1st March, 2016
I was going through my favourite byte size content app and something kept bugging me every-time I used it. Let me begin with stating that I spend too much time on my Instagram feed. And when the feed runs dry and I’m all caught up with the people that I follow, I feel the need to switch to another app. This is not because I’m bored of Instagram, but because I start seeing photos that I saw the last time I was on Instagram. After seeing 2 or 3 of these posts in my usual quick scrolling manner, I start getting a deja vu, till quickly I realise,”oh I saw this yesterday”. That trigger tells me there’s nothing new to see here and I change over to Twitter.
Its even easier to scroll through very quickly on my Twitter feed (maybe I follow too few people? At 500 follows, I didn’t think so) and I ultimately end up having the same experience as at Insta. But I didn’t pay much attention to this flaw in my experience until I came upon my new favourite app which helps me kill time without feeling like I wasted it: “Inshorts”, previously “news in shorts”.
After catching up with Twitter and Insta, I still have some time left to read up the news on Inshorts. (in my defence I spend too much time travelling to and from work) but here as well, after going through the 60–70 new articles since my last time, I end up reading stuff I have seen before. This after I intentionally mark each news item read by swiping to the next.
Question: why does it show me the news I’ve already read before?
I would imagine that the idea of these reverse chronologically arranged content apps is to keep its user updated with topics/people of their interest. If your idea is to make people spend only enough time on the app as is necessary then once I finish catching up, it should tell me so.
But, if your user is willing to spend more time on the app, then you should allow for that. For an app like Inshorts its pretty easy too. Because I willing dismiss each article as I move onto the next one. It’s not too difficult to have an “all” v/s “unread” feed, is it? The way I see it is that each news item I have read should disappear from my feed the next time I open the app. Once I’m done reading all the new articles, it should show a quick indication of that and move on to the older articles that I missed out on reading previously. And there should be a none obtrusive tab/ button on top nav bar which leads me to all the (read+unread) news articles for my feed arranged simply chronologically. Simple.
What’s your take?
I intentionally didn’t include Facebook in this semi-rant because their feed takes into account too many factors for individual user before populating and that’s a different ball game.
This blog was originally published at Medium on 3rd Feb.