The activity for Day 2 of the 31 Day Blog Challenge is to run an audit of first time readers on my blog. This involves asking a friend or family member to surf my blog and give feedback about its look, navigation, content and design.
Well, the only person available to help me with this was my 17 year old son, Andrew. I knew it was likely to be a big mistake but after I submitted to blackmail - I had to take him to lunch - he sat down and gave me a full three minutes of his concentration.
Coming at no great surprise, the things he was especially attracted to was the quiz, and the 'funny', non-professional posts such as 'It's official - I'm too fat'. He was very attracted to images, which is why he liked my 'fat' post - because of the photo of the squirrel. He surfed off and had a look at my Flickr photos as well as Flickr photos belonging to the the images I have attached to my posts, in other words he wanted to see more squirrel photos! He got also distracted into Second Life because I was running it at the same time and there were some extremely funny noises coming from it. He read my profile and laughed at my photo - I am not sure why, I think its a nice photo!
As for the content and design, suffice to say, he generally thought it was very boring until he got to the photo of the squirrel! But he did understand it was about midwifery and thought the blog had very 'business-like' feel which he felt was appropriate for the content matter. He didn't think the look of the blog would attract a young person, but then again midwives and educators will be a little older than his age range. Navigation was not a problem. And he didn't have any suggestions about how I may change the blog.
So I think the moral of the story from Andrew's point of view is to keep using lots of images as well as a thread of humor running through the blog.
If you are a first time reader of this blog, what do you think about the content and design of this blog - what is your first impression?
As for Andrew - I think he is a visual learner, which may explain a lot of things!
Postscript: It has also been really useful to have an experienced blogger run an eye over my blog. Sue Waters gave me a number of excellent suggestions - follow the comment section of this post to see what she had to say.
Image: Andrew diving at Aramoana, Dunedin, New Zealand.