Archive for TypePad

Divorce? True Confessions

I've re-discovered WordPress and fallen in love with it.

We dated back in the mid-90s for a while when it was a sexy but high maintanence option, and I ultimately decided to go with the security and stability of TypePad, who I've been married to now for many years. We've been quite happy (Beauty Dialogues is built on the TypePad blog engine), but I have to confess that lately I've been thinking about leaving…

My newer sites are all going up in WordPress and I'm excited by the visual range and incredible functionality it offers. Even sexier after all these years, WordPress is challenging me to learn more and be a better designer and coder. If it weren't for the children – my clients – I'd probably be gone already, but TypePad makes things very easy for the casual user and I don't want anyone else to suffer for my pleasure.

The truth is I do still love TypePad. It does many things simply and easily (color and font changes, image sizing, borders, margins, etc.) that can take complicated coaxing out of WordPress. All kinds of functionality (like great SEO – search engine optimization) that require bandwidth-hogging plug-ins in WordPress is automatically built into TypePad. And it's a well-known, admitted, fact that WordPress' image-handling process sucks.

But WordPress is working on these things and it's still growing and improving daily, whereas I'm afraid TypePad doesn't really seem to care much anymore. The TypePad affiliate program has never worked for me and the joy of being a TypePad user has diminished greatly ever since Say Media bought the parent company Six Apart from founders Ben and Mena Trott a couple of years ago now.

Hey. People change. Things move on. But I'm the loyal type and have a lot invested in TypePad, including a whole lot of children to care for and consider.

Ah, but WordPress… I can't resist your lure. Maybe polyamory is a better fit for me anyway.

The Power of Simple Design

One of the reason I choose to use TypePad is their obvious care for beauty – from the viewpoint of a designer it is very easy to make a beautiful blog with this software, and from a user’s standpoint, the interface has a refreshing clarity and ease.

Even their website was clean and beautiful – and I say was even though
it’s still far better than most, but I must admit I prefer the old
design. I loved the evocative image of an orange among apples and the featured
blog right up there on top – as a TypePad blogger, it made me feel I
could be "discovered" at any moment. Now that piece is much further down the
page, "below the fold" under some standard promotional copy that gets
VERY old when you see it every day.

But to my eye, the winner of the online design prize goes to Google.
The ultimate in elegant simplicity, what else could a weary-eyed
designer like myself, visually exhausted by the crowded excesses of the web, possibly prefer for my browser’s home page?

Even now with all the bells and whistles I’ve added to Google suite – GMail and Blogger, Google
Analytics, Google Calendars and widgets that show daylight patterns
across the world – they tuck away nicely in tabs, preserving that clean open search
page design. I love the relief of its white space and never get tired of the
classic logo, kept fresh and surprising by the variety of seasonal
decoration (although today’s depiction of Lego’s 50th anniversary makes
me suspect they’re accepting product placement payments, and that
tends to make them less attractive).

What delights your eye? Any favorite examples of online design to share?