A few suggestions in regard to usability and layout

Before I begin, please note:
*I’m a premium subscriber based entirely on what I see as the potential to create something great.
* I’ve got a few years behind me in regard to UI and usability.
* All of my suggestions are meant in the spirit of creativity - NOT criticism. Samuel has done an incredible job and his accomplishments are mmd-blowing.

All of that said, just a few random thoughts, based on using the DEV site this evening. Again - not criticism, just a few ideas.

PS: Excuse typos, I’m a tiny bit dyslexic.

* There should be tooltips displayed over all site related images. They would be handy for quick reference…even as alt-text. If nothing else, it would aid in accessibility (which will be an issue if NB gets big enough).

* When viewing a full folder stream , how about being able to unsubscribe from a site directly from the items title, i.e., clicking ‘My Site Name - All the news that I print’ would offer the site management menu instead of taking us out of reading mode and showing only this feed?
Perhaps single click = menu, double = go to feed?

* How about moving the Train/Save/Share block into the date/author area - would need to be static to accommodate tags, but perhaps just to the right of the date; I think that icon only w/ tooltips or small labels below them?
It would save a lot of space and make these functions more readily available and recognizable to users, as well as making the gray box distinguishable from feed content.

* In the same vein, some icon suggestions:
—Train: dunce cap/something teacher/school related - maybe a book w/ a ruler? If you want to be clever - a train (sigh)!
Although what we’re actual calling ‘training’ is simply choosing tagging metadata (author, topic, site). In other parts of the site these items are ‘Focus’. Maybe relinquish that terminology and go with ‘Smart tags’ or some variation thereof?

That’s a term more people are becoming familiar with in different OS’. And ‘training’ and ‘smart folders’ make a cohesive connection.

So the workflow would be ‘Click Train/User picks a tag/tag is added to a smart folder’. At the bottom of the left navbar, we then have ‘All/Unread/Trained’ (or some variation of that language. Oh no, how many languages are currently supported? Are you using localization variables on the website?).

– Save: Clock doesn’t make sense? Definetly not a floppy but perhaps a folder icon?
– Share: would dare say use the industry standard ( http://j.mp/18ghqfL )

* Speaking of sharing…
-Email sharing - grab the entire text version if possible.
Subject = story title
Body = Site link, blurblog link, then story text
Bottom or top = ‘Sent via Newsblur’ blurb and NB home link

-Twitter and FB sharing: if you point users back to individual blurblogs, you’re going to catch hell from site owners. I think it’s only fair to send them the traffic directly. Maybe ‘title - link via @newsblur’ as the shared text. It might take a bit of truncation coding but that’s not as complex as fighting with pissed off site owners.


That’s kinda all I have for now. I have high hopes for this project and want it to succeed. If there’s anything Ic an do to help, please let me know (even it is shutting up and letting you do your job)!

If you have any questions or comments about the above, let me know - I’ll follow this thread or you can find me on NB as @mcdev (also twitter, same name).

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A secondary thought on the structure of ‘Focus’ or ‘Trained’ or ‘Smart Tags’.

Right now, if I select an Author, it shows in the Focus pane as:
–SiteName (All posts by author on that site)

Whereas it could be setup in a hierarchy like::
—Author1 on site1
—Author1 on site2
—Author1 on site3
—Author2 on site1
—Author2 on site2
—Author2 on site3

–Cheese (stories about cheese)
–Bread (stories about bread)
–Meats (stories about meats)


Lots of great feedback here.

You can right-click on a site title, whether in the feed list or the story titles list, to get the feed management menu.

You can train a story by clicking on the tags/author. But you can’t share a story until you’ve read it, which is why it’s at the bottom. And that space on the right is intentional. It was actually there before the buttons took that space. It’s where you mouse sits while reading a story.

Also, I dislike the idea of calling something smart. Training fits, and it’s all part of a puzzle that you piece together. The semiotics of NewsBlur’s iconography suggests that people use the color and shape of the icon, not necessarily the literal meaning of the picture, to remember its functionality. Training is not canonical, so there is no canonical icon. Therefore, the next best thing is a strong shape and color, and the puzzle piece fits that well.