Change is good

After finishing the News U course from this week, I learned that my blog might not be as appealing or effective for my users as I thought it was. I liked how it looked before, but I understand why changes need to happen.

1. More visuals:


I realized that I can rant about the same thing for a while, rewording it in a million different ways- beating around the bush, if you will. I learned that it’s important to include enough visuals to keep my readers entertained and moving about the page. In fact, News U specifically said, “it’s important to help users visually navigate a page.” This is so true. I tried to sprinkle an image within each blog post, but sometimes that isn’t enough. A random user might happen upon my blog, immediately look at the picture, read a sentence or two, and carry on to the next site. What I need is a little more multimedia, if I can find the right stuff to accompany my posts. A variety of images could become overwhelming, since I’m only posting once a week on one specific topic, however. I think a great way of moving a user’s eyes down the page is to simply switch up font size, color, boldness, etc. Obviously not too much, but j u s t enough to make someone move onto the next item.

2. Identify audience: I needed to figure out what my audience wants. Why are you visiting my blog? I came up with two possibilities:

  • You are here because you have to be here, for the sake of your grade in Journalism 347. My posts should be interesting enough to an audience my age, with plenty of graphics, a touch of humor and a short-and-to-the-point structure. Since a professor is visiting weekly, I must also keep my posts relevant and intelligent. It’s all about balance.
  • You are here because you are genuinely interested in what I’ve discovered in recent weeks. Probably not as likely, since my blog thus far is pretty sparse, but a girl can dream, can’t she? If this is the case, I need to remain at least a little professional and clearly define a hierarchy of audience wants/needs. Including hot topics from my Feedly sources, rather than things only I am interested in might be an effective way to hold my audience’s attention.

I determined that the latter is less likely, so from here on out, I plan on molding my blog to fit the wants/needs of my audience who has to visit… aka, you guys.

3. Chunking: Breaking up stories into separate pieces is effective for audience engagement. It allows users to locate and read what they want, based on their idea of what is most interesting or important. I tried utilizing this technique in this post by numbering, providing lists and highlighting subheadings. I found a great page that delves a little deeper into the effectiveness of chunking and how to properly carry out the technique. Click here to read more.

4. Theme: The last thing I did was change the overall appearance of my blog. Before, it was a muted, pastel and fair grey color scheme, with really small font. I liked the minimalist look, but I opted for a different color palette, with more contrast between the text and the background. With this new theme, the text size is also larger, making it more readable.

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