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Showing recent comments appears effective

Peter F, 17 July, 2006 0 Comments


Elsewhere around the blogsphere, I’ve been poo-pooing my own redesign
of this site. It’s not that I don’t like it per se. More that I’m not
satisfied with how it’s holding together. As I’ve explained here and
elsewhere, the purpose of this redesign was to create a framework that I
could hang various experiments on. To that extent, I’m very happy with
the site – it’s extrememly modular, and quite flexible. The UI elements –
that is to say the way the site looks – will be evolving as I
experiment with various new creations.

I’m also happy with the initial results and feedback I’ve received on
both the prominent position of the recent comments on the blog page,
and the use of javascript effects on the right-hand sidebar.

The idea of listing recent comments has always been to keep a lively
conversation going as the original post moves down the page. In order
for this to be effective though, the recent comments list has to occupy a
position that’s really front and centre. I’ve experimented with various
positions for the recent comments list on other sites, and have not
found them to be anywhere nearly as useful. If your blog would benefit
from increased interaction, I recommend trying this technique out.

I made a conscious decision not to include which post the comment is
linked to on the list. I feel that leaving the source info out adds an
element of exploration.

We’re making fairly extensive use of the moo.fx
library throughout the site. As I’ve said, I like that it adds a “whoa”
factor when users first encounter it. This adds to the likelihood that
the site will be remembered. It also allows me to include quite a bit of
content in a relatively small space. The downsides to using the effects
are relatively small: there is a 3kb hit, and a slight flash as the
script kicks in once the page is loaded. The flash is annoying – I’m not
entirely convinced I’d want to live with it forever – but can probably
be reduced by limiting the amount of data we’re forcing the page to load
prior to running the script.

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