Bulletin: FeedDemon 1.6 Beta Released; Still Feels Like Outlook

My feed reader of choice – Bradsoft’s (now Newsgator’s) FeedDemon – has gone to beta yet again. This time, the big feature is syncing with Newsgator’s web services so your stuff stays in sync wherever you log in. The beta is only available for registered users.

I’ve installed it on my end. It’s a slick little tool. For me, the real story with feed syndication interfaces is how best to present large amounts of information in an easily digestable way. I think the great majority of feed reader interfaces, in both web and client applications, miss the point about where we’re trying to go with RSS.

In short, RSS is not email. If I see one more damn layout that is based on the email client interface design pattern, I’m going to barf. The layout of folders on the left, entries in the midddle, full entry on the right (a la Outlook) simply falls short for RSS. In an upcoming post, I’m going to throw around some ideas of how we can approach the information/interaction design of feeds more effectively. I think Nick is onto something with how his “newspapers” (essentially XSL templates for viewing feeds) allow users to lay out feeds.

2 Comments Bulletin: FeedDemon 1.6 Beta Released; Still Feels Like Outlook

  1. Nick Bradbury

    While I agree with you that the Outlook approach doesn’t scale to RSS, it does enable those new to RSS to get started more quickly, which is why so many aggregators default to treating RSS like email.
    The trick is to enable new users to feel comfortable right off the bat, yet still provide a UI that’s flexible enough to deal with the large amounts of information that more experienced RSS users are dealing with.
    As you point out, this is one place in which FeedDemon’s newspapers come into play, especially the new “Surfer” style in the 1.6 beta, as described here:
    The way I use FeedDemon is to hide the list of news items entirely, then use the Surfer or Expando newspaper styles to scan unread items.

  2. Richard Ziade

    Good point Nick.
    I’ve gotta say, I entirely ignore that middle list of news columns. I’d argue that it doesn’t even need to be there.
    I think one of the challenges is that people treat news items in different ways. Some people post full articles, others just links, others links & blurbs. So it is tricky.


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