December 6, 2005

More Blog Designs to Discuss

published this at 10:10 am

muddy teal strip A

Successful bloggers are constantly trading ideas and talking about things.

Remember tonight is Tuesday Night Successful Blog Design Discussion Night.

Here are some more blog designs you might check out.

Koray Online about Web 2.0, technology, business, and college life.

Living with Music about collecting music and all that goes with it.

I Remember about brief experiences and feelings.

A Venture Forth about venture capitalism.

Travel Dive about scuba diving.

Phil Renaud blog page “35 sexiest websites.”

muddy teal strip A

Come if you can. If not it will be just Javier and me, figuring out how to comment on everyone’s blog.

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related articles:
NEW————->> Cool Designs April 2006
Call for Designers
Blog Promotion: Checking Out Curb Appeal
GAWKER Design: Curb Appeal as Customer-Centered Promotion
Turning Reluctant Readers into Loyal Fans
Blog Design Checklist

Filed under Blog Review, Community, Design, Successful Blog | 110 Comments »


C'mon. Let's talk!

110 Comments to “More Blog Designs to Discuss”

  1. December 6th, 2005 at 11:03 am
    Melissa said

    I have been a fan of Travel Site since time immemorial (exag, I know!). I love the content AND the design. I was also initially attracted to 9rules because of the design. And when I started reading, I got hooked.

    Wish I can do kick-ass design, though.

  2. December 6th, 2005 at 11:16 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Melissa!
    It’s a treat when you come over here.

    Good design really does draw in readers. You just gave yourself as a perfect example.

    I could spend all day critiquing designs and once did as part of my job. There are some fabulous one’s at 9rules–go Rundle!! He really does justice to the content.

    If you get a chance stop back by tonight when we’re all talking about it.
    Liz

  3. December 6th, 2005 at 12:23 pm
    Melissa said

    *travel dive

    I always come over. Just don’t comment when topics go way over my head. haha. Am listening, though… and learning.

    well, it’s almost 6pm here. Time to go home and blog openly. hehe.

  4. December 6th, 2005 at 12:47 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Melissa,
    It’s just great getting a chance to talk to you too.
    Liz

  5. December 6th, 2005 at 3:38 pm
    Scrivs said

    Yes, truly amazing what happens when you mix a great design with quality content. Hard to go wrong and we are fortunate to have all of those sites, with the exception of the last one, in the 9rules Network.

  6. December 6th, 2005 at 3:40 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Paul,
    Some truly great design work there. I couldn’t resist showing it off.
    Liz

  7. December 6th, 2005 at 3:56 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Just found you in my referers.

    I’m a huge fan of Koray’s design. My own is a shambles really, but I’ve got about five new versions up my sleeve. The problem is that now that my first tableless site (the one you linked to here) is done, I can think of a thousand ways of doing it differently, avoiding too many divs, making it more accessible, etc.

    I’m still in a learning phase with too little time on my hands to come up with clean sites like other people have.

    Here are three versions I have been contemplating, just to add more links to the post here. ;)

    http://www.deus62.com/linkto/for9rules01.jpg
    http://www.deus62.com/linkto/for9rules02.jpg
    http://www.deus62.com/linkto/for9rules03.jpg

    Currently, I favor design 2 (2nd link) simply because it can be done more easily, avoiding bloated code. But, as is often the case, once I really start hitting that design, it’ll turn out to be quite different.

    BTW: These are all 1-hour mocks to decide which one to go with. Design 2 already looks quite different in Photoshop. ;)

    Cheers!

  8. December 6th, 2005 at 4:20 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Volkher,
    What a treat it is that you should stop by and share your thinking! I appreciate that.

    We know that every design is a work in progress from the second it’s started. So much you brought along to talk about too. It’s nice to have this little peak into your thoughts for the future.
    Liz

  9. December 6th, 2005 at 5:28 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Hi Liz,

    thanks for the kind words.

    Regarding a redesign of my site (which is still months away). I left a comment on Matt Brett’s page today (the link would probably break the layout here, but it’s one on his most recent post on his homepage, http://www.mattbrett.com/, in which he talks about the ad dilemma) briefly summarizing my own dilemma. I’ll write a bit more about it here:

    I want to simplify and go totally white. So far, I have failed miserably because it is incredibly difficult to separate content if you want to avoid colour blocks, faded backgrounds, shadows, horizontal rules etc. Garret Dimon (http://www.garrettdimon.com/) has done an excellent job, but now he’s also expaned his former 1-column layout and added color areas.

    I have done quite a bit of print design and there (A4 or letter-sized page) it is a lot easier to separate content by ample use of white space and some tasty typography. Even if you go with a 950px wide screen layout, it’s virtually impossible to do that with the limited amount of screen space. I have some versions which are ok, but they are far removed from what I have in mind.

    On top of that, I want to avoid the multi-column layout (at least multi-columns separated by visiual elements) and a too “bloggy” feel.

