April 25, 2003 | Category:

RSS Newspapers

Don Park is working on a newspaper UI for RSS feeds.

While this is a powerful interface in terms of familiarity and makes an excellent metaphor in terms of gathering news from a global source, perhaps it’s too stylised.

Newspapers cram a lot of information (most of which is filler) into a very small space. The amount of actual amount of raw wanted content by any given reader is minimal (put your hand up if you only read the cartoon strips). The same can’t be said of custom RSS feed generated newspapers. People would only choose to include the content they wanted, so the crowded “interface” becomes slightly redundant.

What might be better is to generate custom web pages based on user templates. I’d rather read content in a web interface that I’ve tweaked for myself than in a automatically generated paper. I know that I’m probably in the minority on that point though, being a web designer does that, but given a reasonable bunch of pre-built templates I can see more users wanting to do this.

Besides, newspaper type-setting (and layout)is an enormously difficult job. People get paid huge sums of money to do it and I don’t think anyone could create an RSS aggregator front-end sophisticated enough to replicate the effect.

But please, Don, prove me wrong. I’d love to see it anyway.

While I’m on the subject, my current RSS aggregator is the wonderful NNTPRSS which hooks into newsgroup readers. This might not be the best interface for normal web users, but for people who are constantly on usenet then it’s fantastic.

Original article Via Stuart Langridge