20 May 2013

So I gave Feedly a try…

Feedly-for-Chrome-subscriptions-panelLong story short, I uninstalled it after about 15 minutes. I tried it a couple of times before and never got along with their ‘design-overload’. Unfortunately nothing has changed since:

  • Every where you turn there is an animation in the way: hover over articles in ‘Title view’ and a row of sharing icons slide in from the right. There are animations when you open and close articles, when you hover over the menu button, when you expand categories. Of course, there is no way to turn all these distractions off.
  • Speaking of sharing icons, why do we need them in title view? Am I supposed to share articles without reading them? I can already do that on Twitter, I don’t need a RSS reader for it.
  • The most annoying interface decision for me is hiding the subscriptions panel. I switch between feeds dozens of times a day and in Google Reader this takes just a click. In Feedly on the other hand I need to hover over the menu, expand the category I want and then open a feed – that’s two or three actions every time I want to read something else! Or I could go to the ‘Index’, but that’s inconveniently placed at the bottom of the panel, so I would have to scroll all the way there and it would still take three clicks every time.
    I noticed later that the panel stays visible if you maximize the browser window. But that makes absolutely no sense, it’s just another example of bad experience for the sake of pretty design. When you expand full articles, they are confined to the center of the screen anyway, so there would be plenty of room to show the left panel all the time. I suspect some eager designer wanted to slap on a nice piece of ‘responsiveness’ without thinking about how people actually use the product.
  • I also dislike how Feedly implemented the subscription list: if you have just a couple of feeds in a category you will see read feeds together with unread ones – which is useless, since I rarely want to check sources with no new articles. If you have many more feeds you get a link with ‘x more sources’ at the bottom that reveals – surprise! – feeds with no new items! I can’t see any logic behind this, read sources can be easily found in ‘Index’, there is no need to take up space here!

Feedly may have a nice-looking user interface, but the user experience is lousy. If this is the best replacement, I would rather move to and save myself the headaches. Fortunately Google Reader still has about a month to live and I hope to see the Digg alternative launched by then. Or I could start paying 2$/month for Feedbin, who looks much closer to the simple and efficient Reader experience than Feedly.

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