Blogger facelift

Blogger.com got its first major facelift in four years, and I like the new look. I also like the new profile pages. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the new MovableType-esque posting interface. What I liked about Blogger was that you could see all of your posts in context, much the way you see it in your weblog. Taking the messiness out of posts by showing the last five as a list with just the title is something I've never liked about MT. I'm not sure the post-listing style interface makes weblogs easier for people new to blogging. (Where did my words go?) Also, homogenizing weblog tools so the interfaces are exactly the same (well, similar) isn't a step forward either.

Weblog tools haven't really innovated on the posting interface side. Blogger and TypePad have worked to make the interfaces solidified in 2001 drop-dead simple, but there hasn't been anything new there. Why no post filters like gmail filters? Why no "post templates" that could define different types of posts? Why no web services-style integration with other applications to pull in data from other sources?

Don't get me wrong—I think the new Blogger design looks good, I'm just disappointed that there hasn't been more innovation on the tech side of weblog tool interfaces.

Comments

We're laying the groundwork for this in WordPress with custom fields, post types, sub-posts, and sub-categories. The basic framework is in the upcoming 1.2 release, but the real growth will come after 1.2 has been adopted. If you have ideas in this space you'd like to see implemented, please get in touch with me.
pb -- i think it's all about target market and focus. the features you're talking about are more likely to end up in a tool targeted at the "prosumer" blogging market, and then eventually filter their way to the tools targeted at the new blogger market.

that, and i think there needs to be a shift in the mental model re. "posts," from a string to a collection of one or more objects (text, sure -- but also photos, movies, music, audio, links, friends, auctions, etc...). that's not an easy UI problem to solve, and i think that it will come in bits and pieces over time...
That makes sense, Micahel, and innovations like the ones I'm talking about may need to happen in tools that don't have such a large base of users. (Maybe WordPress?)

But have you tried the post search within the new Blogger? Searching posts isn't a power-user feature, and it's still not great in weblog tools. Say you search for "key lime pie" so you can find all of the posts where you talk about that. The search results page in Blogger shows the post titles of those posts that have "key lime pie" somewhere in the text. That's pretty poor for a search company. At least you want to see some of the post text surrounding the phrase for context...just like a Google search. At most you want the entire post, the permalink to that post, and the phrase you searched for highlighted. The old Blogger interface showed the entire post in the search results, and I feel like this new interface is a step backward for this basic feature.
you're right on about the search functionality within blogger. i'd personally vote for a replica of the search functionality within gmail, which returns messages that match, and then when you open those messages displays the search terms highlighted in context.

(the downside of the gmail search is that it returns results by date instead of by relevance. it's beta...)

you've gotta believe that they're working on something that will also improve "search this blog" on the published blog side as well...
yep, and a "search all blogs" that returns results at the post level, I hope.
It's the same thing with Internet browsers -- depsite all of the talk of innovation at Opera and Mozilla, the browser has pretty much stood still for the past 5 years. I guess once you do the initial innovation -- small chanegs to the interface aren't so sexy anymore.

On the other hand, if there was demand for all of the stuff in your post, you would figure that someone would have made a "blog" product that does all of that stuff. There's a bit of supply and demand in everything.
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