readers speak: the biggie.

OK deep breath. It’s time for another readers speak, the last of which you had a LOT to say! I’m loving the collaboration here and am hoping you can help me with another topic I’m a bit nervous about discussing.

Design for Mankind has been growing rapidly since August of last year, and holy speed bumps, I have no idea what to do about it. I didn’t realize that my passion for inspiring others would soon become a forum for others to do the same, and I am just so BLESSED to have you all along for the ride. THANK YOU, if I don’t say it nearly enough.

So, the ultimate topic of a site re-design has been raised by a few gentlemen, and I’d love to open this idea to you readers, because really, I’d be talking to myself without you. [Again THANK YOU. It’s not pretty when I talk to myself. Really.] And before I go on, I will address the subject of ad revenue, b/c this is an ongoing battle between many bloggers that I just really want to get out in the open:

YES. I will accept advertisers.
NO. Advertisers will not affect the content.

With that said, you should all know [hold on to your seat, Dad!] that I resigned from my day job last Friday. It’s simply too much, and life is too short to burn the candle at both ends. And I would be totally hypocritical if I encouraged each of you to break free from your boundaries and I didn’t do the same. Roadmaps has been the dose of medicine that I needed to feed myself, and that has become quite evident in the past month.

So. To get “technical” on you, I’ve been dabbling into site designs to support ads for a few weeks and am torn. I need you guys to make the call. After all, this is YOUR site, not mine [THANK YOU again. If it was my site, holy crap, it would get messy.] Here’s what I want to know:

What is your design preference for the future of Design for Mankind?
(a). Magazine-style template, such as this, this or this? OR
(b). Simple layout, such as this, this or this?

Obviously, there are pros/cons to each, but my fear is that by offering more content as in the mag-style, the site will become impersonal and/or stale.
BUT, a simply layout is equally stunting, simply because content would be constrained.

Help? [THANK YOU, again. Truly.]Note: I’ll be keeping this post up until tomorrow morning, so give me whatcha got!

  • The content is just so wonderful (inspiring, helpful, witty, etc), you don’t need anything fancy, design wise…I love the blog just the way it is :) Simple, clean, and oh so readble…I know I’ll keep coming back no matter what…

    congratulations on taking the leap

  • whoa- can we say totally inspirational?! (and i’m not just talking about the poster…) way to follow your heart/dreams/everything that’s great in this world.

    after looking at all the different potential layout options…am i weird for loving designformankind just the way it is?

  • I like the simple layouts – I think the magazine layouts would become too overwhelming (what to click first?!?).

    Congrats on following our dreams, I hope I have the courage to do the same one day…

  • keep it simple!i think its the future :)
    thank you for a great blog and congratulation!

  • oh wow congratulations, this must be feeling like a dream, amazing !
    my advice is to keep it simple, i think its important that blogs retain their personal simplicity so that they don’t go falling into the standard website feeling, personal, small is what i think attract us all to blogging :)

  • I wish you good luck with your new life! May great treaures encounter your path! :)
    (Simple would be fine with me)

  • Simple simple simple! You site is so great and such an inspiration because of that fact…. that its simple in layout and makes it easy to read and find all the interesting things you have to share and say without getting all caught up in fancy display.

  • simple would be easier…

    as for ad space, the guys over at Penny Arcade (which is a gaming webcomic… http://www.penny-arcade.com) are really super picky about their ads. they only advertise games and groups they actually support and approve. Like they won’t adverstise something that sucks.

    Yes they get a gazillion hits a day at the moment, but i think it’s a good mentality that they have. it helps you respect the advertisments.

    Congrats!

  • Well, I really like the look and style you have now. But if I had to pick one, it would be the simple layout examples. I think ads are fine and if you can make a living while giving us all valuable and fun reading, then more power to you. I will say however, that the flashing ads really distract me when I’m trying to read a post; especially a long one! Congrats on following the beat of your drum!

  • Congratulations on following your dream. I’ve been keeping with your Roadmaps series, and I really appreciate what you’re doing for us.

    I think the third magazine design is my favorite. Does this mean you’ll be moving on to wordpress?

  • I’m so impressed, Erin. Way to go. I can’t wait to continue to see where your road takes you :)

    Anne

  • I love the simple layout. Sometimes when there is so much I zone out, get lazy and don’t read everything that I can (too much clicking). All of this is usually followed by disinterest.

    Regardless I love your content so keep it up, it’s wonderful.

  • I love the simple layout. Sometimes when there is so much I zone out, get lazy and don’t read everything that I can (too much clicking). All of this is usually followed by disinterest.

    Regardless I love your content so keep it up, it’s wonderful.

  • Congratulations on leaving the day job behind! First choice is Simple #3, tho I also like Magazine style #1. We will all be reading happily as you build this beautiful ship!

  • Awww, thank you so much, guys. And yes, Cecilia— I’ll be moving to wordpress when the time comes! :)

  • OMG! Congrats!

    My favorite is simple layout #1.

