Breaking Out of The Bubble.

Yellow_Submarine_(1968)_avi_-_00008Many of you have honored these pages with your visits, comments and likes. I’m grateful for your support, and hope that my efforts will continue to merit your attention, as I strive to publish content of value. This blog has been slowly accumulating followers, and as far as I can tell, attrition has been very small; about one percent over nearly two years.

In the coming months, I hope to publish several more blogs, each with a different focus. It’s difficult to work out the right balance between blogging, developing my first novel in various editions, and maintaining the momentum of writing my second novel. I welcome your patience, as I diversify my writing portfolio.

I’m also following about 100 blogs, which I think is my limit. When I follow a blog, it means I like to pay personal page visits, to read additional essays by the blogger, join conversations, follow interesting external links, and explore other past content (“back issues,” so to speak). So, it can take me a month or more to work my way through my list.

There are some difficulties with the way the system is presently constituted. Our blog host offers a great many attractive formatting themes, but not all of them are reader-friendly. For example, some backgrounds don’t provide enough contrast, and a while a black background can make a dramatic presentation, especially for photos, that’s not necessarily true for text, especially if the font is small and sans-serif (lacking those little flourishes at the tips of the letters).

Sans-serif fonts can be difficult to read, because the serifs are what help the brain identify individual characters. This can be a problem for persons with some kinds of visual impairments, such as astigmatism, which can range from difficult to impossible to correct with eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. For this reason, sans-serif fonts are best presented in much larger sizes.

Unfortunately, blog themes do not always permit changes to fonts or background colors. Browsers usually allow accessibility adjustments that can override page specifications, but changing a browser’s permanent setting to improve the readability of one web page, can make other pages worse to read. Using the temporary zoom in the browser can help, but only if the theme layout is relatively simple.

Whenever possible, I like to pay a personal visit to a blog, but if the theme’s font, color and contrast combinations are hard on the eyes, I stay in the Reader, because it automatically enlarges the font and does away with difficult backgrounds.

An associated problem is that visits via the Reader don’t count in the statistics the same way that page visits do, so some blogs are set up to force a personal visit. I’ve sadly had to forgo reading some interesting posts because I knew it would take heroic measures to read the page comfortably.

Finally, the extra “Like” link at the top of the page is a two-edged sword. It’s close enough to the “Follow” link, that it’s easy to unintentionally “unfollow” a blog by mistake, and when my browser is at high magnification, the “Like” link disappears. If I’ve zoomed in, and I’ve forgotten to hit the button at the bottom of a post, I may not have that final reminder before leaving that blog.

I’ve no idea how widespread the blog theme readability problem is, but there are a great many of us with age-related and other visual disabilities. We may not be as bad off as Hubert’s Grandma, but a less-than-visually-friendly theme could be one reason why a blog may seem to struggle with maintaining readership. We really do like your blog better than a bathtub toy.

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5 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Reading, Visual disability, Writing

5 responses to “Breaking Out of The Bubble.

  1. I’ve found some blogs nearly unreadable myself. The color of the text is the problem most of the time. Light blue is the worst for me to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m curious if I’ve inadvertently done any of those reading faux-pas myself. I’m not much of a visual designer, so I tend to overlook such things.

    If you find that the case, poke me and I’ll make some adjustments to the old blog-a-roo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, I LOVE Hubert and his Grandma! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 I like your blog theme and also mine. I find a lot of people’s themes are difficult to navigate if not almost impossible. I consider myself above average in computer usage, yet sometimes, I feel like I must be doing something really wrong here on WP, because it’s like pulling teeth to be able to navigate to the most recent post. I usually access the blog from my email, which features 3 random old posts by that user. After I click one, I look for the most recent. But when I have to click more than 2 or 3 buttons to get there, I usually give up and move on. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of other bloggers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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