    Summary: Even if you reduce a page to a bare minimum, you still need to make your content accessible (archive, recent posts, whatever) and aside from using some Ajax scripts which I want to avoid, I have been completely unable to come up with a solution that satisfies me.

    I always fall back to things you see in the above links. And, believe it or not, all three started out with just text on a white background. Thoughts that developed into half-finished layouts that were then, summarily, canned.

    But that’s also the fun of all of this. I’m waiting for that one moment where everything falls into place, I can open a bottle of good Rum and drink to myself. ;)

    At the moment, I think that day is still several versions of my site away.

    There you have it. :)

  10. December 6th, 2005 at 5:48 pm
    Gary Miller said

    I’m not a design guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know what I like and that translates to minimalis. White space is a must for me, but not to be overdone with vast areas of no text/graphics. Graphics, on the other hand, should be kept to a minimum and used to accentuate rather than draw too much attention.

    I am quite fond of Paul’s original design over at Fine Fools. I love the stark white with just a hint of color sprinkled about. When I started to tweak my own site, I took my inspiration from him.

    As far the blogs featured for discussion here, for my money you can keep anything that is text on a black or dark background. It drives me absolutely up the wall. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find it extremely difficult to read no matter what color the text is – omg, am I starting to sound like Nick?

    Ok, now that I’ve alienated the designers in the crowd, I guess I’ll leave it here.

  11. December 6th, 2005 at 5:51 pm
    Phil Renaud said

    Hey! Thanks for the wonderful link, I’m in great company here! :)

    I’m happy to add to any discussion I can be productive towards.

    And ps: Scrivs: Maybe I should look into joining the 9rules network afterall! I never really thought I stood a blind chance, but maybe for round 4 :)

  12. December 6th, 2005 at 5:59 pm
    Anthony said

    Although I do love Koray Online I think that is pretty much just the out of the box WordPress theme called Kiwi from No One’s Listening.

  13. December 6th, 2005 at 6:22 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Volkher, Gary, Phil, Anthony,
    Wow! I knew if I got stuck you would start without me, but I had no idea I’d get such fine company!

    I think minimal is good idea that you’re all pointing to.
    The need for so many words on a blog and so many categories requres some restraint.
    Liz

  14. December 6th, 2005 at 6:26 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Phil,
    That’s quite a list you put together.

    Anthony,
    I find No One’s Listening a little busy for my eye.

  15. December 6th, 2005 at 6:28 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Volkher,
    I kind of figured you must be a designer to have so many ideas in progress going on.

    Gary,
    I don’t know about the original FineFools design. I lived with it for a month and my eye’s got very hungry for some color somewhere.
    Liz

  16. December 6th, 2005 at 6:41 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Liz,

    I’m not a designer really. I’m a teacher. There’s an interview with me coming up on pMachine soon (they’re featuring my site) and in it (sneak peek) I said this (no idea if they leave that in or shorten it, whatever):

    “For me, (web) design fulfills the same function as ego shooters do for other people. It might be an odd comparison, but instead of throwing virtual mines at groups of slimy aliens and enjoying the mayhem, I get a kick out of designing posters, CD covers, flyers and web pages for myself, to relieve the stress I have in my day job. It’s starting with a clean slate and focusing on something totally else that helps me stay sane. Hence the many designs I have put out there.”

    @Gary Miller

    I totally agree. I also liked http://simpleydone.com/ – it was one of the first sites that made me think about simplicity. I actually had a very similar design once that I canned after I found simpl(e)y done – it was too similar.

  17. December 6th, 2005 at 6:43 pm
    Gary Miller said

    Yeah, now that I look at it, I do like the colors in mine a little better except for those freaky IMVU ads that keep coming up at the bottom.

  18. December 6th, 2005 at 6:44 pm
    Yas said

    Actually, I think Koray is Squibble. ME Strauss, I agree No One’s Listening is busy (and it’s my site). Just haven’t gotten to house clean in a while.

  19. December 6th, 2005 at 6:46 pm
    ME Strauss said

    I agree with you, Volkher, about the stress relief of doing design-like things. I think it works the same as gardening or golf, giving the right-brain a change to work out. When I was teaching I used to color–with crayons.
    Liz

  20. December 6th, 2005 at 6:52 pm
    Martin said

    Hey Liz,

    All nice designs … mainly from the 9rules stables I see ;-)

    Just goes to prove I’ve got next to zero design skills.

