Creating a pleasant blog reading experience

3 min read

I like reading blogs from around the web in either miniflux or russ and for a while I thought it was just because they both used catppuccin[1]. However, I now think that it is because the reading environment is less cluttered, and there is nothing between me and the text that the author wrote. The web has become so cluttered that reading just text in a quiet environment with no bells and whistles feels like relaxing on an island with a good book and a cool glass of ice water.

I am incredibly grateful that so many people make their blogs so accessible over RSS for everyone to read in their program of choice. I myself am guilty of not sharing the body of these blogs in the RSS feed (mostly because I need to figure out the best way to do it, not for a lack of effort). Reflecting on the joys of simplicity in text has me more cognizant of using things like bolds, italics, and inline-code.

Sometimes, I will look at my blog and think “it needs more, more features, more widgets, more things”, but today I am looking at it and thinking “Can people use this easily? Is there anything that I can reduce? Is there anything I can get out of the way?”

The modern world is rife with digital stuff, everywhere we look there is content being popped up into our faces, buttons to click, sliders to slide, notifications to mute. Perhaps we can learn from some of the techniques minimalists use for things — in order to introduce a new feature, we should at least consider if there is also a distraction that we could do away with. The products from companies like Microsoft become so bloated over time precisely because there is no incentive to ever critically evaluate past features[2]. People seldom get paid to trim down, but there are huge incentives to add things to the pile no matter if they are needed or not. If there isn’t demand yet, it’s now seen as our job to create it.

It is okay to keep things simple, to stay grounded in the primary purpose that people use something for.

  1. If you also want to use catppuccin in miniflux, you can copy my theme.css to save you some time! ↩︎

  2. Google, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite problem, killing entire products that people actually use. ↩︎