February 3, 2006
@ 01:25 PM

Danny Sullivan, one of the guys behind the popular Search Engine Watch blog has written a blog post about his RSS reader of choice. The post is entitled Reading Feeds With RSS Bandit and begins

Dave Naylor and I were IMing today about IE 7's new RSS feature. He was very excited. I haven't tried it yet, but the screenshot he sent me didn't make me think it was better than the RSS Bandit feed reader I currently use. I've been meaning to write about that anyway, so this gave me an excuse.

Let me preface this by saying that everyone seems a bit different on how they read feeds. Some do it for pleasure, and they aren't worried about missing something, in the same way they might not worry if they missed a day or two of reading the newspaper. Others read for work and maybe manage a ton of feeds (that's me). Others seem to want to read one feed at a time, something I've seen some people describe as "wrong" or "stupid."

My feeling is that there is no "right" way to read feeds. Anyone who tells you that is the stupid one. What's the "right" way to read a newspaper or watch TV. Can you start with Business and then read the main news sections. Do you need to watch each program from beginning to end or is flipping allowed?

Read feeds however you want. What is helpful is to hear about how others do, because you can pick up tips or ideas on how you might improve your own reading.

I'm going to explain how I've shifted in my own reading. I hope some find that useful, but like I said, I'm not saying this is the "right" way to read nor that I use the "right" tool that everyone should use. It just what works for me.

Danny goes on to talk about the various ways one could choose to use RSS Bandit from treating it like a mail reader and viewing posts one by one as new items show up in each feed to consuming them in the "river of news" style by always reading the "Unread Items" folder. In building RSS Bandit we've tried to make it flexible so it can be adapted to multiple reading habits since as Danny says in his post there is no "right" way to read feeds. Different people find different approaches more suited to their needs. 

One thing Danny suggested which I haven't commented on before in my blog is the ability to organize feeds according to tags. I've thought about this a little over the past few weeks, specifically I've been comparing the user experience of Windows Live Favorites which is folder based with that of del.icio.us and Bookmarks in the Google Toolbar which are both tag based. One thing that seems clear is that it would be difficult to mix and atch (i.e. merge) both models. We'd probably have to let users switch between a traditional folder view which would use the current tree control and a tag view which would use a control similar to Eyefinder which mimics the Outlook 2003 user interface. Of course, this assumes that the main benefit of the tag view is so people can have feeds show up in multiple 'folders'. If people want other tag-based user interface features such as tag clouds then that would be problematic to implement as a Windows user interface component but may work as a newspaper view that is tied to the tag-based view.

The more I think about it the more I think there is definitely room for experimentation here. Now if only I could find some free time to experiment with some of these ideas. :)


 

Saturday, February 4, 2006 8:15:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
At the link below there's a tag clustering algorithm that builds hierarchies using the links associated with del.icio.us tags. I'm not sure what could be used instead of the del.icio.us links, but maybe somewhere around here is a way of merging the tag/folder views.

http://blog.pietrosperoni.it/2004/09/19/clustering-delicious-tags/

While I'm here I might as well say that although I haven't seen IE7 yet, reading the reviews it does sound like the team's time would have been much better spent exploiting the expertise they had in-house (i.e. you) rather than trying to keep A-listers happy...
Comments are closed.