Day 31 – So what’s next?

Today’s the last day to enter the Blog Salad $2000 Web Design Giveaway. [intlink id=”2567″ type=”page”]Click here to enter before it’s too late![/intlink] I will announce the winner via live video broadcast, here on Blog Salad, at 1:00 p.m. MST (3:00 p.m. EST) tomorrow, 1 June 2010. Also, don’t miss the WordCount Blogathon Wrap Party on Twitter, tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. MST (11:30 a.m. EST).

We’ve reached the end of the Blogathon and the end of this crowdsourced design project. Over the last 31 days, you’ve made major decisions that have affected the look of my site and the end result is completely different from anything I could have imagined without you. For example:

  • I’m not a fan of three-column, content-centered designs because they limit photo and video sizes. And I’m long-winded, so that middle column goes on and on and on. But that’s what you chose, and I’m learning to like it.
  • I listed the color option “tofu cream” as a joke. Now it’s a dominant color on the site.
  • Just as many of you want me to add a Tweetmeme badge as want me to “haiku,” whatever that means.  Still pondering that one.

It’s amazing to see the change.  Here is Blog Salad’s transformation, 31 days condensed into 33 seconds. Please pay close attention to the song’s lyrics:

(“Half Finished Project” by Trashcan Joe)

Contrary to the song’s lyrics, this half-finished project is still fun, which is good, because there’s still an astounding amount of work remaining—from my vantage point, I still can see what the digital equivalent of bare cement floors and exposed nails all over the place.

Breaking down the process this way makes me realize how complicated my job as a designer really is. For every decision that you made, I had to make three more to execute it.  And there are at least 31 more things that need to be done. It’s an endless to-do list of those little details that only matter when someone stumbles upon them.

And it’s why (even though I do believe that a free blog on Blogger or WordPress.com or Typepad.com can be just as successful as a self-hosted site) I’m more proud today of what I do for a living than I was 31 days ago. So, sincerely, thank you for helping me confirm my professional purpose.

But, as the Trashcan Joe also suggested, this project is “getting in the way of something else I started up today.”  What’s that something else?

Well, frankly, I don’t know.

Why not?  Because Blog Salad doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you.

Today marks the beginning of a new project for Blog Salad—giving all of you (or most of you) what you want and need from this site.  But I can’t decide that for you.  So, for my last poll of the Blogathon, I humbly ask you the following questions:

  • What has Blog Salad become to you?
  • What kept you coming back here so often?
  • What can Blog Salad do for you in the future?

Please leave your answers and comments below.  It’s been fun; again, thank you. I look forward to where we’ll go together next.

7 responses to “Day 31 – So what’s next?”

  1. Alexandra Grabbe

    1.) a fun place to go on the Web, entertainment?
    2.) the unexpected, coupled with competence and professionalism, and also the chance to participate
    3.) not sure, but I will continue to check back and would certainly hire you in a minute if the need presented itself …

    Thanks!

  2. Jackie Dishner

    Blog Salad became an addiction to me. I wanted to check in daily to see what new poll you’d put up. Then one day you didn’t. Horrors! You fixed that right away. So then I realized this project for you was a lot of detail work. It also made me realize the importance of BALANCE. You can’t be all things to all people.

    I also learned some basics about how important interaction is to keep and maintain a steady readership, and that it needs to vary from time to time; therefore, I need to make a more concerted effort on my own blog to add the following:

    _Video that entertains or enlightens. (Still have to learn that skill)

    _More than one occasional poll to solicit input from readers about what they need to keep coming back.

    _A better design (Ha-ha! Hire Ron???)

    This was such a fun experience, so creative. But now I expect you to take back your own space and make it yours again. That will keep me coming back–to see what the next transformation looks like.

  3. Sara

    * What has Blog Salad become to you?

    Your blog is a place I go to learn about and for creative inspiration. I can’t get over what a good idea this was.

    * What kept you coming back here so often?
    Your regular Twitter updates reminded me to visit:)

    * What can Blog Salad do for you in the future?
    Maybe a recap of all the polls from the month and your opinion on the results. Am interested to see the difference side by side.

  4. Kristie Sloan

    Thanks for the month, Ron!

    What has Blog Salad become to you?
    A place to visit almost daily to see what is going on.

    What kept you coming back here so often?
    The interactions and comments, AND seeing what the polls led you to do. I also enjoyed learning some of the finer points of blog design such as putting RSS feeds at the top of the page. Interesting how simple things can just escape our thought process.

    What can Blog Salad do for you in the future?
    I like the recap idea, and have you give your thoughts as to what you would have decided on your own, and why. It may give us some other insights!

    I really understand your thoughts on 3-columns! Again, thanks!

    Also, I’ll be a good sport and wish everyone the best in the drawing!

  5. landguppy

    1. I learned something. Certain words no long sound like buzz buzz buzz in my brain. They tell me that learning things as you age can stave off Alzheimer’s. So, there’s that.
    2. I’m your stalker!
    3. Be snarky and funny and educational.

    Gracias.

  6. Su-sieee! Mac

    • What has Blog Salad become to you?

    A place to learn technical stuff in words I can understand.

    • What kept you coming back here so often?

    Your blog is one of the few that I read almost every day of the blogathon, once I came across it. The fact that you acknowledged my questions on the blog, which I think was really nice of you, didn’t play into my becoming a fan. I kept coming back to find out what new neat stuff I was going to learn, to see what came next in your designing mind, and to just plain read you cause you’re so entertaining, honest, and fresh.

    • What can Blog Salad do for you in the future?

    Just as it is now. A very, basic and easy-to-understand reference about blog design.

    I really appreciate all your work and effort these past 31 days, Ron. Thank you.

  7. beyondwords | a blog for professional writers, editors, and designers » Blog Archive » An experiment in crowdsourced web design

    […] Doyle—freelance writer, web designer, and author of Blog Salad—let his readers vote on different elements of his blog’s design. Yes, I know, my blog […]

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