    Great link to Phil Renaud blog page “35 sexiest websites.â€? – I’m sitting down with a coffee this morning and going through the 35 – so thanks for the link. Oh, and on my second monitor (I’m a happy boy with a new toy – I just got a dual montor set up) I’ll of course be dropping in to tonights talkfest :-)

  21. December 6th, 2005 at 6:52 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Yas,
    Thank you for joining in, and please call me, Liz.
    What do you like in a design?
    Liz

  22. December 6th, 2005 at 6:55 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Martin,
    I went looking for designs I like that I could find quickly. :P

    Yes, Phil’s link is wonderful. Did you see he stopped by? Hey we’re already talking, I think. I’ll keep your seat for you until you get back.
    Liz

  23. December 6th, 2005 at 6:56 pm
    Gary Miller said

    Volkher – simpl(e)y done is extreme minimalist to say the least. I like it, but if he were to monetize it, I fear the ads would overtake it to an extreme that would be detrimental to the overall design.

  24. December 6th, 2005 at 6:56 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Gary,
    I didn’t miss you. So you think what I said about the FineFools design might apply to yours?
    Liz

  25. December 6th, 2005 at 6:58 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    I’m just writing up a new post (on writeboard.com … anyone else use that? It’s stupid, really. I mean, I have several thousand dollars worth of software on my PC, but I’ve started putting together new posts on writeboard. On second thought, not stupid … it’s a simple application that gets things done).

    Where was I? Ah, yes. The new post is about collecting or, rather, why I collect music (and books). Instead of drawing with crayons (that’s one thing I can’t do .. draw), I design stuff and listen to music. Unfortunately, I hardly have time to read a good novel these days. I hate reading good books in chunks so if I don’t have the time to read one in one to three sittings, I just don’t.

    ———

    If you design something with white as the basic color and using ample white space, that does not exclude color. It’s finding the right balance that’s the difficult part.

    I often find my designs drifting from a simple white layout to one that gets more and more complex … and more colorful. It’s an inner demon I have not been able to fight effectively yet.

    One day …

  26. December 6th, 2005 at 6:59 pm
    Gary Miller said

    Liz – I think my site is a bit different than Scrivs’ in that I’ve incorporated a bit more color in it. I’ve taken my design pretty much as far as I dare to. Not that it couldn’t use some help, but as I said, I’m no designer. Tweaker, maybe.

  27. December 6th, 2005 at 7:00 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Gary,

    yeah, placing ads in a simple design is a pain. I’m actually contemplating leaving them out altogether, although I did want to try to get some sort of financial return in the future (no matter how little).

    I’m still undecided.

  28. December 6th, 2005 at 7:02 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Volkher
    to piggyback on what Gary says

    Gary Miller Says:

    Volkher – simpl(e)y done is extreme minimalist to say the least. I like it, but if he were to monetize it, I fear the ads would overtake it to an extreme that would be detrimental to the overall design.

    Simpl(e)y done is a design that as I’m sure you’ve found out couldn’t handle your many categories of content.

    Maybe your answer lies in color in thin lines rather than blocks.
    Liz

  29. December 6th, 2005 at 7:04 pm
    Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) said

    Wow, sorry for being late! I had a major emergency (I was eating some excellent food… god, I love being fat. ;)
    Those designs are really something, I live the first one (Koray) a LOT. It seems pretty much like ordered list on the layout and the menu (if you know how to look, of course) but its more clean and simple.
    I loved the “double footer” feature, it’s an interesting concept I didn’t saw before. At first glance, you have the footer with some useful information about previous posts, other notes, etc. But the wonderful is that when you scroll down, you find another whole new footer with an author’s bio. That was exactly what I was looking for! I wanted to add something like that to CYM and I didn’t knew where to put it (on the top of the page, on the left side… I truly didn’t knew).

    Liz, your post helped me a lot. I like redesign more than eating, so I will be doing a little changes over here and over there.

    I love this subject!
    Hugs to everyone!
    Javier Cabrera

  30. December 6th, 2005 at 7:08 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Javier,
    I thought of you when I put up Koray’s design for some reason. I’m glad you’ve found the ideas you’re looking for. I’m also delighted my post helped out.
    Hugs back.
    Liz

  31. December 6th, 2005 at 7:12 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yeah, Gary,
    You do have more color than Scrivs–designwise at least. :)
    Yet, you’re still minimalist.

    Volkher,
    I think you’re limited to text ads on the current site and I’m not sure who would see them. Maybe you should be looking for sponsors.
    That’s the route that’s looking attractive to me.
    Liz

  32. December 6th, 2005 at 7:14 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Javier,

    great design! I love the look and feel of the whole thing. Very inspiring for what I’m shooting for down the line. Have added it to my bookmarks. Very Web 2.0. ;)

    @Liz

    Eventually I’m sure I’ll need to divide things up visually in some way. I’m still in the “playing” phase. As usual I will probably stumble onto some answer by pure accident, probably after having opened that bottle of Rum before (!) there’s anything to celebrate.

    OK, people. ‘T was nice talking to you, but now I’ve got to hit the sack. I need to be up and about again in less than 5 hours.

    I’ll check in again tomorrow.

    Cheers!

