Site Status: On the Future of Monday By Noon

Published 4 years 8 months ago on August 10, 2009 — 7 min read

Are we following each other on Twitter? If not, it’s a great way to quickly get in touch without having to comment on a single post or send an email!

Monday By Noon was started as my primary method of becoming a part of the Web design community. There were (and still are) so many designers and developers I respect to the umpteenth degree from which I’ve learned everything I know. I’ll continue to hold the community in the highest regard both as a source for education as well as friendships, and that includes every reader of this publication.

The first post here was made on February 19th, 2006. I’ve written 171 articles since then, and you’ve provided 2,895 contributions via comments. Detail oriented readers will notice that from time to time, I’ve missed a scheduled posting. It’s been really tough for me to let slide, as I hadn’t missed a Monday publish date going on over two years strong. The rationalization, though, has been my not wanting to publish for the sake of following the Monday By Noon namesake and publishing for that reason alone. I do my best to think about applicable, useful, informational, worthwhile subjects about which to post, and to be brutally honest, sometimes the idea (or the energy) simply isn’t there.

It was great to read a recent article by one of, if not the, most respected names in Web design conveying the importance of only writing when inspired. I’ve learned many times that forcing yourself to do something is the quickest way to begin resenting it. I love publishing on Monday By Noon, and that’s the last thing I want to have happen. I hope to publish for many years to come, but that depends heavily on my ability to remain inspired. Unfortunately, becoming inspired is in no way an ability in the technical sense, so it’s not something I can actively refine. My inspiration comes directly from the community and the work I do, and I’m super lucky to be involved in a community consistently brewing with interesting changes, discussions, and updates.

Introductions aside, the entire meaning of this post is to extract any feedback from readers possible.

Monday By Noon: the schedule

My original intention with the Monday By Noon nomenclature was to combat a slight case of procrastination I had throughout my years of schooling. In college, I wasn’t the most proficient time keeper, and certain things tended to fall by the wayside and remain undone. Since then, I’ve done quite a bit to reverse that bad habit, and I like to think that I’ve become much better at getting things done, both personally and professionally. If you ask some people, though, they’ll be quick to tell you I’ve got a ways to go!

How do you feel about the posting schedule? I’m especially interested in hearing whether a missing post or two every few weeks is doing any sort of disservice to the site as a whole. Do you think publications made each week are with enough thought and effort to constitute a weekly schedule? In this age of design blogs pumping out ~2000 word articles every few hours, it’s sometimes hard to determine if readers are still gaining from what you write.

The content

I’ll be the first to tell you that Monday By Noon is one of the most improvisational projects I’ve ever had. While I do keep a running list of article ideas, I often come up with article topics at the last minute, something that happened within the past day or two, and I’ll want to write about the topic immediately, as I write best when I’ve got a stream — no, a flash flood — of consciousness to transcribe. It’s only once every few months I refer to the list of article topics I have floating around. Unfortunately, some ideas have been sitting on that list since the first few months of starting Monday By Noon, and no longer remain relevant or interesting.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying to force myself to plan more elaborate articles that people will find interesting. One of the more ambitious article types I’d like to seriously consider and evaluate are screencasts. I love screencasts. Not only do I love screencasts for the built in educational value, I feel like it’s that much more personal. One of the most gravitational aspects of the Web design community is the personality and lifestyle of other designers. I think that comes with any profession, being interested in the way other people do things (that is unless you hate your career).

That said, do you take the time to watch screencasts? If so, who makes your favorites? What screencasts would you love to see? I’ve had a few ideas rolling around, and would love to know if readers would enjoy watching such a thing:

  • Design comp analyzation in prep for initial markup and style
  • Initial front end development walkthrough
  • WordPress development tips, tricks, techniques
  • CSS troubleshooting techniques
  • JavaScript tutorials

They’re just a few ideas I’ve had rolling around, thinking about what I’d like to watch a screencast discussing. Are screencasts overrated and I’m simply over-enthusiastic about them? If you’ve got any requests for screencast subject matter, anything you’ve been curious about but haven’t been able to find an article to help with, I would absolutely love to read about them!

I’d also be very interested to know if screencasts just aren’t your thing, so please take a second to comment below if you have a bit of free time!

Are there any up-and-coming topics you’d like to see covered in any amount of detail over the next few months? I’d really like to hear some suggestions directly from you, as I’m always worried that the same reader will become uninterested in article topics for many weeks in a row.

Changing it up

Continuing on the fact that I’ve never really had a plan or end goals in place for Monday By Noon, I’ve been considering taking the site to the next level as far as overall purpose is concerned. At first glance, and until now, Monday By Noon has served (and served well) as a weekly publication medium. With the site, though, that’s the one true calling to subscribe and/or visit. Sure, I’ll pull in some links from Delicious, my posts from Twitter, my public photos from Flickr, and even my most-listened albums of the month from last.fm, but the site is far from injected with personal content. For you, is that a pro or a con?

