Darren Rowse has been busy with two projects: the redesign of Problogger.net; and moving house. I mention the second of these things because the house he’s selling is tangible evidence that he knows whereof he posts: it’s the house that blogging built.
I’ve long regarded Problogger as a well-designed blog: attractive and easy to navigate. I am rather disappointed with its new design.
Let’s look at the screenshot, from the top, bearing in mind that much of what we see there will be “below the fold.” Given that it’s ProBlogger, I’d prefer that the blog was the home page of the site but, as the bar at the top implies, that’s not the case. It is good to see that the search box is good and prominent.
Then there’s the logo strip, which seems to me to take up too much space. The subscribe box likewise seems larger than it needs to be, and I’m not sure that it needs to be that high on the page. I like the featured post box, but I miss the boxes at the top of the page that featured and organized multiple key Problogger posts.
When I go to a blog, I expect to see most of the screen occupied with recent posts. Problogger’s home page isn’t like that, in part because Problogger seems to be attempting to be more than a blog. The recent posts seem squashed into a strip on the left of the screen. I find myself annoyed by the video and the ads that squash them into that strip.
I suppose that it’s silly to go to Problogger and be annoyed by ads. But the ads annoyed me less in the previous design.
In a recent post, Darren remarked on how the redesign is working out, provided the screenshot I’ve linked to from here, and linked to a post by the (re)designer, Ben Bleikamp. Ben explained that the primary goal for the redesign was to give Darren a platform to expand the Problogger brand.