A short missive on Chronological Usability

I’ve found a blog that really interests me, but want to read all the posts chronological order because it makes more sense that way.  Problem is, almost every blog, including mine, presents the posts in reverse chronological order.  Which is great if you’ve been following along already because the latest entries are always on the main page and at or near the top. 

But when you decide that you want to read them in the order they were posted, it gets rather cumbersome:  You have to locate the first entry, which can be an interesting prospect if they don’t have archives enabled, then you have to read from the bottom of each page towards the top — so you’re constantly reading down the posting, then moving up, past it, to the next one, reading down the posting, moving up, past it, to the next one … and so on.  Then when you get to the top, you usually have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page again to find the link that takes you to the next page, chronologically.  When that page loads you’re looking at the top of the page again, so you have to scroll back to the bottom of the new page to the last entry, then start the whole process over again.  What a pain!

It’s not so bad when each posting, when viewed by itself, has links to the next/previous posts, because then you can simply read the post, then click to the next one and so on.  A lot more page loads, but easier to navigate.  Unfortunately, many blog themes, or layouts, don’t seem to have these links either — mine included, again.  I think most people just don’t think about it:

What if someone wanted to read my blog in book style, from the earliest posting, until now?  Will it be easy to do?

It’s a part of the user experience, or usability, that seems to get lost when developing the blog or when web-designers develop themes and templates.  But it’s also something that could easily be fixed, either by adding the next/previous links to the page that displays individual posts, or by creating an optional “index” page that sorts the posts chronologically, instead.  Relatively small changes that could dramatically improve the usability of your blog — especially if the contents or subject matter lends itself to being read in date-order.

Although I can’t see why anyone would possibly want to read AlienSplicer this way, I’m going to have to modify it’s layout just in case they do.

What do you think?

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