Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Better Homes and Bloggers

The other day a friend gave me an impromtu video tour of her lovely home. It was uncluttered and neat and comfortable, with rich colors and personal accents and sentimental corners. Lest you think I've gone all Martha Stewart on you, we were totally drunk, so that may have colored the "aren't we all girly and Suzy Homemaker-ish" vibe. Still, I am a natural voyeur, and I never miss an opportunity to snoop in someone else's home.

My home, on the other hand, is basically decorated by my mother. I realized the other day that almost every single piece of art in the house was given to me or painted by my mother. Much of the furniture has been handed down from Mom, and every time the woman comes to visit she "reorganizes" the joint. I don't personally have much of a mark on my house, which seems to me both perfectly fine and a little concerning at the same time. But Mom is a natural decorator, and I am a natural slob, so it works out ok.

I do, however, love scrolling through design blogs and looking at pretty pictures of other people's homes, other people's ideas, other people's creative, personal, inventive ideas about how to decorate their surroundings. But chances are I'm not going to participate much in the furnishing of my own environment. As much as I might envy those who are able to make their homes unique and personal, lazy trumps everything.

So when I saw that today's reviewee was a collaboratively written design blog, I was both interested and trepidations. Interested because, you know, pretty pictures. But trepidatious because chances are no one here is going to give a rat's squiggly little disease-ridden tail about a design blog. Our tastes generally run to the more word-centric parts of blogging. The more sex-centric, angst-centric, story telling-centric, and pee your pants funny-centric parts, too.

So. Tchochkes. You're design people. Surely you can get a better blog design. I mean, orange and white: blandtastic. But then I hate orange. Three columns? Really? There's way too much clutter here. It's like those, well, tchochkes, my mother gives me that are sweet but that I don't need and they end up piling up on my bookshelves and collecting dust.

Get some tabs, use a two-column design, bump up the font size 'cause my eyes are screamin', and rethink the gadgets and popular posts in your sidebar. I'm not going to harp on the ads because at least they're relevant to your subject matter. But, seriously? "Infolinks" in your text? No. Just, no. Also, your Book Store application doesn't fit within the confines of your blog body. This is where two columns would come in so handy.

For the love of all that's holy get rid of the "Read the rest of the story" links. God, I hate these. Burn in hell, "read the rest of the story" link, you bastard spawn of coding demons. Die, die!

And from an editorial standpoint, consider dropping "such" from your tagline. Doesn't "Because a little decoration is a nice thing" sound better? It does to me.

Otherwise, it's a design site. How good can the writing really be? And how good should I expect it to be? I like looking at pretty things, and I have a boatload of fashion and photography and design blogs in my reader, but my interaction with those blogs is almost entirely restricted to looking at the pretty pictures. And looking at them quickly. I don't spend a lot of time at these sites. They're just eye candy, and I'm not personally invested in them. For example, this post? Looked at the pictures, ignored the text completely. Sorry. I mean, I can get on board with intrusive photos of people's homes because I'm nosey as hell and like to snoop -- not to mention maybe seeing interesting ideas for decorating -- but it's not gripping, evocative, literary, and lyrical stuff.

Not only is it a design site that I can't get excited about, it's a design site for people in Israel. So they've just completely dropped off my radar. I mean, what do I care about buying sheets in Tel Aviv or the predominance of poufs? I don't, that's what. I couldn't give two shits.

Look, the bloggers are no doubt nice people with good and informative things to say about decorating your home in Israel. I can see where your site would be useful to, you know, people decorating heir homes in Tel Aviv. But to me it's just another blog in a sea of them I won't read. Likely the folks who read them love them, and that's as it should be. But you won't be adding me to their numbers, especially with your current design.

28 comments:

  1. Ahhh, I'm touched.

    And everyone else around here thinks I've lost my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow. not a single entry that I had the least little bit of interest in.

    I like some design stuff, but often it tends toward form over function. And that bugs the crap out of me.

    So. What struck me about this "design" blog was how Ikea-centric it seemed to be on first glance. IMHO, Ikea is not design -- Ikea is furnishing on a budget.

