Monday, January 21, 2008

Blogging Question

by Ed Latham

I have recently started up a blog for my technophobe father. This blog journals the travels of a family teddy bear as my parents travel the country learning about places, people, history, and values. The blog is aimed at educating and entertaining family and friends with just enough information and attitude to keep things light and interesting.

We need help from experienced bloggers. When you embed video or slide shows into a blog, those items automatically start downloading when someone enters your blog. Just take a look at your status bar while you read this blog. That thing will keep cranking for tons of time trying to load up all the juicy tid-bits that are on this blog, regardless of how often you visit this blog. The contents of Learning in Maine continually expands as do many well attended blogs. Is there a way to structure a blog so that people can catch all the text when they visit, but video and other embedded materials are available on demand (like when they click a link or something)? I have thought of just doing a webpage with previews that are linked to the slide show files, but that method does not allow me to continue to push Dad's development so that we can collaboratively post content. He can handle posting to Zoho a whole lot easier than messing with web page design :)

Some of the family members visiting my new blog have very slow Internet connections. They have expressed frustration at waiting for a long time for things to load up when they visit the blog that only has 4 Zoho presentations embedded. Maybe there is a lighter format for posting slide shows? I am open to all suggestions. My parents have new content to add almost every two weeks as they continue on their seasonal nomadic journeys. I am concerned that slow load times will deter some who may want to enjoy the content of the site.

You can visit the site here: Adventures of Ted Edward if you wish to see what we have set up so far. Dad wants it simple right now so that's where we are at : )

I thank any of you that may have ideas to offer. Do I work to change the format of the slide shows to smaller content? Do I change the format of the blog so things can be clicked on demand somehow? Is there a snazzy way to prevent blogs, like Learning in Maine from loading every piece of content when you visit the site?


Kern Kelley said...

One option might be to only show posts for 1 day rather than the default 7. (Unless they are doing more than one post a day.) Another option, like you said is to link to the slide show rather than embed it. Have you tried Google Presently? It's not as robust as Zoho, but might be quicker.

Sridhar Vembu said...

We will speed this up - we didn't realize people were using it for t his purpose, but in hindsight that is a great way to use Zoho Show.

Thanks for blogging about the loading issue.

Sridhar Vembu

mrichme said...


Instead of embedding the videos or slideshows just make a url link to their source (Zoho, YouTube, BubbleShare, etc). You can always take a screenshot of the video or a still to use as a preview if you desire.

Looks like a great blog concept.

Ed Latham said...

Thank you for the suggestions! mrichme, I thought about doing the url as well with a nice screenshot as a link holder. That seemed like a great idea but I was worried about complicating the novice user. If they go to the blog and hit a link that now brings them to the zoho interface (which is not bad, but it is different) they may not have a clue where they can leave feedback. See, zoho offers a place to leave feedback for each post as well. Effectively, my parents would have to look both on the blog and at zoho to see responses others may leave at either site and, at this point, that is too complicated for my parents comfort level.

Sridhar Vembu, I thank you for following your product so closely and the attention you pay to feedback! I have been a strong supporter of your product and look forward to any improvements you may have in the works for using your tool this way. It allows me to work with family to create a family work. Collaboration tools like this can really offer some positive side effects when you are working with loved ones you can not be near!

Kern, I have played with the Google product and right now I have been running some work projects in parallel with Zoho to compare both products. So far I can see benefits for both products. Since I work with so many teachers that all have different needs it is great to have options. Thanks for brining that option up as other may not have heard of the tool or using it this way yet. If I get time I will have to take one of the installments and do it up in both applications to look at the size and load time of each : )

I will continue to play with options, and look forward to any other input people may have for me. Thanks!