13 April 2005

Newsgator Online: How the clippings folders could be more user-friendly

[Ref: Other discussion on this topic.]

Newsgator Online offers clippings. Users can save items from feeds. This is nice.

When users go to the clippings index, they get a choice where to place the content.

There is a list of folders.

With time, guess what? The list of file-folders gets very long.

I’m at the point where the file-folder-list-box is now longer than the vertical height of the screen.

In order to go to all the index folders, I have to scroll up and down with my browser.

I’m not sure what the experience of other users is. I would be interested to hear if others are finding the set-up a little confining. Also, I’d be interested to hear if others have some suggestions on what could be done.

What I find most puzzling about the folder-list-box, is what the non-PC users are doing. I would imagine that having such a long list might be very challenging when trying to scroll through the index with a mobile.

Sugggestion

I’ve already suggested that the clippings and main feed-folder-lists get segregated. However, this doesn’t address the core issue: That each list is now long.

Let’s consider an alternative. Suppose we think about the Feedburner pie charts.

What if the Newsgator Foldering system went form a horizontal-box-structure, to a circular-pie-chart mode.

The summary folders could be in a pie chart. As the user scrolled over each main folder [a section of the pie], they could have a pop-up of another circle representing the folders in that subgroup.

This might make the folder-navigation a little bit more complicated in terms of coding. But as the aggregator gets integrated into “what we do day to day,” the likelihood of someday needing a different foldering system is real.

Consider it was not all that long ago that e-mail didn’t exist. Now we have GMail and Yahoo offering Gigabytes of Memory. With time, I would expect the archiving, indexing, and foldering requirements for Newsgator Online to increase. Thus, in my view, the time to consider something else is at hand:

  • How to provide the users with a simple way to find all their folders

  • How to display this folder-list in an easily accessible way

  • How to work with mobile users in ensuring that the list-displays and XML-structures translate into something that works within a mobile platform

    It’s both a push- and pull-challenge for developers.

    Is there a problem now with Newsgator Online. Not at all. It’s still possible to file things. I imagine that one day, things will change. It will be simply a matter of time before the current folder-list changes.

    To what remains up to what the users and developers agree is most appropriate.

    I’m voting for pie charts with pop-up sub-circles for menu options. Anyone else?
  • [Ref: Other discussion on this topic.]

    Newsgator Online offers clippings. Users can save items from feeds. This is nice.

    When users go to the clippings index, they get a choice where to place the content.

    There is a list of folders.

    With time, guess what? The list of file-folders gets very long.

    I’m at the point where the file-folder-list-box is now longer than the vertical height of the screen.

    In order to go to all the index folders, I have to scroll up and down with my browser.

    I’m not sure what the experience of other users is. I would be interested to hear if others are finding the set-up a little confining. Also, I’d be interested to hear if others have some suggestions on what could be done.

    What I find most puzzling about the folder-list-box, is what the non-PC users are doing. I would imagine that having such a long list might be very challenging when trying to scroll through the index with a mobile.

    Sugggestion

    I’ve already suggested that the clippings and main feed-folder-lists get segregated. However, this doesn’t address the core issue: That each list is now long.

    Let’s consider an alternative. Suppose we think about the Feedburner pie charts.

    What if the Newsgator Foldering system went form a horizontal-box-structure, to a circular-pie-chart mode.

    The summary folders could be in a pie chart. As the user scrolled over each main folder [a section of the pie], they could have a pop-up of another circle representing the folders in that subgroup.

    This might make the folder-navigation a little bit more complicated in terms of coding. But as the aggregator gets integrated into “what we do day to day,” the likelihood of someday needing a different foldering system is real.

    Consider it was not all that long ago that e-mail didn’t exist. Now we have GMail and Yahoo offering Gigabytes of Memory. With time, I would expect the archiving, indexing, and foldering requirements for Newsgator Online to increase. Thus, in my view, the time to consider something else is at hand:

  • How to provide the users with a simple way to find all their folders

  • How to display this folder-list in an easily accessible way

  • How to work with mobile users in ensuring that the list-displays and XML-structures translate into something that works within a mobile platform

    It’s both a push- and pull-challenge for developers.

    Is there a problem now with Newsgator Online. Not at all. It’s still possible to file things. I imagine that one day, things will change. It will be simply a matter of time before the current folder-list changes.

    To what remains up to what the users and developers agree is most appropriate.

    I’m voting for pie charts with pop-up sub-circles for menu options. Anyone else?
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