Website Design: Clean and Crisp ... Or Too Minimalist? → Washingtons Blog
Website Design: Clean and Crisp ... Or Too Minimalist? - Washingtons Blog

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Website Design: Clean and Crisp ... Or Too Minimalist?

Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for help with website re-design and SEO. I've received for assistance from some very cool people.

We here at Washington's Blog have the collective web design skills of a single blind mole. So when we received conflicting design advice, we thought we better get some input from your, our loyal readers.


One person said the site is "too minimalist" and "too monochromatic":

The big design critique I would have with your current design is not only that it is perhaps too overly minimalistic, but it is also monochromatic. In spite of enjoying your blog, I have a hard time following some of the entries due to a lack of use of headers throughout the content to help break up the content and that everything is largely closely the same color ... If we add subheaders to your content and have them be a color that is slightly different than the content I think it will look much better ...
Another said:

No matter what, please keep the site looking as clean and crisp as it does now.

Please let us if you think the site is "clean and crisp" or "too minimalist" and "too monochromatic".

And while you're at it, let us know if you think the site should change over to more of a news site with links to other people's articles and a few original posts, or stay primarily with original content.


  1. I like your content, as is. Not against adding a news feed, but the original content with great links is the real draw. the web design works for me. That's two cents worth. keep up the great work!

  2. I like the way the site is now. The only problem I have is knowing I read something specific and not being able to locate it in the archives. If there is a search option, it should be more prevalent. Also, with the option to narrow by date and whatnot.

    Other than that, there's a saying about fixing what ain't broke. I can't remember the exact quote, though. I'll have to search for it...

  3. I wouldn't mind seeing a news component as a Sidebar, much like your twitter feed currently displays. I am satisfied having the original content be pretty 'front and center' as it currently is, however.

    As far as monochromatic versus minimalist design beef might be resolved, I'd just change the main background color of the site while keeping a high contrast color scheme (black and white or vice versa) for the content you want people to read. That would really only change one thing, but would certainly bring enough color to the site.

    I think you'll find most news sites do this, regardless of their complexity or minimalism.

  4. Hi GW, I recommend getting a server that supports Wordpress. Wordpress is an interface, similar to Blogspot but much more customizable. You can install any number of pretty themes. It is very easy to use once setup and you will only need an internet connection to blog.

    Or you can use the blogspot theme I currently have. I think it looks pretty good and goes well with the founding fathers theme :)

  5. Please, please, PLEASE don't mix the original content with a news feed - it would be much harder to focus on what's new and not browse through the same content seen on another 100 websites.
    Thanks, Claudiu

  6. The site background is white, which is a bit painful on the eyes. Maybe there should be an option to change the background to a dark or beige color.

  7. Time to rearrange deckchairs?

    REALLY? You yanks are so milquetoast!

  8. I agree with Joe, I would love to see the site with a more general search ability and maybe splitting the articles into separate categories as well. (9/11 - banking - science/tech etc.)
    Personally I very much like the way has his blog laid out.
    Other than that, keep up the fantastic work!

  9. I would add my vote to "less is better." Usually I visit using a plain text browser (Lynx, Elinks, etc.). Otherwise, I typically turn off JavaScript because I want to read, not be distracted by moving images. There are already enough aggregators, but adding authors for this blog should be an internal matter. Thank you most of all for the unique and well-researched content.

  10. It's fine. I come here for information, not pretty graphics. Only stupid people complain about sites being too plain. Leave it alone. It wasn't broken, so don't fix it. Don't go "Netflixing" your site.

  11. I like the content as is - I can get a news feed elsewhere, and personally would prefer not to see what you post get diluted.

    I prefer minimal, though I can see the value in the addition of something to break up the page a bit more visually. My advice would be to keep that simple as well - perhaps tie it into categorization by adding color coded Category tags: similar to the Google 'join this site' button, or the headers to your widgets. Just above the headline, same line as the date, and right aligned - lets someone scroll down the page and instantly spot posts on Finance or Politics, or... whatever they are most interested in.

  12. I have the web design skills of half a blind mole, but:

    1) Every click opens a new window (or tab). That's kind of annoying to me.

    2) The site is totally unreadable on my iPhone.

    3) A little more branding/decoration probably wouldn't hurt.

    Please don't mix other news content. On some of my favorite sites, I routinely have to skip so many articles that I probably miss a few. The reasons I skip an article are:

    A) It's an article I've already read.

    B) It extensively draws upon an article I've already read, often without proper sourcing.

    C) It's from a source that I don't consider credible.

    D) It's an article I've already read.

  13. I probably read 500 pages a day. Minimalist webpages are easier to read.

    Readability AND SEO are greatly enhanced if articles contain h3 sub-headers; like a table of contents, the reader can see where you are going, and the search engines can see what the article is about. Make headings stand out from the text and include article keywords.

  14. This site detail posts are totally unreadable on my android. Does not comply with webkit based browsers on phones.

  15. The individual posts are totally unreadable on my android. Does not comply with webkit based browsers on phones.

  16. is a good place to start and is super easy to install.

  17. The search option and an organization to the stories or a way to find ones previously read or on specific topics is a huge deal for me.

    The content is great, and that's the primary thing as far as I'm concerned.

    How pretty it is means little or nothing to me, though an organization of the content making it easy to browse is very important.

    One glitch in this current system is the "captcha" when trying to post a comment. I only noticed it by accident the first time. I thought I had posted and figured it was just sent for review. I easily could have closed the tab/window at that point, but for some reason I scrolled down some and realized it had not been submitted at all, even though I had already hit the "Post Comment" button and it seemed to refresh.

    This is my second post and the same thing happened again. This time I knew to scroll down and look for the Captcha, though.

    That seems to be a significant flaw in the system from my point of view.

  18. Your post is saying right because the site is always clean and crisp. Designing is overall only easy to read and understandable for customer.


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