uReader: In Context RSS Reader

An RSS reader for FireFox that maintains context as you read.

Team

Chad Camara, CJ Page, Matt Snyder, Thalith Nasir

Duration

2 weeks

Problem Space

Current incarnations of RSS readers leave one key aspect of the browsing experience: the context within which each blog post lives in. Thus the unique identifying aspects of each blog (branding, colors, style) is stripped away making each blog homogenous to a certain extent. Our challenge is to maintain context within the browsing experience while keeping the advantages of RSS readers.

Another problem is one of disconnect. When users leave the reader to view comments to a post, they are taken to the blog in its original context. However, this leaves the user disoriented as they have to removed from the RSS reader. In order to resume reading, they have to go back to the RSS reader.

Design Approach

We developed personas after identifying two primary types of users from our secondary research. One persona reflected an active user, someone who reads several blogs, actively participates by commenting on blog posts. The other, depicted a more casual blog consumer who reads a lot but rarely offers comments. We used these personas throughout our design process.

When brainstorming, there were some core ideas that we wanted to keep in mind as we moved forward. One, keeping the feature set small. Focusing on a few things and doing it well. Two, integrating it into Firefox so that it becomes a part of the browser. This influenced the UI design and style.

Design Solution

Our solution integrates the RSS reading experience into the browser itself. Visiting your newsfeed should not be a separate act of going to the RSS reader. Instead, browsing to a blog that you subscribe to would enable you to track posts you've read within it as well as leave comments on the fly.
We took a minimalist approach to the UI, honing in on the core features that our personas would use. Thus, Cliff and Stacy, can easy track posts they've read, comments they've made and also keep up with conversations from several blogs.

The iPhone version takes advantage of the mobility that comes along with such a device. Cliff loves to comment but considering the iPhone isn't ideal for writing long posts, he's able to flag posts to comment on later, when he has access to his computer.

Methods Used

Personas, Brainstorming, Sketching, Paper Prototyping, Evaluation

Deliverables

Design Document (pdf/53KB)

iPhone Sketches

Screen Mockup 1

Screen Mockup 2

Usability Evaluation

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