  33. December 6th, 2005 at 7:16 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Bye Volkher! Thanks for coming. Save some of that rum for me.
    Liz

  34. December 6th, 2005 at 7:17 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Nope. ;)

    Nightie …

  35. December 6th, 2005 at 7:19 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Brat. :) Sweet dreams.

  36. December 6th, 2005 at 7:20 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yas, did you leave us too?

  37. December 6th, 2005 at 7:23 pm
    Martin said

    Liz,
    No need to keep a seat from me – I’m always here, – just got to swivel from one screen to the other.

    You know the more great designed blogs you put up the more I’m tempted to pick em apart – ie: steal some ideas :-)

  38. December 6th, 2005 at 7:24 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Martin,
    That’s the reason I put them there. Great designs are made to be borrowed from–aren’ they?
    Here’s your nachos.
    Here’s yours, Gary and Javier.
    Liz

  39. December 6th, 2005 at 8:11 pm
    Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) said

    Pablo Picasso said “My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

    I think the secret of a good design is trying to get the best out of you. If you need to steal some ideas, that’s the best thing you can do! The great artist steal too, inspiration, designs, everything. You just need to make it yours.

    For example, my design is based on the garrettdimon’s design. Can you tell? of course you can’t! I took the “soul” of that design and made it my own, I twisted it, break it, hit it with a rock and finally, it finished looking like something totally different!

    I love design! I’m looking forward to see a 9rules network redesign! the current one is so cool but I want to see more! (I like changes!)

    Hugs! great post!
    Javier Cabrera

  40. December 6th, 2005 at 8:14 pm
    Gary Miller said

    Liz – I agree that the “color” in Scrivs’ site is Scrivs himself.

    (BTW, back after an hour-long commute from the office.)

  41. December 6th, 2005 at 8:21 pm
    ME Strauss said

    See you then Gary.

  42. December 6th, 2005 at 8:23 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Jav- Do people call you Jav? I’ve been dying to ask you that.

    You understand that an idea is nothing unless you “own,” it. One has to take in an idea, fully internalize it or you are just spouting out someone else’s stuff–that is true of words, pictures, design anything.
    Liz

  43. December 6th, 2005 at 8:25 pm
    Gary Miller said

    No, I meant I am back.

    So, you have seen my site, Liz. What would you change?

  44. December 6th, 2005 at 8:34 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Gary,
    I just went to look again.
    I clicked on your new profile and then I clicked again, and then I thought I’m going to have to tell Gary he has to actually put one there. Then I realized that you had–it just looks like a post.

    You have more color now. I like it. The touch of blue is VERY nice–elegant. I also noticed you’ve whitened the background. I think that works too.

    I think you’re doing some very classy things.
    Liz

  45. December 6th, 2005 at 8:38 pm
    Gary Miller said

    Thank you very much. I value your opinion. I’ll more than likely be tweaking as I go along. Just in the blood I guess, but I can’t leave anything alone for long.

    Time for dinner here in Texas, so you all have a wonderful evening and we do this again soon, I hope.

  46. December 6th, 2005 at 8:43 pm
    ME Strauss said

    G’nite Gary,
    When you get a chance remind me to tell you about when I lived in Texas.
    Liz

  47. December 6th, 2005 at 9:42 pm
    Anthony said

    Actually it’s the WordPress theme Squible. Sorry I’m not try to be criticising I do love the design just thought I’d mention it’s source.

  48. December 6th, 2005 at 9:45 pm
    Yas said

    I’d have to agree with the sentiment that’s already been shared here: design is a lot like gardening. It’s an opportunity for quiet reflection and artistic expression. I’m constantly playing around with my site design, and though I rarely make huge changes, I try to convey an attitude in the details. It often serves as my daily creative outlet.

    CSS really is an art form.

  49. December 6th, 2005 at 10:00 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Anthony,
    It’s not criticizing to make a correction. Think nothing of it. We like our information to be right.
    Liz

  50. December 6th, 2005 at 10:03 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Yas,
    So glad you came back!
    I’m with you. Every little bit of “tending” to a design seems more energizing than anything to me. Now that I’m in the city, it’s my only form of gardening–that and image editing.

    I agree with that saying Code is Poetry. BTW Poetry is code.
    Liz

  51. December 6th, 2005 at 10:16 pm
    Yas said

    Have you looked at fad.tastic? It’s slightly off topic, but they tend to do a good job of catching design trends as they’re happening. It’s interesting to watch as the design leaders out there make changes and the same ideas trickle into more amateur websites.

    Here’s to staying creative!

  52. December 6th, 2005 at 10:28 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Yas!
    No I hadn’t looked until you brought it up, but it’s very intriguing. Thanks for sharing it. I’m bookmarking it now.
    Liz

  53. December 6th, 2005 at 11:57 pm
    Phil Renaud said

    Yas, thank you for mentionning fad.tastic! While it is not my project, I am an avid contributor to it, and I think it’s a potentially unique view on the design world (look at the spectrum of contributors)

    Thanks to everybody for the kind words on my site, by the way.

