A few weeks ago, Joshua Porter posted an excellent analysis of FriendFeed's user interface in his post Thoughts on the Friendfeed interface where he provides this excellent annotated screenshot
In addition to the screenshot, Joshua levels four key criticisms about FriendFeed's current design
The last item is my biggest pet peeve about FriendFeed and why I haven't found myself able to get into the service. FriendFeed goes out of its way to show me content from and links to people I don't know and haven't become friends with on the site. In the screenshot above, there are at least twice as many people Joshua isn't friends with showing up on the page than people he knows. Here are the three situations FriendFeed commonly shows non-friends in and why they are bad
In fact the majority of Joshua's remaining complaints including secondary information causing visual clutter and too few items per screen are a consequence of FriendFeed's decision to take multiple opportunities to push people you don't know in your face on the home page. The need to grow virally by encouraging connections between users is costing them by hampering their core user experience.
On the flip side, look at how Facebook has tried to address the issue of prompting users to grow their social graph without spamming the news feed with people you don't know
People often claim that activity streams make them feel like they are drowning in a river of noise. FriendFeed compounds this by drowning you in a content from people you don't even know and never even asked to get content from in the first place.
Rule #1 of every activity stream experience is that users should feel in control of what content they get in their feed. Otherwise, the tendency to succumb to the feeling of "drowning" will be overwhelming.
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