Friday, January 1, 2021

Don't Make Me Think

Rodin's The Thinker"

The title of this blog post is

  1. the name of a book by Steve Krug
  2. a fundamental principle of website and app design
  3. a yardstick with which to measure the new Blogger user interface

The correct answer, of course, is all of the above.

The best user experience is the one you do not notice. 

How does the new Blogger interface rate on that score?

The phrase "pause to interpret" in an unusual typeface that is difficult to read

Don't Slow Me Down

When you read a good book, you do not fuss about understanding the organization and you do not pause to interpret an unusual font. 

The author's ideas or information or narrative flows directly into your brain, unimpeded by design quirks.

Similarly, good writing will make you think—about the author's ideas (or will make you or feel, or understand). It will not demand that you filter that understanding though bad prose or convoluted organization.

Don't make me think about your interface. Free me to give your substance my undivided attention. Make my experience seamless.

Which brings us to blogging on Blogger.

The "New Blogger"

So, let's be fair. Separate out the actual bugs, such as the ongoing issues managing images in posts. 

(These are serious, and need to be fixed, but do not seem to be interface decisions. Rather they are unintended problems with a new technology.)

Discount, also, changes that are annoying simply because they are changes and go against your learned habits. You can learn new ones.                   

What is left, though, are the irreducible problems and quirks that stymie use.

Does something slow you down? Does it interrupt your creative flow? Does it "make you think"?

That's just bad design.

Update: also, don't make me click.

Today's photo of Rodin's Penseur is courtesy of Daniel Stockman, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. It has been cropped. Unusual fonts: Party LET Oblique, Braggadocio


  1. I’m cheered to find someone else who takes the problems with the Blogger interface seriously.

    I’ll mention two:

    1. The width of the Compose and HTML windows. (I've mentioned it to Google via Feedback.) If it can't be narrower by default, it should at least be adjustable. Butterick's Typography recommends (among other rough guides) a line length between two and three alphabets. The Compose window has a line length of more than three and a half alphabets. The HTML window line runs to four alphabets.

    2. The font in the HTML window, which, alas, isn't easy to change in Safari. The font in iOS is far more readable.

    1. @Michael: And I am always pleased to find someone who takes good typography to heart.

      There are some real challenges to typographical quality on the web (versus print where one has complete control), but line length should not be one of them.

      Incidentally the old UI was actually worse on that score, at least on some pages.

  2. I used to use Blogger, now I use WordPress. My wife still use Blogger and several days ago I helped her check her writing for a blogging contest, then I found it quite difficult to manage the image as some people mention it on the Blogger Help Community.

    I wish the Blogger can finally reach its best version in 2021 :)

    1. I have blogs on both platforms.

      There have been some changes, but I think my critical evaluation of WordPress vs. Blogger still holds up well.

      Your wife may find these image workarounds helpful while (fingers crossed) Google fixes those persistent problems.

  3. wow thanks, I will read them now.