    I have a feeling things will turn out great for you sweetie! *Hugs*

    YAY!

  • CONGRATULATIONS! i’m so happy that you’ve gotten such a great group of loyal readers, and i don’t have a problem with ads, when i know they are supporting a blogger’s ability to really focus on writing the blog.

    design-wise, i loathe magazine-style templates, but didn’t love any of the simple ones presented, either.

    gotta throw a wrench in, don’t i?! :)

  • Congratulations, sweets!!! I’m so excited and happy for you! AWESOME.
    As far as layout goes, although I love what some folks are doing with magazine-style sites, the simple layout you have going on right now REALLY works. I like the last of the simple layouts you linked to above. Either way, i KNOW whatever you decide on will ROCK!
    xoxox
    k

  • HA— no worries, painted fish… I think I’m going with something customized. You’ll like it [I hope!!!].

  • Oooh, how exciting! Congratulations on taking such a big step and doing so with such poise and confidence (at least that’s what we see!).

    The simple layout is definitely more appealing than the magazine layout. I cannot make myself read magazine layouts no matter how hard I try.

    Looking forward to your customization and all the upcoming changes!!

  • congratulations!!! and best wishes in living your dreams!

    seems like most everyone has said, go for the simple layout and i agree. seems to suit your style more. but however you do it, i’m sure it will be great!

  • EEEEEE!!!! Congratulations to you!!!
    and of course, I’m always one to vote for the “simple” kind of style. I know your choice will be great!!!!! :)

  • Definitely go with the simple options — I like things simple and clean and easily accessible. Love the simple layout you have now so more of the same (or similar!)

  • A magazine layout would allow you to have each of your daily features have a space and they can all be seen at a glance. That would be nice, but it does take away from the blogginess of it all, which is why it feels so personal.

    Simple is probably best. I like Simple #3 best, but I think you would be better served with a 3 column layout and devote one of the smaller columns to advertisers.

    I always get your posts in RSS feeds though and just click through to comment. Granted I do comment quite a bit, but you should probably listen to people who don’t use the feeds and just view you directly from the page instead, since they’ll be impacted more.

    Also, add text ads to the bottom of your feed posts. I think your fans understand that it takes ads to support what you are doing and we benefit from it.

  • Yay for you!!!!! Congratulations! I prefer the simple layouts, but I’ll keep reading either way!

  • Wow! Congratulations!
    I’m not too fussed as to the layout. I’ll keep reading.
    I do hope you keep the ‘loungeroom in a jar’ graphic that you have in your banner in some form or another though. That image is what first drew me to the site in the beginning.
    Good luck!

  • Congrats! I always get so very inspired by creative women taking the plunge and escaping everyday jobs. You deserve it!

    I adore your site dearly and find it so very inspiring on a daily basis. As far as the layout, I tend to always prefer simple layouts that show more of a personal side to them. But I’m quite sure that anything you create will be wonderful.

  • Hi most gorgeous & talented woman. I’ve been meaning to reply to your comments re feminist issues – sorry for being so slack! I understand your position & was not offended at all. The wonderful thing about your Design For Mankind is the personal nature of both your content & the responses/comments given. Every opinion is valid. This is why I put my vote for the simple rather than mag format too. What I love about reading your stuff is that it’s like sitting down with a group of girlfriends chatting. The amazing thing is that we are all participating in an intimate convo despite living at different corners of the globe. How absolutely fabulous is that??? Flicking through a mag is never as intimate or might I add, as relevent. What ever you do – just go for it girrrl!!! We support you.
    Cheers from Australia :)

  • CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve resigned and are following your desires. I made a similar move a little less than a year ago and it’s the best thing I ever did for myself. Best of luck to you. I’ll be following along regardless of your layout, advertising, etc. Yay!

  • Congrats on the resignation! I remember the feeling when I resigned in March 06. Very liberating! I’m not a fan of the magazine layouts…they seem so “techie” and impersonal. I love how you have it. It’s simple, easy to read, and calming. I’m sure you could edit your current layout to have more little details here and there with custom borders and design elements (perhaps in the aqua from your header?) but it doesn’t necessarily need it.

  • Erin,

    SO proud, SO happy, SO inspired, SO excited for you!

    Can’t wait to see the new designs for the site (no matter how it looks), and I’ll always be one of your biggest fans.

    Thanks for being so encouraging and helpful throughout my creative endeavors, as well.

    As I say, you are a GEM! We (your readers) love you no matter what!

    – Jessie

  • Wow!!! Congrats on leaving your job…I had no idea you did all this and had a job as well…you are superhuman!

    I really think that your site as it is is terrific…maybe if you added a third column for more content? Otherwise, simpler is better! It’s all about your fabulous writing and sense of humor anyway!!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with-I’ll read it no matter what it looks like (unless it’s in another language of course!!)!

    BTW—Let me know how much your ads will go for because I’m ready to jump on board!!!

    http://www.jlcstudio.blogspot.com :)

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