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Why Less is More

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Jason Fried of 37 Signals is fellow traveller on a road called, Less is More. Their web-based offerings are a good example of paying attention to the needs of the end customer and how they consume. Less is More philosophy is applicable to what I do here on a daily basis. Lots of high level stuff, but then some quirky links just to make reading GigaOM fun. I have struggled with that philosophy and the design of the blog, for a very long time. Joel Johnson once accused me of changing the site design more often than he changed shirts. A few weeks ago at Blog Business Summit, I ran into Matthew Oliphant, who is one of the co-founders of Business Logs and the 9rules Network.

Like 37Signals, they are a virtual company, which conducts most of its business through cellphones, Skype and AIM. They are in geographically diverse locations, and have bootstrapped their business the old fashioned way. 9rules, to me represents the third way of building a blogging network, quite different from what Jason did and what Nick is doing. (Each approach has its own merit, and each one is different!)

Talking to Matthew, I confessed that I loved the elegant simplicity and modernity of their website, and how could I get some of that goodness. Mike Rundle was the answer. One of the most creative designers on the web, Rundle can do magic. Over the next few days, we exchanged emails, and for some odd reason, the Business Logs team decided to do a “Queer Eye for The Straight Guy” thing on GigaOM. A makeover. So here we have it. Less is more!

You see Mike’s efforts, and work of Colin D. Devroe, 9rules’ Word Press Jedi. I am not sure, how you receive the new design, but if you are in the market for some Web 2.0 goodness, I enthusiastically suggest Business Logs. I think I got many times more than what I paid. So here are a few new features, that incorporate a lot of reader feedback:

1. GigaLinks, a daily link blog, for quirky goodness about broadband, and other Internet related stuff.
2. GigaProjects, where you can find my Business 2.0 writings, links to Broadband Wiki and other stuff I am tinkering with.
3. The ads are in a separate box, so as to not confuse the readers.
4. The Google Text Ads are now going to show up on individual posts, and not on the home page.
5. The Tag Line: I cropped Om Malik’s Broadband Blog to well, Om Malik’s Blog. The tagline is reflective of the changing times.

While for last 24 months, the digital lifestyles, voip and broadband were the key issues, the focus for me personally has become the “next generation internet.” Why? Because the broadband is becoming all pervasive. Broadband, has become a platform, and it needs a new approach from me. I think it is time for the blog to reflect these changes. This doesn’t mean, the content is going to change very much. Its just going to be a bit more expansive and cover “application of broadband and related technologies.” I want to write more long, thought-provoking pieces about how it relates to all of us, and perhaps its a change that you folks would like. If not, then do let me know. I think in the end, the blog is the community, and I want you to shape the content and perhaps the future of this effort. In addition, I want to throw open the comments to what could be a viable business model for a blog like this.

Thanks and look forward to your feedback!

33 Responses to “Why Less is More”

  1. With SO many blogs using Kubrick or K2 and just changing the header, this design is refreshing and clean, I love it!

    I’m another follower of the “Less is More” philosophy. Less wasteful design, less unrequired nav’s and info. More RELEVANCE. More DIRECTION.

    It’d be nice to see the usability guru, Jakob Nielsen’s view on the site, against his recently published ’10 Mistakes of Blog Design’

  2. After playing around on the site more, the only thing I dont like is the css comment properties. When I was reading through a post with 10+ comments it is hard to define if the name above or below the comment field is ther person leaving the comment.

  3. Joel Johnson

    Fuck. Does this mean I have to change my shirt?

    (Humorously, to me, I was actually looking for a story in which to spam comment about the new-yet-again design. Imagine my delight at this very thread.)

  4. The comment above did not show what i highlighted, sorry – Instead of “Manish at October 17th….” in the comments, shouldnt it be “Manish on October 17th….”

  5. Oops, just noticed something. The line showing the time and author of the comment seems an oversight to me – “Manish Oct 17th, 2005 at 8:41 PM”. Shouldnt this be “Manish Oct 17th, ….”.

  6. Hi Om,

    I am a regular reader of your blog and I greatly appreciate your take in the broadband world. This site appeals much more to me. It is much more readable and thanks for relegating the ads to the detailed page.

    However, the color of the site appears incongruous with the nature of the content, subjects and the personality it represents. IMHO, the site presents content on the cutting edge of technology – the colors (shades of blue) appear to lag behind.

  7. peter lake

    QESG not. The previous versions have tended to feel like om has a personality. This is blando land. The logo treatment at the top gives it away. Do it again.

  8. Maybe I am missing something but why is there no easy way to navigate content (prior story, next story) both in this version and the last. I find that I have to go back and forth between my portal page and back if I want to see your last 3 stories for example. If I click archives, it seems I am forced to pick a category and not see all by date.

  9. Jacob Varghese

    That was actually a joke. I think it’s easier to imagine us all as very sexy readers than to face the reality that your blog is read mostly by four-eyed geeks.

  10. Jacob Varghese

    My only complaint is that commentors can’t post pictures of themselves by their comment. Considering Om gets to put his pic up there, it would be the only fair thing to do.

  11. Frank opinion. Too simplified. I really really liked the earlier wordpress design. I thought it was fantastic. White and very functional. The wp design had recent articles and a lot more articles fit onto the homepage. Certain stories could be highlighted to give them prominence.
    Can’t see that now in the new template. Just a tad bit underwhelmed. The header “Om Malik’s blog” needs to occupy the length of the content column. Right now its too short.
    Comments to your post are increasing as your site’s popularity increases. Is there a way to preview posts before they are posted like Cuban’s blog?

  12. One shortcoming–the comments are hard to follow. Specifically, the line that lists the comment author is centered halfway between comments, and a quick scan doesn’t make it obvious if it goes with the comment above or below. Other then that, it looks great.

  13. Dorian-

    I hear ya, this design is much cleaner than the previous one. Many readers gave feedback on the previous look saying that it was overcomplicated, difficult to read (due to a serif font used in body copy which kills readability), and generally busy, so Om wanted to make sure usability mis-steps encountered in the last one didn’t translate over to this design.

    The biggest change is that there are 2 columns now instead of 3, which definitely gives it a simpler look. We consolidated a lot of information into the right column in an effort to keep the main area visually uncluttered, and I think it does the trick.

    But then again, Om was the client and he’s satisfied… so as the designer I’m not going to argue!

    Thanks for the feedback Dorian.

  14. While I can see the intended goal of the minimalistic design was successfully implemented, I much preferred the previous incarnation.

    The site now feels too basic and visually does not represent the terrific content.

    Just my opinion.