What first attracted me to James’ website is the .co.uk ending. It isn’t often that I come across a new, Brit-centric personal blog, and as I’m always looking for new sites to read (and I prefer reading about something I share in common, whatever that may be), I immediately booked the site out for review.
The first thing I noticed was the ultra-clean, smooth, no-fuss design. The site is headed with a goldfish photo that fits seamlessly under the logo and navigation. It works well, drawing the eye down to the content, which is nicely spaced and very easy to read. The choice of black text on blue background might not be to everyone’s taste but it is surprising effective. White links jump neatly out of the page but don’t disturb the reader’s attention.
The blog is a personal one, with no particular focus other than the writer and his immediate world. The pacing is relaxed, the style of writing perfectly judged to help the reader along. Even the ee cummings no-capitals grammatical method works well and unobtrusively. Each story is relatively self-contained and interesting; amusing anecdotes and events are relayed well and with a minimum of pretension.
Archives stretch back as far as December 2002, and are available from a drop-down list at the top of the page, or alternatively from a collection of links at the bottom, where you will also find the external sites the writer is fond of. The photo gallery, though relatively small, contains some treasures, such as the shots of Iceland, and is very easy to navigate.
The reader is given the option of having links open in a new window via a checkbox at the top of the site; this is a helpful feature but I would have preferred it to only refer to external links; furthermore, the setting doesn’t carry through from page to page. Otherwise the design is practically faultless; if you don’t like it, there is also an alternative available on the “Skins” page.
If you want a window into another’s life, but don’t want to feel like an uninvited peeper, then this is most certainly worth your attention. For me, it is definitely a site I will be returning to, if only to track down more entries and opinions on Iceland.