I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a new Planning blog I have developed for the Town of Collingwood in Ontario, www.yourcodes.blogspot.com. YourCodes is the stakeholder engagement, and monitoring site for the project I am managing to develop Collingwood’s Urban Design Standards. As previously, I have developed the entire project framework to build upon the benefits of the blog platform. It is strangely exciting to be creating these Planning blog sites on the opposite side of the continent from where I began this work in Washington; returning to where I began my Planning career years ago.
The design of YourCodes addresses many of the concerns I have repeatedly heard relating to online presence and blog site integration. As a result of my previous post, where I contrasted aspects of free and proprietary blog hosting, I have been asked about the impacts of free hosting on “brand” or “corporate identity”; the fear being of a diminished brand.
Careful attention to the design details of the blog assist with avoiding the impacts of this very real concern. This includes the use of color, images, etcetera to communicate a cohesive design sense that visually links the sites. Think of it in terms similar to a design package for a range of print materials such as letter head, business cards, advertising and reports.
One technical solution that further aides the cohesiveness of the experience for OUR users is to integrate the free site into existing web pages as WE have done at the Town of Collingwood. While the YourCodes site exists outside of the Town website, a “viewer” page has been included that allows people to see the blog without leaving the Town pages.
Blog pages should in all cases be designed to provide as seamless an experience between them and OUR other online resources as practicable for OUR users. Keep in mind that this is equally important when designing a blog that is hosted directly within an existing website or when using a free off site service, no excuses!