Please Help Me Improve Your Visit to Design Sojourn?

Something I love to do is receive emails suggestions or get feedback from all my readers on how I can better tailor your experience when you visit Design Sojourn. However what I have not done is actually turn it into a formal exercise to improve my blog. So here is it, a no hold barred open invitation to critique anything and everything to do with design sojourn, both good and bad!
Please do tell me what you like or dislike about Design Sojourn’s posts, content, writing style, blog design, or just about anything at all? Hate a widget I use, missing your favourite bookmarklet, or my ugly mug turning you off from visiting, I need to know!
Not only that I do have a few ideas already on blog improvement that I would like your feedback as well?
1) Post frequency
Currently I try my best to post 3-4 times a week. Occasionally due to work or travel commitments it drops. Some time ago a few of my readers told me that they appreciate I don’t post daily as they are just as busy as I am and prefer a slower post frequency so that they can keep up. As a reflection to this trend, I have kept the most recent 3 posts as a full post presentation on the website. What do you think? Is this something you find logical to you?
2) Content
What I plan to do is to try to post 1 heavy duty design article a week (i.e. more than 3 paragraphs), and 2-3 short blurbs (1-2 paragraphs) on the design industry as I see it. Content will generally revolve around 2 major themes, the first is how best can a designer do what he/she does, and secondly design management and entrepreneurial aspects of a design business. Sometimes I will cover better blogging techniques, as well as you might get the occasional rant! So how do you find the content so far? To much Apple ranting perhaps?
What about content you might like to see more off? More designing tips, design business analysis, or design trends? Please let me know?
3) New Content: Meta Design
With point 2 being said, I like to develop the Meta Design section at Design Sojourn. Every week, once a week we will post interesting links and quotes to design articles, products and techniques. My plan is to give loyal Design Sojourn readers some extra value by pointing them to other content that might be valuable to them.
I was originally planning to post the latest in the Industrial design of cool products. But I realised that this is pointless as there are many sites that already do a great job, and for me to do so would just be regurgitating what they have, as many of my readers would frequent these same sites as I would.
4) New Content: Reader Questions
One thing that I also like to receive is emails from readers that need help with their burning design questions! (I have not forgotten about you Fred!) So I thought it might be logical, with the permission of the person that sent the email, to post their questions on Design Sojourn as a means to help others that also might have that same question or problem.
5) Site load times and site access
Finally the last question I need feedback with. I have also been cleaning up this site by removing unnecessary javascript or objects that could slow down site and server load times. So I like to know if you have been experiencing site access problems recently? The other thing is I suspect that my server host is not very good, so I am also doing a study on the frequency of the lack of server access or site not found messages as well.
That’s about it dear reader, so give it to me straight and don’t hold back the punches! Thanks in advance and have a great weekend ahead.

  • Design Translator

    August 13, 2007 at 10:21 am Reply

    Hi Daria,
    Thank alot for the feedback I really appreciate it. Looks like that categories is a recurring theme. I need to work on that.
    Its funny when I was working with the blog designer on this blog’s layout, I never considered people consider categories as a glossary or a table of contents/chapters.
    Hmm some things to think about.

  • Daria Black

    August 13, 2007 at 1:13 am Reply

    I believe the content should be the focal point of a site so I like the set up. I agree with David that the categories could be made more obvious.
    Frequent posting is overrated and I think SEO “experts” are doing readers a disservice by circulating this mode of thinking. The fact is people do have lives offline and it is daunting to leave a site for a few days only to come back to a 100 posts waiting to be read. So I think 3-4 posts a week is great.
    I think the reader questions is a great idea. I think that will definitely increase participation in your blog.
    I think the Adsense is done tastefully. I don’t mind ads on blogs but I do mind when they are in your face or disrupt the content.
    The blog loaded up just fine for me and I was able to navigate around with no problems. I would say, though, that I think you need a little bit more color but that is my personal preference.

  • Design Translator

    August 11, 2007 at 11:45 am Reply

    Hi Drew,
    You are tough! Heh-heh, but load times are a concern to me and I will do my best to keep the load times short.
    Also thanks for the great suggestion on the content and the design process of my past projects. They are good ones and I’ll see if I can get something going on that. The conversations with engineers, sales, and marketing also make great post ideas.
    The Unp3 players are on the way! So sorry I had been tied up with trips and work. But you are right, if I have a regular feature like the Unp3 project I should keep it going and provide updates for my readers.
    Well looks like reader’s questions gets a tick of approval so do stay tune for more of such content.
    Thanks for your feedback and please keep in touch.

  • Design Translator

    August 11, 2007 at 11:33 am Reply

    Hi David,
    Thanks for taking the time to give me your feedback. I appreciate it!
    The bottom of the page is the sort of the “more about me” section. The portfolio information is there actually for information and reputation but not for selling services. Also I blog at this site under a pseudonym, as the blog has no connection to my employer.
    However it is not too difficult to find out who I am in real life, so I may drop the pseudonym some day. I actually have another portfolio website that’s open to personal contacts. So its not too important to have my portfolio up top.
    You are right about the Adsense thus its my personal policy not to put ads within posts. But as the ads positions are not optimized perhaps it makes sense to drop it as the ad revenue is actually very low, and if it helps improve reader experience.
    Thanks for the suggestion on the categories. Let me take a look at it.

  • drewkora

    August 11, 2007 at 1:51 am Reply

    1) Post frequency: Perfect amount of content for me. I prefer quality over quantity.
    2) Content so far is great. I’d love even more insight on working with other designers and/or managing a team’s creative direction. It would also be cool to see some multi-part articles about projects you, you’re team, or colleagues are working on (past or present)…show us progression from initial sketches to the finished project on the shelf. Talk about your conversations and interactios with engineers, marketing people, graphic designers, executives, etc. It would be cool to follow something over the course of an entire year as you work on it. Of course, some stuff you might not be able to show until you’re all done with it, in which case you’d have to write the articles and save them for when the info is declassified.
    …And where the heck are the Un-p3 players? If you don’t finish them soon, you’re going to force me to give money to your friends at Apple for an iPod Shuffle.
    3) This sounds great. ; )
    4) I dig it. Let the users generate the content.
    5) I have slow load times frequently at work (big corporate uplink of some sort) and home (fiber optic). Nothing too bad, but longer then you’d expect from a mostly-text website. Once in awhile the site doesn’t work at all…in a great while. Fix it or I’m outta here.

  • David Airey :: Graphic Designer

    August 11, 2007 at 12:05 am Reply

    Your design / layout all depends on your blog goals. What do you want from Design Sojourn? Is it to promote you and your skills, similar to my site?
    If so, bump your portfolio up top, rather than at the bottom. I’d prefer if there was no AdSense, personally, as I think it detracts from a site design (especially for designers).
    No load time problems for me, so good job on that front.
    I’d also like to see your categories displayed more prominently. It gives readers a quick snapshot of what you write about, which always helps.
    A bit rushed for time but hopefully that gives you one or two things to think about?

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