Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life – The Problem With RSS Readers Inspired By Outlook

Posted by shannonclark on May 19, 2005

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life – The Problem With RSS Readers Inspired By Outlook

I tried to post the following to Dare’s blog, getting an error when I do however.

There are some categories of information we call get you missed:

– SPAM – I get a lot of this, spam filters get rid of much of it, blacklist kills most of it on my blogs, but some still gets through

– Low priority emails – events coming up months from now, amusing articles from friends, general reference articles etc

– High priority emails – changes of location/time for an upcomming meeting, question from my girlfriend, news from family or friends, inquiries about possible projects, responses to proposals or requests, etc (generally speaking a response to what I wrote – a reply to an email, comments/trackbacks about a comment/post I wrote etc should get high priority

On Bloglines – I love it, use it all the time, but there is one feature I wish worked better.

Specifically, I wish that when I “mark something as new” (i.e. keep it around in my primary view) I could do so in way that would behave differently from “new” as in “unseen” messages.) Yes they have a clippings folder/blog which can be used to move items and store them – but since I view the updated page all the time (since it changes) while only view my archives (saved items) very rarely this goes unused by me mostly.

Which brings me to a key point:

– we visit and monitor those views which can CHANGE. When they do, we need ways to quickly and reliably see what HAS CHANGE/IS NEW. (this btw is why I often don’t like WIKI’s takes a different view and a lot of work to see what is new and changed)

Think about your calendar. If, like many of us, you are the only person who adds items to your calendar then no matter how often you do so, your calendar is unlikely to be a view you visit frequently and often, probably just in the morning when you see what you have planned for the day, perhaps during the day as you add notes, new appointments etc.

However, if you are in an environment (usually a corporate environment) where your calendar is open and other people (assistants, co-workers, bosses, perhaps even clients) can add items and schedule you, then you very likely monitor and view your calendar on a regular and very frequent basis. That view has to show you quickly and easily what is happening, possible conflicts, and perhaps visually highlight “new” items (perhaps “tentative” items) etc.

Generally speaking when we (as developers) design tools we should think about why would users visit and use the tool? If it is “just” for themselves with only content they create then the tool will work and serve one set of purposes, useful perhaps but vitally different than if the tool involves the pushing of content down to the user – then the user has to have ways to work within the tool over time (modern email clients make it easy to see what is a “new” message vs an old message, though many don’t clearly show “new” vs. “unread”)

Hope this helps,

Shannon

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