Emerging Trends in Blog Design
The past 12 months has seen the rise of the VC-backed behemoth that is Medium, for better or for worse. When I was first invited to write for Medium I was very, very excited. It's still, to all intents and purposes, a closed community. It feels curated (stress on the feels), high-quality and is aesthetically beautiful. It's also bogus. What was pitched to us as a content discovery platform almost entirely lacks useful content discovery tools, and the same sorts of features make it to the front page over and over.
Where Medium excels, and where it's been useful, is in its design and UX from a writer's standpoint. The backend is simple to use, uncomplicated,and puts the attention back where it needs to be - on tools that make writing the focus of everything you do. Easily-accessed drafts and notes, distraction-free (more or less) writing environments, bold but beautiful typography and a cleanness in theme that hasn't been on-trend in quite some years.
Quite a few developers have taken this idea and run with it. I very publicly backed Ghost, and I think that long-term it'll be a great platform - it's just not quite there yet. Implementation is really complicated for the average person, troubleshooting installation is equally difficult and, although satisfying in its writing experience, the end product is still too bug-riddled to be a viable solution. I know it's still in Alpha, but I expected a little more from the team behind it considering the product's been in development for over 6 months with significant Kickstarter funding.
Then I came across Silvrback, I think via Hacker News. It was everything I wanted from Medium and Ghost, and hosted, and easy, and just...everything. This morning's my first experience of it and I've managed to bang out 500 words before I've even finished my first cup of coffee. I've not had to configure a plugin, update a theme, troubleshoot an upload issue...it's a beautiful thing. I love this product. I think I'll be very happy here.
Is WordPress dead? For blogging, I think quite possibly. As the tools for writers develop more and more, I keep hearing that what we want most from our blogging platforms is the blog, and not the bells and whistles. Give me a page, my social links, maybe Google Analytics and let me do my thing. WordPress as a CMS will be around for a long time - it's too ingrained in the web to disappear - but its days as the go-to platform for the blogosphere are most assuredly numbered.
Scouse Ad-Man and Web Developer. Likes Tinkering. Dislikes Tinkers.