Monday, February 21, 2005

Six Apart in 2005

Already, 2005 has been a big year for Six Apart. I'll mention three momentous events, and focus on the third of them.

Six Apart started the year with two main products, Movable Type and TypePad. In early January, it bought LiveJournal. Here is the post in which Brad of LJ commented on the deal. In mid-February, I started a TypePad blog. Well, maybe the LJ deal was rather bigger for 6A than was my taking advantage of its free 30-day trial offer.

The recently revamped 6A web site is also bigger news than having me wandering round the TypePad lot kicking tires. It looks great, and embodies the message that each of the three products (MT, TP, LJ) has its own place in the family, with a balance between individual identity and family resemblance.

I'm particularly impressed by the way that the 6A/LJ page looks very much like 6A and very much like LJ, the adopted sibling. One could argue that it should look like both, and that it's obvious that it should have been designed for that effect. But if good web design was as easy and obvious as it looks when we see it, then it would be far more common that it actually is.

Another page I particularly like is one that provides the chart comparing the three levels of TypePad service (and price). As well as being useful in its own right, it would provide a good starting point for a similar comparison chart I'd like to see. I refer to a comparison between the three big easy-to-use hosted blog publishing tools: TP, LJ, and Blogger. Someone will probably produce one soon. It's unlikely to be me, although I do plan to post a more broad-brush comparison between the three tools in a week or two.

I think that 2005 will continue to be a crucial year for Six Apart, and for blogging in general. Here are a few questions that particularly interest me. Will 6A's actions spur Blogger to improve its product more quickly? Perhaps a better way of phrasing that question might be: Will they spur Google into providing the resources to improve Blogger? Will one of the big portals make a run at 6A?

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