    As far as simplicity goes, remember: No web trend has stood in place at the top of the hierarchy for more than a year at any time that I know of. The beauty of web design, and more specifically blog design, is that change isn’t just encouraged, but necessary to thrive.

  54. December 7th, 2005 at 12:10 am
    Mike said

    Liz,

    How in the heck did you manage to get 52 comments on one post ?

    You should do post about comments ;-)

    BTW – I’ve stayed out of this converstion since I can’t even draw flies.

    I like blogoplex. Reminds me of Out of Bounds & Get Cooking !, done by my wife. Lots of white, for my old eyes and enough color to keep you interested.

    Dive blog rocks !

    My current fav is HollywoodYesterday. Not sure why.

    BTW – that’s a lotta 9r blogs you’re showin’ us…you tryin’ to get us to drink the kool-aid ?

  55. December 7th, 2005 at 12:16 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey, Phil,
    Thanks again for joining the conversation. It’s great to hear the real stuff from someone like you.
    Liz

  56. December 7th, 2005 at 12:20 am
    ME Strauss said

    Mike!
    I was just over at Simplenomics–no kidding.
    You do fine at talking and at listening. I like Blogoplex too and Gary is a nice guy. He’s doing a good job.

    Dive’s design is really cool. I like that column down the middle.

    I chose the 9r blogs because they looked cool and they were all in one place and I had Phil’s list of 35 others.

    Besides you know I’m a Fool first.
    Hey the buttons are almost done.
    Liz

  57. December 7th, 2005 at 12:24 am
    Mike said

    Be careful over at SimpleWorld…we’re not as user friendly as you FFools’ers.

    I’m gonna nominate Da Button as Man of The Year at Time.

    This is #57, for one post. You rock the comment world like no other. Scrivs better lock you into a long term deal before George Steinbrenner starts blogging.

  58. December 7th, 2005 at 12:29 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Mike,
    Ahhh if only I were paid by the comment . . .
    I could afford to keep my son in college. You think there’s a free agent thing in blogging? ;)

    The buttons really are looking sooooo cooool.
    Liz

  59. December 7th, 2005 at 12:40 am
    Mike said

    Oh yeah..that’s it…lord it over us commoners that you’ve seen the buttons and we haven’t.

    BTW- I’ve 2 college age and a HS junior..wanna trade ?

    Wait, does yours go to Columbia or Notre Dame or somewhere really, really over-pri….er,expensive ?

  60. December 7th, 2005 at 12:46 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey, King,
    I’m just letting you know that I’m keeping tabs on them for you.

    No way go to my writing blog sometime and read. Georgetown.
    He’s like, er, over the top smart.
    Liz

  61. December 7th, 2005 at 12:53 am
    Mike said

    Cool. I used to go to the city quite often, when I could escape from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. They normally sent an escort of 5-6 to bring me back at the mayor’s request within 48 hours.

    BTW – I actually posted something at SimpleLand…thanks for reminding me.

  62. December 7th, 2005 at 12:57 am
    ME Strauss said

    Too bad you’re not still there.
    He could keep you out of trouble.

    I’ll check out your post now. I’m happy to see you’re keeping up with your blog. You know you have a reputation to keep.
    Liz

  63. December 7th, 2005 at 1:01 am
    Mike said

    My rep is bigger at TravellingGolfer. I loves that site.

    I wanted to help get the comments up to 63…since that was the year I was birthed. Gonna have one of those bdays in 6 weeks !

    Time to put ‘er in Neutral.

    Let’s do it again tomorrow.

  64. December 7th, 2005 at 1:09 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey aren’t you the best?!
    Sleepy swell!
    Can’t wait to see you again tomorrow. :)
    Liz

  65. December 7th, 2005 at 2:39 am
    Anthony said

    This is crazy. A fairly new blog consistently getting 20+ comments to posts. Shows the power of “The Network” when teamed with a good blog topic and a quality blogger.

  66. December 7th, 2005 at 2:59 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Anthony,
    Thank you.
    I appreciate you noticing and you saying so. Tell Scrivs. :)
    Who are you, Anthony?

    Liz

  67. December 7th, 2005 at 5:48 am
    Anthony said

    I’m actually still trying to figure that out. Jack of all trades master of none. Though a rough description is Aussie journalist / writer / marketer / technology lover / media junkie / blog addict / wannabe media mogul / occasional volunteer.

  68. December 7th, 2005 at 8:54 am
    ME Strauss said

    Thank you for introducing yourself, Anthony,
    I hope you’ll keep adding your voice to the conversation. This is a community blog and I’m the first one to get tired of hearing me do all of the talking. Besides if I do the only thing anyone gets a chance to learn in what’s inside my head or what I can find out. . . .

