Everybody loves widgets – they’re everywhere. They’re on “Ajax homepages”, like Netvibes, Google, Live.com, on my OSX Dashboard and on the new Windows Vista Sidebar – everywhere, really. Now, they’re starting to invade our blogs too, and the question is: when is it going to stop?
Content first, please
Widgets give you one thing and one thing only (at least so far): little bits of useful information. Now, useful information is exactly that, useful, but usually (most of the time, I hope) not as important as content. That’s why the OSX Dashboard hides widgets away so you only see them when you need them.
Let’s put it this way: what’s really important to your readers? Is it what you write on your blog, or is it the last tracks you’ve heard on Last.fm, or maybe the time in San Francisco in a beautiful stylized watch, or webcam widgets showing 5th avenue (everybody loves those) or, let’s go all the way with this, what about a streaming music player? – I bet everyone would love that.
The fact is, nobody really cares about anything but your content – and truth be told, thats good: it means you write, and people read. So what is the point of having weblogs look like christmas trees if that only annoys the hell out of people, makes page loading a pain in the butt, and confuses the eyes to a point where they scream at the brain: “Find the feed URL and lets get out of here, now!”.
Well, Christmas is coming, right?
The “blog as christmas tree” is the metaphor I came up with for the widgetification of weblogs and websites. People cram everything they can into layouts, like they were decorating a christmas tree. There is one very important thought here, though: in a christmas tree, the focus is the tree, whereas on your blog, the focus is your content, not your recent searches, your google ads, your shopping list or your 50 album recommendations. Remember when people visit blogs like this, their brain screams “get out, just get out now!”.
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