For me, I like to know about authors. Not that it has anything to do with the quality of work he or she does, it’s simply another aspect to check out and draw inspiration from. I’m considering making a few personal aspects a bit more apparent when it comes to the site, but also considering a complete abstraction and relocation to a different platform entirely. I’m having trouble finding a happy medium and would appreciate any thoughts you’ve got!

Personal information aside, I’ve had the itch to really beef up the way I include outside resources. Outside Reading has been the single area of Monday By Noon on site to include outside resources I find useful. Unfortunately, I’ve been posting resources more consistently to Twitter than Delicious, so a lot has been missed when it comes to Outside Reading. Truth be told, many people I’ve spoken to had no idea the links were there in the first place, which is the biggest problem of all!

How do you feel about outside resources and asides? Chances are very good that you’ve come across the links from other sources, but would you be opposed to other information taking a bigger responsibility when it comes to Monday By Noon? I’m considering a Tumblr style update to Outside Reading, turning it into a stream of resources both prominent on the site as well as included in the feed. Would that be too big of a change for you, or something totally welcomed?

I hope the deviation in topic matter wasn’t too much of a disruption, and if you’ve made it this far in the piece, I would truly appreciate any thoughts you’ve got. Monday By Noon’s readers are its most valuable asset, and I’d like to do everything I can to have them enjoy the site that much more, including responses to very specific requests. Hope to hear from you soon!

There's a conversation brewing

  1. I love screencasts as well. The ones I watch are more technical in nature (Railscasts, RailsEnvy, Peepcode, etc). Good screencasts are hard to come by. While I want to see the entire process, sometimes there are chunks that can be skipped to show the overall process (letting me fill in the smaller gaps). I like to get the gist of something and then run with it.

    With that being said, I am not sure how I feel about the injection of outside sources. I value your opinion, very much so. While I know others are talking about sources in the community, I like to hear your perspective as it’s usually fresh and relevant (not just regurgitation). I don’t care so much about the asides of twitter, flickr, etc – but that’s because you are already in my stream in those areas. I think they can be useful, but I like the personal touch to things. Linking to discussions is great, but I have always thought you add to the dialogue, not just say the same things in a different manner.

    So, I’d still like some personal commentary about things – links are good, but I think you have more value to add on top of the discussions.

    Just some thoughts.

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your articles because I know it’s something I can look forward to on Mondays and your ideas are well-thoughtout.

    I’m usually don’t watch screencasts, mainly because they take a lot longer to watch than it would to read an article and I can’t really listen to it in the background while doing other work. Occasionally though I come across some that spark my interest, like the recent ones Elliot Jay Stocks did about redesigning a portfolio website.

    As far as personality, I also enjoy knowing more about the author as I think it helps gives the reader some insight on how the author thinks and also makes the author “more human”.

  3. Giving yourself a weekly deadline is very tough, but a good thing, I think. Being prolific is underestimated and I wish I published more — I’ve read plenty of bloggers bemoaning the quality of other blogs as a justification for not posting for months.

    A way round it may be to move away from the formal, essay style entry? I’ve noticed that the The Contrast blog has been referencing quotes, pictures, design objects etc. as a starting point for discussion, which works well. I guess that’s what you’re getting at with the Tumblr style thing.

    I don’t like screencasts, but I’m sure others do: I can copy & paste text and read it elsewhere, quote from it easily etc.

    I’m sure you’re a nice guy and love your mum, Jonathan, but I’m not that interested in what you’re listening to (and Twitter’s a better medium for publishing that sort of stuff, I think). Your personality should shine through your writing…

    I must admit I’ve been wrestling with similar questions on my blog, so it’s interesting to get someone else’s perspective.

  4. I like the quality of your content, so if the quantity goes down a bit, so be it. However, if you posted less frequently, you might have to change the name of your blog!

    Really, though, you have to write about what inspires you. When the muse strikes, write. When she doesn’t, don’t.

    In general, I like screencasts. In fact, my favorites have been over on CSS Tricks, as Chris touches on a bunch of different topics in a clear and concise manner. That being said, Chris has recently stated that subscriptions to his screencasts have dropped 20% this past year, and he doesn’t know why. I can say that the quality has been there, but maybe people want more immediate gratification a la Twitter and such.

    I would have no problem with a Tumblr type format, as long as you continued posting solid entries.

  5. Thank you for the thoughtful feedback, everyone. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know your thoughts, and there’s a ton of valuable information there! I’m most glad to realize that readers may not in fact be as interested in screencasts as I once thought. They’re a bit of work, so it’s sounding like my effort is much better placed elsewhere for the subsequent phases of content. Thanks again, I really appreciate your time and thoughts!

  6. I like the quality of your content, so if the quantity goes down a bit, so be it. However, if you posted less frequently, you might have to change the name of your blog!

  7. I’d stay subscribed to your articles even if you only updated once a month. I don’t watch videos, though.

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