    Sorry, how impolite of me. I should return the favor.
    I’m Liz Strauss, teacher, writer, editor, publisher, blogger, poor person, music junkie, salooonkeeper’s daughter, and big fan of Australian who wears a diamond boomerang around my neck to symbolize my wish to return there again very soon to see the friends I have scattered about your lovely continent. (A piece from my writing blog says a lot about that.)

    Do come back again. We have great group here. Lots of energy and lots of things worth talking about.
    Liz

  69. December 7th, 2005 at 9:58 am
    Martin said

    Hey LIz,
    I’ve decided to make you a honorary Aussie – here’s the keys to the country … do as you please :-)

  70. December 7th, 2005 at 10:08 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Martin,
    That is ever so very cool. I’ve never been an honorary anything. I’m just sitting here giggling like a crasy woman. What a big grin I have on my face!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)
    Liz

  71. December 7th, 2005 at 10:17 am
    Martin said

    Where’s the speech, Liz … I’d like to thank my mun and dad, God of course, and all my fans put there ;-)

  72. December 7th, 2005 at 10:24 am
    ME Strauss said

    Martin,
    I would think you would be pleased to know that you were one of a handful who had made me speechless. However, should you require a speech . . . I could come through at a second’s notice now that I’ve gained some composure. :)
    Liz

  73. December 7th, 2005 at 10:48 am
    Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) said

    Wow, great response! 72 comments! this was excellent reading!
    Yes, some people call me Jav, but it’s hard to pronounce in spanish ;)

    About your question Liz; yes, you have to “own” an idea, a design, or anything or you just will be saying what other just said before. We all do that from time to time, when we are starting to “own” an idea, a design, whatever. But its a process of change. You start with a small scratch, then you don’t feel satisfied, then you change it, then you change it again, etc. I did a website for a relative of mine some time ago, and it took me (believe or not) 1 year! that’s 12 months!

    People call it perfectionism, I call it damn good taste ;)
    If you aren’t happy with a current design, why you have to keep it? that’s the way I see it. Then, every time I don’t like something on my webs I just start changing it. When you are happy, the site will look happy!

    I need to get rid off that habit, but design is just SO fun for me… can’t help it!

    Hope we do this again some time! I was pretty tired lastnight for that great, great dinner (yes, it was great).

    Hugs!
    Javier Cabrera

  74. December 7th, 2005 at 10:57 am
    ME Strauss said

    But do you like it, when they call you Jav?
    My Spanish accent is pretty good, especially on screen. ;)

    I think that first scratch is how you begin to “own” the idea, as in make it your own, and I agree it’s not about perfectionism it’s about seeing what could be–testing the possibilities. I’m all about “what happens if and then what?”

    Hey, if you’re having fun it shows and your readers feel it. They enjoy your site as much as you do then. I often say that if you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right–that applies to everything: work, blogging, food, sex, conversation.

    Help me find the right topics and we’ll do this every other week or so.
    smiles,
    Liz

  75. December 7th, 2005 at 12:24 pm
    Melissa said

    75 comments (including this). jeez, Liz, am impressed! you surely are making your readers “talk” to you. WOW!!!

  76. December 7th, 2005 at 12:37 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey, Melissa,
    I told them if they didn’t talk my schizoform disorder would take over and my doctor would kick up my meds because I would start taking to myself again.

    I’m starting to think we should go for the Guinness Book of Records for number of comments on a Blog Post.
    Liz

  77. December 7th, 2005 at 1:50 pm
    Yas said

    Well, here’s a successful blog tip: Be like Liz.

    By making herself available to reply to comments (darn quick, too), she’s created a real dialogue on this post. That what blogs are for. Way to go, Liz. I wish more authors (myself included) made themselves more available to reply.

  78. December 7th, 2005 at 2:02 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Yas,
    Welcome back!
    Thank you, Yas. It’s the only way I know how. I really like people, and I’m curious about what they think. Besides if I don’t ask, then I have to do all of the thinking and that gives me a headache. :)
    Liz

  79. December 7th, 2005 at 3:42 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    I’m going to join in again, if I may. ;)

    Redesigning is one of the vices we all carry around. I think the community live off it and thrives because of it.

    BUT …

    I’m quite tired of never being satisfied with what I’ve done. The satisfaction with my layout usually lasts 4 weeks maximum. The I get the itch again.

    I’m collecting all the designs I’ve done for my site since 1996 and I’ve got a whole folder stuffed to the brim. I’m thinking of putting a gallery together for next year.

    My dream is to come up with a design that I like so much that the redesigning (I hate the term realigning) is limited to fine-tuning what’s there and not starting over again.

    But, as was said or implied above, and I have always agreed with that until now, a layout actually needs to change in order not to become stale.

    Now that I think of it though, I’m not quite so sure it has to be that way. If you think of sites such as Amazon and all the other big ones, they haven’t really changed in ages. But they usually also cater to a different audience.

    I wonder, if their “philosophy” of minor improvements here and there and a stable layout for many years (if not decades) can be “applied” to a blog?

