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The Fine Art Of Sidebars


Sidebars are distractions
Yes, pal, you read right, think of this: when an event is coming, the organizers would list out the specifics and then put in the list any extras as side attractions, for content-driven platforms, that's what sidebars are, side attractions, and they should never be made the center of attraction. Ladies and Gents, I bring to you the fine art of sidebars.

First off, the best ways to you use a sidebar are:

  • If it is not necessary, do not use it at all.
  • If it is quite necessary, practice minimalism with the use.
A simple credible analogy of in a case wherein it's not necessary, do not use, is medium.com though I actually have no love for the platform (long story for another post), their UI is laudable, for it portrays the purpose of the platform pretty well.
From medium.com about page.
As you can see, the platform is a consumer first, a consumer only. Which thus implies that it would and actually is highly content driven, guess how the site displays posts made on her platform?
Random post from Medium
Did you guess without sidebars? if yes, clap for yourself, though that was a no-brainer. Why don't they make use of sidebars? simple: sidebars are suckers, a sidebar would suck the focus out of your consumer if you end up being careless with them. As you have seen on this website, I do not use sidebars! Let's be factual, visiting this site on a laptop would leave you a bit restless if I had a sidebar, better put, you'd be torn between multiple contents, let's say I had a sidebar, and in it, there's a sponsored video playing, and a subscribe form animating, a banner telling a story laced with a link, and when you scroll down, there's more. What happens? let me help you out, here's a summary; you are distracted and confused in a jiffy.

Even if the website is a niche based one, you'd be confused as to which of the contents on display are worthy, and which ones the folks behind website really wants you to have!

An example of such a website is: I don't want to make mention of names o... #laughing - so it doesn't appear like I am shaming any developer or trying to deface a platform. But you get the idea by now I believe, if the fast-rising, people's favorite blogging platform runs by the idea, I believe there's more than enough to convince you of the usefulness of NO SIDEBAR when you are a content first platform.

To best enjoy NO SIDEBAR, replacing it with floating share buttons is a sleek maneuver. Like I am doing on this platform.

For the second way which is to use it while keeping minimalism in practice, here's how it's done. 

Random Post From Neil Patel Blog
The screenshot above is from the blog of the best online marketer in the world (in my own opinion and that of Google), even after he has vehemently spoken against unclean websites and leaving consumers lost, irritated with unnecessary stuff, to the extent that it has been a major reason why he doesn't advise anyone to go for AdSense - then why does he have a sidebar active in the post pages of the blog section of his website.
Simply put; sometimes, side attractions are necessary!
In a case wherein side attractions are imperative in the setup of a page/platform, don't throw caution in the wind doing it. If you head on to the page I took this screenshot from, which is a good read for bloggers by the way (https://neilpatel.com/blog/blogging-principles), you would notice that he had only as little as the possible number of contents on display in the sidebar, and to strike through the necessity of it, he implemented the sticky last content protocol. Nobody knows the stuff like that, I made the name/phrase up.
Definition: it is that content that shows up last on your sidebar in a list of few, and once it's gotten to, no scrolling down can shake it off, it follows all the way down to the bottom!
It's kind of like a mono content sticky note you are imposing in your audience because it actually is good stuff. In the case of Mr. Patel, it is a webinar he considers imperative for all and sundry who have a flair for SEO. If you count the things on display in his sidebar, you would note that they are just 5(as at when I first wrote this) useful things, non is useless nor is there a crowd in there. And all of his posts are always long enough to make sure you feel the smooth effect of the sticky last content protocol whose consistency would leave you damn curious at the end of the page.
Homepage, Beta Yarn.
Another website we would see to how she's using the sidebar minimalism style is www.betayarn.com (I actually designed the site), on the site you would find that when it comes to the sticky last content protocol, like tango, it could take two.

In there, I made the search bar sticky alongside the AdSense advert. Well, why? everyone wants quick access to whatever they've got in mind, the search bar makes that really possible, just tilt your mouse a bit to the right, no matter what line you are on, on any page, and you can go on and search away, no need scrolling to the top bar or footer or some other far place when you can have it right there by your side. Why the AdSense advert? oh please, everyone wants to earn.

So you see, practicing the minimalism style is all about filtering away to the most necessary stuff and putting them up with style. If not for the minimalist style, if you asked me, I would say sidebars are on their way to extinction. 

And that's pretty much it with using the sidebar in a minimalistic style, and while writing to this extent, I have along the line dropped reasons why not practicing the fine art of sidebars can be dangerous, but just in a case wherein you didn't really catch the Easter eggs, here we go:
  1. It confuses your audience, leaving the lost.
  2. Increases your bounce rate.
  3. Mar your UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience).
And what's gained from practicing it?
  1. Better audience retention.
  2. Sleek UI/UX
  3. Decreases your bounce rate
  4. Helps deliver your messages clearer
  5. Comes in handy for CTAs and the likes in a more effective manner.
And dear reader, those 3 bad effects are actually enough to adversely affect your platform greatly in the long run. While the good 5 effects are the preamble to a lot more benefit.

And benefits are why I brought to you the fine art of sidebars, I hope you practice sternly. See you on the cleaner side.

Cirphrank

I know I'm supposed to write something absolute here bla bla bla, but I'm busy designing, all I want to say his, let's grow together, like couples with genuine love or something.... I don't know...

2 comments:

  1. Found this information very helpful and I hope it comes in handy pretty soon.who didn't know about the fine art of side bars? So me. Well who knows now? So me.Thank you Frank!

    ReplyDelete

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