    So, yeah. I'm probably not getting it. Let me tell you about the two shits I don't give.

    Oh and anyone who uses those "Click to read more..." links without bothering to hook me in the opening should just STOP TYPING NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I freaking hate click to see more links.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope these people appreciate that they were spared flaming fingers solely by virtue of having you as a reviewer.

    Betsy, if you've lost your mind, come sit over here by me, where the crazies belong.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LB - Will you share your meds with me?

    ReplyDelete
  6. They're pretty hardcore, BB. Have you ever taken effexor? It works great for me, but the withdrawals are CRAZY bad.

    ReplyDelete
  7. By the way, i can't help but think that we need an "Ask" women's weekend in someplace like Atlanta. Can you visualize the juicy goodness of that? We'd all probably get arrested and thrown in jail, but it would be a fucking lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cymbalta here. One week off of it and I'm a crazy, crying, yelling nut bag.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I contemplated flaming fingers, but I wasn't angry enough.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Right. I'm buying Thesis this week and switching the site to 2 columns as ordered. The tabs will come, the bookstore will go and the orange will stay. I like it.

    I will consider getting rid of the "click to read more..." We're really heavy on the pictures though and it makes the site much easier to load with it.

    Thank you for reviewing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Consider minimizing the number of posts on one page instead of doing click for more. That might help the bandwidth situation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wellbutrin here, should it concern us that three of the four female reviewers are on the crazy meds?

    Nah,you know what they say about crazy girls, and it's all true.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ugly design blogs make me want to stab someone and do a design "splatter" pattern.

    Hmm, maybe meds are not working.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Right? Design blogs should be pretty.

    Also, should I be medicated, too? Just for solidarity? Nah.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "should it concern us that three of the four female reviewers are on the crazy meds"

    I would be interested to see how many bloggers, in general, are on them. I personally am not, but sometimes I wonder whether I should be.

    Like, if I was on antidepressants, maybe I could handle drinking again... Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Trust me when I say I should be on them.

    My husband asks often, "did you take your meds today?"

    To which I answer with the throwing of a plate.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am packing my bags and leaving for Atlanta for the 'Ask' women's weekend as we speak. I plan on brining pumpkin muffins and car keys. Why? Obviously, everyone wants to slather my pumpkin muffins all over their nekkid body aaaaaand I will be the designated driver.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Did anyone here ever read mackin ink? http://mackink.blogspot.com/

    She was part design, part beautiful writing. But sadly she doesn't post any longer.

    Hey, we could call the weekened in Atlanta "FlogHer"

    ReplyDelete
  19. he he he 'FlogHer'. That me grin all sideways and kind of evil and really, really happy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If I don't take my effexor for 2 days, I'm a crying paranoid lunatic. And then the puking and nausea starts, and it goes downhill from there. It's not pretty. Hopefully, Alex Hamilton will never need to see it.

    Re: Flogher. Do you think we could pull it off? Really? That would be amazing.

    Also, everyone knows that alcoholics and crazies are the best writers.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't enjoy the ATL but I would love to have an Ask PJ Girls Party.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Flogher? I'm so there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Me too! I wanna come. I'll bring slide shows of ALL my trips. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I thought about lowering the amount of posts on the front page - but I'm still not sure it would help. My home tours can have 30 - 40 photos in one post. I also don't like clicking, but I've received loads of complaints on load time before we made the change. Not sure which is the lesser evil.

    We're also changing our editorial a bit since my partner just moved to NY. So there'll be more US stuff as soon as she gets settled in. I wanted you to review it more bc I knew you would take apart the layout (which I realize is a mess).

    We're getting over 3,000 visitors a day worldwide and we need to step up the bar.

    Again, thanks for the review.

    -s

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh - and the such in the tagline. While you never met her I was channeling my bubby (grandmother) - imagine it being said by a little old woman with white hair and a harsh New York accent. Put the emphasis on the such. Then you get it.

    And in case you don't know - Tchochke is Yiddish for
    "small decorative item you need to dust"

    -s

    ReplyDelete
  26. If you are looking for a good contextual ad company, I recommend you take a peek at Clicksor.

    ReplyDelete

Grow a pair.