Back in Heidelburg, plus quick blog-design question

I got back to Heidelburg a couple days ago and will be here a couple days more. Then it’s back to the United States and quite likely more traveling there.

Completely unrelated question: it’s old web usability design knowledge that links should go down the right hand side of the screen, so they’re close to the scroll bar. But on a blog, where should the blogroll go? In a link-heavy blog, it seems that perhaps the body of the blog itself should be on the right rather than the blogroll. But most popular blogs, including ones by usability professionals, have the blogroll on the right side. Is it best to keep the blogroll on the right side, to conform to standards? Keeping the blogroll on the right also follows another standard: reading left to right. The blogroll is supposed to be secondary to the main content.

And that bit about keeping the links close to the scroll bar seems a bit suspicious: couldn’t that cause people to accidently click links instead of the scroll bar?



  1. I always assumed people started putting them on the right because _everyone_ had their blogrolls set up on the left. Early on, MovableType’s templates came default on the left and there weren’t too many bloggers who knew enough about CSS to bother moving the columns around.

    I’m left-handed but I use my mouse with my right so I can write/draw with my left. The one thing I have noticed about right-hand navigational columns is they put everything closer to your mouse. With navigation on the left, it always feels as if you’re reaching over to the opposite side of the screen. It’s counterintuitive, in my opinion.

    You could always try putting the blogroll in an i-frame so all the scrolling is self-contained.

  2. Hmmm, well I scroll almost exclusively with the page up and down buttons… But it seems to me if the issue is closeness to the scrollbar its far more relevant for a blog roll then for a nav. Why? Because you are far more likely to be scrolling while looking at the blogroll then while looking for the nav. Scroll down, move a touch left, click, done.

    Never actually heard the nav on right argument before. I’d argue the contrary, the nav should be on the left because people read left to right, and they want to see the nav right away. If its a site that needs a lot of navigation there should be another one at the bottom anyway, so there shouldn’t be much scrolling for the nav.

  3. That anonymous post above was mine, btw.

  4. i think you should set it up so every individual can set their own unique experience.. personally I like having the links in a window entirely of their own, and when I click on links they open in a different window entirely, but I also eat peanut butter fried tofu

  5. (I do realize the above is not entirely feasible, I’m just sayin..)

  6. no, it’s entirely feasable with a javascript stylesheet switcher and cookies to remember each individuals settings

  7. Here’s a good example of what I meant about putting the sidebar links in i-frames…

    All the information is on one xhtml document, and the stylesheet sets it up as you see it. If you have the ability to disable stylesheets (I’m using the PNH toolbar for mozilla/netscape ) you’ll be able to see how it looks unformatted.

  8. To hell with conformity. Do what makes you happy.

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