Here are some designs and thoughts around the new look 24.com blog platform. The designs are by Philip Langley, with Alistair Fairweather in the driving seat.

24 blogs blogs 24

blogs24

Our musings:
1. Less 24.com, more individual blogger. More blog-like :-)
2. More viral, using contact and social network mining. Help bloggers build audience.
3. Rigid templates for best practice, yet open to allow personal expression.
4. New blog domain and identity or not?
5. More domain flexibility and identity for bloggers.
6. New adspots, with diy adserving?
7. Open widget area for third party developers.
8. It’s “user generated content” so why just look at a local market? What’s a border when it comes to the internet?
9. WordPress MU (hacked by us) or stay with and build on current platform?

Thoughts, comments, criticisms?

8 Responses to “Musings: The 24.com blogs revamp”
  1. this is a great article. thank you

  2. @chris — yeah got many a complaint :-) I’m behaving like big media LOL. the main reason is that I am a serial, OCD editor…i edit and change posts constantly…and the first, full RSS version is like the old, incomplete version. Prefer to have only one, latest perfect post version on my site. I can’t blog any other way. It’s a mixture of impatience and being a perfectionist.

    @Darb — We’re having this debate, and it’s ongoing. FOR: There is already an investment in technology which is basic, but works and is a foundation for growth. We can also easily take it to the next level by redesigning and adding new features, because we have the foundation. AGAINST: At the same time I have an intrinsic bias towards open source applications, especially WordPress, which i am a huge fan of and have had quite a bit of success previously with. Ive had experience with wordpress MU and SU for corporate projects, and MU has well-known scale problems due to complex table structures. There are also security concerns and spam issues… however none of these are insurmountable and in recent days I’ve found some new answers. So let’s just say I see both sides of the coin.

    @nic — it’s there.

    @Andries — you’re not a lone voice. I can’t stand it either: http://www.matthewbuckland.com/?p=516

    @Alistair — nothing like debating this in public :-)

  3. @Darb and @Andries
    Of course I’m sorely tempted to chuck it in and go with MU or Drupal – it’s just so cool and slick and generally awesome – but I’m resisting it for 3 important reasons:

    1. We have a bespoke single-sign-in system called RAP that is intimately tied into all of our products. We’re not simply going to throw it away – it works and works well – and integrating into MU or Drupal would be nearly as much work as improving our own platform.

    2. Short term lead times are tempting, but the long term flexibility our own platform would give us will prove invaluable – I know it will. I’m willing to bite the bullet while we catch up to MU, rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    3. Our audience is uncommonly sensitive and technophobic. We need to evolve our platform gradually or there’s a real risk of scaring a huge chunk of them away. We don’t want to baby them any more, but we do need to do things gradually. There’s no way most noobs will jump straight into MU or Drupal and “get” it – trust me I’ve initiated my own mother into blogging on WordPress and she phones me weekly to ask the same questions again and again. If you think this is nonsense, I submit that you’ve forgotten just how much of a mental block most people over 35 still have about computers – and well over 50% of my audience is over 35.

  4. The design has always been the only reason why I steered clear of 24.com blogs – my feel is: if doesn’t look “like a blog” it won’t be used as a “blog”.

    I’m with Darb on the inhouse vs. MU issue – I think it will add a lot to your offering by hacking into MU. I know I’m a lone voice, but I simply cannot stand Drupal.

  5. Hey Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dense… but is there navigation somewhere? About author, links, etc etc etc?

  6. Sjoe. Might even fire up the old 24.com blog. Naah. Who am I kidding. I’ve barely got time for the ones I’ve got. *sigh*

    Nice work Buckland :)

  7. Building on top of an existing solution should always trump maintaining a product like that in-house, unless it is your core focus, and you are trying to push boundaries in the blogging space. Moving over to MU or Drupal would lower lead times substantially, and allow you to more readily leverage outsourced development, and find developers capable of maintaining it (because now you are looking for developers who have experience with a widely used platform, instead of ‘are you able to dive into our grotty code and hack together some solutions’)

    Building on top of one of those existing products (even if heavily customised) is going to help you jump on whatever the fancy of the day is, because you can re-use modules etc. that are in the wild.

    But I think you know this all already :p

  8. love it dear chap, looks so much better. Congrats.

    p.s. cant you enable full post view for your rss feeds as is a hassle for me to always have to open your site (well not a big hassle but it takes more time so often i just flip past)

    Cheers,

    Chris

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