Google’s Blogger platform just released a new and revamped way for users to experience blogs hosted on their platform. They call it Dynamic Views and it’s definitely a fresh and innovative idea to keep the ever growing blogs from becoming stale. As you should know by now, one of the very first things you notice when you head over to a new blog or website is the look and design. Nobody wants to stay on a website if it’s hard to read and disorganized. That is why a lot of people like myself go for a minmalistic approach when designing our blogs. However, it can get quite boring with this approach and so Blogger decided to fresh things up a bit with their Dynamic View feature. It’s easy on the eyes and it brings a new and fun approach in helping readers navigate a site that much more easier.
Dynamic View is free for bloggers to utilize and if you don’t like them, you can choose to ignore it completely. Think of Dynamic Views as just a normal theme template to apply to your blog. There are currently 7 Dynamic Views to choose from. Although each view differs from one another in terms of displaying your blog posts and whatnot, they also share many things in common. For example, Dynamic Views aims to get rid of the “Older Posts” link that I’m sure some of you are all too familiar with (WordPress also has this feature to allow readers to read previous posts by the author) by implementing a infinite scrolling feature. In the past, scrolling to the end of a page meant you either had to click on the “Next Page” button or on another link to read previous posts and items from the author. Although this method has worked for so long, many online services are now going for a more streamlined approach by implementing infinite scrolling. Now when you head to the end of the page, the website will automatically load older items for you to view. You simply just keep scrolling down. End the reach of that new page and the event starts over again. This way, you can very easily and quickly get a glance at what a website or blog has been up to previously.
Another new feature with Dynamic View is the light-box style of reading posts. Lightbox is a very heavily implemented plugin on many blogs (including here on AnotherWindowsBlog) that aims to display frames and most particularly pictures, on the same page as the blog post. Without a lightbox plugin, when a user clicks on a photo, they will be transferred to either a new browser tab or the picture will load over the current blog post. The user then has to either close the tab or hit the Back button in order to get back to the original post. This is a very bad. With Dynamic Views, individual blog posts are now loaded in a new lightbox style frame.
Rather than explain Dynamic Views with words, Blogger has a simple video demonstration going over each of the 7 dynamic views that you can choose from:
Here are Google’s explanation of the themes in simple terms:
Classic: A modern twist on a traditional template, with infinite scrolling and images that load as you go
Flipcard: Your photos are tiled across the page and flip to reveal the post title
Magazine: A clean, elegant editorial style layout
Mosaic: A mosaic mix of different sized images and text
Sidebar: An email inbox-like view with a reading page for quick scrolling and browsing
Snapshot: An interactive pinboard of your posts
Timeslide: A horizontal view of your posts by time periodMore information on Dynamic Views can be obtained by heading over here. Google also provides sample websites of how each Dynamic View looks like on a live website.
To activate and begin using a Dynamic Theme, simply head over to your template setting and you should be able to see them:
As of right now, my blog at AnotherBookReview.com which is hosted on the Blogger platform, is currently using the Magazine Dynamic View. However, the Timeslide and Sidebar looks very interesting as well!
Things I Like and Don’t Like
– Clean minimalistic approach with a twist. I can definitely see the Dynamic Views as going for the clean and minimal look approach. However, I also like the fact that some of the Dynamic Views give the readers a different way of interacting with the content. This is great because as I mentioned earlier, while a minimal look does have the advantage of making things as easy as possible for the reader, it can become very ‘boring and stale’. Dynamic Views from Blogger in my opinion helps tremendously in bridging together the minimalistic approach while still keeping things a bit more interesting.
– Different views for different blogs. Having 7 different Dynamic Views to choose from might not be a whole lot for some but depending on the type of blog you operate, I’m sure everyone can find something to their liking. For example, a photo heavy blog can utilize the Mosaic or Flipcard view while more traditional blogs can opt for the Magazine or Sidebar view. Hopefully the Blogger team will pump out more Dynamic Views in the near future!
– Readers can easily change from the default Dynamic View. If a reader does not like the Dynamic View you have chosen for your blog, they can just as easily change it! When you enable Dynamic View for your blog, any reader visiting your site can select any other of the 6 Dynamic Views. For example, if I wanted to quickly view the featured images for all of your posts but can’t since you’ve decided to go with the Sidebar view, I can just switch to the Flipcard view myself and voila! I now can experience your blog the way I want to.
– Slight lag. Google has written that the Dynamic Views templates load around 40% more faster than traditional templates but I didn’t find this to be true, at least in my case. While the initial blog does load normally (I’m not too fond of the spinning gears logo though), clicking on a individual post which then loads the lightbox frame I notice a slight lag. It’s as if it is sending me a message that either my computer is not fast enough or I don’t have enough memory. Again, this is a very slight lag.
– No preview mode. I notice that upon switching to Dynamic Views, I can no longer preview a post I am creating. The Preview button has been grayed out and disabled.
– No gadgets or widgets. As of right now, switching over to Dynamic Views mean that you will lose the ability to display your widgets because you technically don’t have a sidebar column anymore.
– Limited customization. You are not able to customize the HTML elements of a Dynamic Theme. Also, you are not able to specify the order of posts displayed.Blogger’s Dynamic View has just been released so it’s only natural that we give them extra time to fix these issues. I just find it weird that nobody on the Blogger team thought of fixing them during the creation process!