A while back, the good folks at Skype did a thorough redesign of their blog. They moved the blogs to the "blogs.skype.com" domain and created a nice portal page that shows blog posts across all their various blogs. That portal page easily lets you see the "top stories".
They added in some great pictures of their primary bloggers. They spent some time just refreshing the overall artwork.
All in all the blog site looks great and the redesign was, to me, very nicely done.
While the form may be quite pleasing, the function is unfortunately not.
Here's the problem... from the "blogs.skype.com" portal, you can easily get an overall sense of what is being written across all Skype blogs and can visit posts you want to read. However, within a single blog (like this one) you see only a single post followed by this lovely link:
Yes, indeed, there is no way to quickly browse through the contents of a single blog! Instead you have to view each post individually and step through them one-by-one. That may be fine if someone has the time to go through and sit there scrolling down and then waiting for pages to load. But if you just want a quick view of what they are writing about... it's a mind-numbingly slow process.
For instance, I recently wanted to know what was new with the Skype client for Linux (not much, it turns out), so I went to the Skype Linux blog to learn more. The first post was quick and I could easily scroll down and click the "Old articles" link. The second post has 182 comments - and ALL comments are displayed! Given that the "Old articles" link ONLY appears at the bottom of a post, I had to scroll all the way down to the bottom to go back to the previous post.
If I were Skype (and I have no affiliation with them beyond being a very active Skype user), I would encourage them to:
- Provide a way to see recent posts for a blog - Either display the posts on the main blog page in full form or as abstracts - or at the very least provide a widget or box that lists titles of recent posts, allowing someone to jump to a post based on the title.
- Provide navigation on the TOP of posts - Forgetting about the issue with seeing all recent posts, if I am reading any blog post and want to go to the previous or next post, it's annoying to have to scroll all the way to the bottom. (And yes, my blog (this one) goes the other direction in only having nav links at the top, which is fine for browsing but kind of annoying if you've scrolled all the way to the bottom. I personally like blogs to have both links at the top and bottom.)
- Consider not displaying the comments - If they left the blog as it is, I would at least not display comments by default. I personally like the display of comments by default... but if you have to scroll all the way down to see the navigation link, it can be a bit of a pain. I would not display them - as they seem to already do for the first post on each blog - and let people click the "Comments" link if they want to view them all.
What would you suggest? How could Skype make the navigation better?
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