Proxemics for Blogs: Using digital space to your advantage

BlogsI’ve spent the past few days assessing blog sites full of observations about spaces. A blog is a digital space worthy of analysis in the context of proxemics.

The objects placed into a blog post all have individual attributes (size, color, location) that impact their perceived use of space on a page. The trick for bloggers is to figure out how to design their space  for maximum readability.

This isn’t a new challenge. Printers have been grappling with this issue since the Gutenburg Bible in the 1450’s at the dawn of the Enlightenment. But in a digital space like a blog, everyone has the chance to be a producer.

So what will you do with your space

Here are a few ideas for maximizing the digital space you have when writing a blog post:

Five tips for using space well in your blog

  1. Consider the spacing of your text on the finished page. Some studies show that people are far more likely to read short statements (of 1-3 lines) than long paragraphs. So, insert a paragraph break for every new thought, about every three sentences.
  2. Use the “Kitchen Sink” when you edit posts to create a look for your text. Keep it simple, but emphasize important items using stylistic elements like color, blockquotes, bullets, and numbering.
  3. Include a link or two in every post by embedding them in your text. This connects your space to other spaces on the web.
  4. Use bullets, and/or numbering to separate your text so that it’s formatted in a readable way for the digital space.
  5. Photos or videos are a must for blog posts. Consider where and how you place them by experimenting with the justifications (right, left, and center).

And some general reminders:

  • Source Citations: If you use a quote from any source, include either a hyperlink (if it is on the web) or author, year, page number (if it is not on the web).
  • Editing: Spelling and grammar matter. Double check your work, edit repeatedly, and help each other. If you see a typo, let the author know about it (myself included).
  • Complete information: Keep in mind that your readers (and your readership will grow over the course of the term) may not be familiar with your spaces. Fully explain your thoughts and give them a way to find your spaces (via hyperlinks) if they want to visit.

If you have other tips for bloggers about using space well, leave a comment here with your advice.

This fall in the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, students are studying the role of proxemics (the use of space) in our lives. As part of the assignments for their study, students are completing experiential analyses of spaces they encounter. These tips are meant to improve the digital spaces housing these analyses.

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