but many others fail to do so. 


Traditional and ultra-mod web designs


There are inherent plusses and minuses of the traditional designs, like that of this very site, Indian Top Blogs. Such designs are eminently functional and easy to navigate, but they look conservative. Subtle shades of colour, as used by various Google properties, add some style to the design but often at the cost of readability and sometimes even navigation. 

Then there are websites and blogs that use the designs and colours in fashion and introduce latest gimmicry to look 'advanced'. Such websites may awe visitors with their technical sophistication and quirkiness but most often end up confusing visitors about navigation and diverting their attention from the main theme / content.


Introducing the bare-bone design


As a blogger, you always want your content to take prime position on the blog's pages. But what if you say, you want the content without disturbing frills of any kind? In that case, the text, photos and videos should take up almost all space on the web pages, [as in the case of readers such as Kindle] no? 

We introduce here one such minimalist blog design and its variations. 


Do look at the blog below. In its entire screen space, the blog shows its latest post followed by other posts below it. We have a date stamp on the left and a thin bar on the right edge [marked A] which when clicked shows widgets and their details. The menu bar is unobtrusive. This too can go, but this is inherent to this design, which we have created from a simple template without sidebar in the Blogger platform.



In the designs given below, a Wordpress theme was slightly edited to show further variations. The widgets can be located as links under the title [B] or in a thin sidebar as mere links [D] or as a blob which when clicked shows widgets as small blobs [C].



You can try such ultra-simple designs especially for blogs with a lot of reading content but not too much variety or too many items crying for attention on the homepage [e.g. a book review blog]. But if you are interested in monetising the blog or using many widgets that should show their content too, this type of design is not for you.
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ITB's other resources on blog design that deal with simplicity of the design: 
simple and clean blog designs are the best
caution against too gaudy a design