Saturday, January 24, 2009

Useful blogger gadgets: Increased useability?

I thought I'd share some of the changes I've made to improve useability and utility of the blog and solicit input on whether people like the changes and what else they'd like to see.


In the last few weeks I've made a number of changes to the look and feel of the blog:
  • increased the width so more information is displayed on the same page.
  • removed a lot of widgets that just didn't seem that great
  • relabelled a lot of the posts to make sure they were relevant to categories
  • rearranged the remaining widgets
  • added a label cloud showing the labels by frequency of use (you can click on it to jump to the articles that use that label).
  • added quick bookmarking links below each post so people can bookmark and discuss the post easily. This seems to have a small bug where the mouseover text doesn't match the graphic in two of the cases.
  • added Adsense advertising (I felt it was time to understand the dynamics of this)
  • added a related post function to quickly see related posts below each post. This isn't quite as tidy as I'd like it to be but I haven't found a better implementation anywhere yet.
  • added a Ask a question/Comments link to allow people to ask questions that don't seem to fit against any particular post and make general comments about the blog or what they'd like to see. 
  • the recent comments section seems to only work intermittently for me. If only Blogger produced an official widget for related posts and recent comments.
  • modified the subscription widget to allow for subscription to the blog but also separately to comments made on the blog.
Useability Research

Is anyone aware of any research on what tools end users find useful on a blog eg search, recent posts, recent comments, directory listing, label clouds, related posts? I fear there is a lot of received wisdom on what people are after but no in depth study that reveals best practice. Also, am interested in any comments you have about these widgets/tools.

Tools for Blogger

There are lots of places you can go to find add on tools for Blogger. Here are some of them I've found useful:
Perhaps you are using Blogger for your own doctor/physician/health professional blog. If so, feel free to drop me a comment. I'd be interested to see how you are using it.


Don't forget you can subscribe to the blog and read it in a RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines where you can also subscribe to news feeds so the news comes to you rather than you having to go to it. Or if you prefer you can receive new posts via email (see below each individual post - except that appearing on the main page).

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