  80. December 7th, 2005 at 3:43 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Sorry about the typos.
    I’m a bit groggy.
    Slept the afternoon away. ;)

  81. December 7th, 2005 at 4:01 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Volkher,
    Don’t worry about the typos, we’ve decided that a few are a sign of character.

    I think that some designs change so often because the designer tires of them–those are blogs that are designer driven. I think readers care more about consistency. I have a Monet print in my living room that I’ll be able to look at for 40 years and never tire of . . . why can’t great design work the same? Maybe a change in color pallette when a little less black in shading would make the pallette look less dated. I think it is totally possible to pick a traditional Armani suit design that would stand up to the ages.
    Liz

  82. December 7th, 2005 at 4:11 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    You know what?

    After our discussion last night, when I got up again today, I looked at my designs and pretty much canned all of them.

    I remember reading a summary of a speech by some famous guy (Google? Some web honcho?) that left quite an impression on me.

    The gist of it was that design has become secondary because the weblog conent is being disseminated by RSS etc. More often than not, readers read your conttent somewhere else.

    I’ve had that in the back of my mind ever since I started tracking stats. People hit the homepage, read the new post and leave.

    So, a thought is becoming more and more prevalent while sitting and designing here, and that is to simply reduce my page to two pages: a main entry (with comments) and a link to a complete archive.

    No more.

    If you use that premise, designing becomes very easy. Add an RSS button and maybe an input field for search, and you’re done.

    When going through my designs I had two of those already around 1997/98 but trashed them again because at the time, these totally overloaded three-column etc. layouts were in.

    I think I might play with that idea again.

    Consistency is the word of the day. So, in my eyes, you’re totally on target with that one.

  83. December 7th, 2005 at 4:14 pm
    Melissa said

    over at Liz’s blog, one kinda gets spoiled and expect something like a 24-hour live tech support. hahaha

  84. December 7th, 2005 at 4:27 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Yeah, I’ve already thought about asking HER to come up with my new design.

    How about it, Liz?

  85. December 7th, 2005 at 4:34 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    —- aside —-

    http://easylistening.blogspot.com/2005/12/paul-weston-mood-for-12-1955.html

    Am listening right now. Stay away from it if you’re not into jazz or sentimental stuff.

    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

    Download won’t be available all that much longer.

    —- aside —-

  86. December 7th, 2005 at 4:35 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Volkher,
    I think you’re making total sense and designing for the future. I’ve always drummed that simple is elegant and coming from the print world that consintency is also key.

    You and I are going to be friends. I drink expensive cognac anyhow. You can keep the rum.
    Liz

  87. December 7th, 2005 at 4:38 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Melissa,
    Thanks for the free advertising.

    Volkher,
    Sure I’ll do you’re design–for a fee. Hmmmm let’s see.

  88. December 7th, 2005 at 4:40 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Ahhh Volkher,
    Can’t change music right this minute, I’m in the middle of Bernstein’s Mass.
    Liz

  89. December 7th, 2005 at 4:48 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    On a serious note (without wanting to disqualify your last post ;) )

    Do you actually roam outisde of the web design scene (inspiration-wise)?

    I’m actually tired of all of these CSS showcases and have a boatload of, for example, these:

    http://www.graphis.com/other/design/

    … and a lot more. I’m on the mailing list of a mailorder dealer north of here who regularly discounts older titles so they become affordable. I’m up to 70 or 80 volumes by now. Whenever I get stuck on projects, I go there for inspiration.

    Cognac? Brand, please.
    I’ve had a Cognac Meukow X.O. after dinner.
    This one: http://www.calvados.de/graphik/meukowxo.gif

    I myself live in one of the world’s best (German) wine regions and my dad gave me the Meukow when I helped him secure a steady supply from a rather seclusive/exclusive vineyard here.

    Cheers!

  90. December 7th, 2005 at 4:53 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Music:

    get that download. It’s a rare freebie that will disappear forever. There’s no chance for a regular release anytime soon.

    I was listening to Bach when I hit the site here. “The Art of the Fugue” in a piano interpretation.

    One of those that’s not too technical. I hate those monotonous Bach interpretations. If you listen to someone like Bahrenboim interpreting the stuff, you can hear how much life Bach put into his compositions (that’s speculation of course, not having known Bach personally).

    Which Mass recoring are you listening to?

    I’ll let one thing out of the bag here, exclusively (don’t spread it) ;)

    Bernstein was a regular dinner guest at our house when he was in Denmark (where I lived for many years) or or Germany.

    As a kid I sat on his lap when he played on my mom’s grand.

  91. December 7th, 2005 at 4:55 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Well Volkher,
    I play with crayons, really.
    and flowers, and photographs and design my own CD covers, and crop every photo to my own liking, and rearrange every restaurant table that I sit at for aesthetic reasons if I’m with friends who don’t care–or someone I want to irritate. I also arrange flowers for hours on end.

    My favorite cognac is Kelt. Though I have a few others I like. Haven’t tried any German ones.
    Liz

  92. December 7th, 2005 at 4:59 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Thanks for the download. I’ll get it.
    I’m listening to the only MASS–the original. The Blue ONE.
    I am partical to Bach’s Fugues–the one’s that children like.
    It’s very cool about LB’s lap.
    Liz

  93. December 7th, 2005 at 5:00 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Are you sure you’re not my twin? :)

    Rearranging.
    One of my fave past-time activities.

    I love going out to dinner and hate (good) restaurants that don’t show some sort of creativity when it comes around to table “layouts” ;)

    Kelt is good.
    Because I live about 5km away from the French border, I have access to rare (and definitely cheaper over there) French cognacs.

    Life is good.

    P.S.: I think we’ve all but killed the original topic.

  94. December 7th, 2005 at 5:01 pm
    Yas said

    Volkher, I have the same problem – and people tend to make fun of me for it. I’m constantly redesigning websites, often completely overhauling them every month or so. I tell myself it adds character, and I certainly get satisfaction from it. Creativity is what it is, you know.

    Your comments about RSS content got me thinking, though. One certainly could limit their content to just a new post and an archive, and there’s something to be said for that simplicity.

    Wouldn’t it be neat, though, if designs stuck to posts. People may visit your site for one post and leave, but maybe next time they come back the design is different. When they dig through the archives, however, your styles are archived too. Layouts preserved. It’d be like a time capsule for your blog…

    I may have to give this some more thought and see what comes of it. I realize it’s a bit of a tangent, but your comments spurred that landslide in my mind. So, naturally, I have to post on it.

  95. December 7th, 2005 at 5:04 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    My love for music comes from my parents. I owe it all to them. My mom was a pianist and an arduous defender of “house music” (you know, the old-fashioned way … not house as in lounge, etc.). My dad was a jazz-nut (and still is).

    The moment I entered this world, I was exposed to music (Mozart, actually, although with my current mindset, Scriabin would have been a better choice).

    I gotta run and do some more work here.
    I’ll be back later, here, or on other posts.

    I like this corner of your web. :)

  96. December 7th, 2005 at 5:05 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Well, Volkher, now that you mention it, we do look a lot alike. Do you think we might have been separated at birth?

    If you read the positioning statement I wrote for this blog, I left a little room for creativity when I used the word “irreverent.” :)
    Liz

  97. December 7th, 2005 at 5:06 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Read it, will try to comment later.

    At the moment, once I’ve graded my 12th graders, I’m feelin’ the design itch. I have an idea … ;)

  98. December 7th, 2005 at 5:07 pm
    Volkher Hofmann said

    Separated?
    As in content?

    We’ve come full circle.

    And … gone …

  99. December 7th, 2005 at 5:09 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yas and Volkher,
    I know a writer who does a one page blog. It’s very clean and elegant. I have to say. But that visit and leave idea crossed my mind too. I tend to read and not look further when I’m there. I feel I’ve done my duty and can go home, rather than getting enticed by the next thing.

    my love for music comes from a strict dance teacher at 3 1/2.

    I have to go work as well.
    Ciao,
    Liz

  100. December 8th, 2005 at 6:11 am
    Alan said

    Thanks for the kind comments. This whole blogging community thing is quite new to me but I am catching up fast.

    Cheers guys,

    FF

  101. December 8th, 2005 at 7:37 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Alan,
    I do so love your Travel Dive design I go look at when I want to unwind, especially the moviing tabs down the side. I’ve seen that donew before, but ir works, particularly well in the water theme. The content is, of course, great too, but I’m a “warm water diva” as your post calls them who swims like a rock. :) So you’re definitely entertainment reading, not informational reading where I’m concerned.

    But if you have blogging questions just email me and I’ll help you find the answers.
    Liz

  102. December 8th, 2005 at 8:53 am
    Alan said

    Roan is the guy behind the cool site design (been mates since UNI) and I handle the content side of things. We have morthed into something which I have yet to find the right name for but Blogging will do fine for us.

    The 9Rules network has been great for us and we appreciate the support we have from the other network members.

    We have some really interesting concepts that are being worked on which will hopefully also provide entertaining reading and watching.

    Thanks Liz, will definitely shout you when I get lost, which is often.

    Alan

  103. December 8th, 2005 at 10:34 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Alan,
    It’s great to have met you this way. Everyone thinks so highly of your blog/morph-thing (giggle). Can’t wait to see where you take it from here.

    Happy to help you both whevener you need.
    Liz

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    Maybe it’s offtopic, but i just wanted to say, that it’s really interesting to read everything this with comments… You, discuss here a lot of interesting thing on different things =). Thanks for that =)

  107. December 14th, 2005 at 7:48 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for saying so. All of us appreciate it. Hope you’ll join the conversation.
    Liz

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