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1st March, 2016  

Byte Sized Content Consumption – Flaws and Merits

By Asmita Misra

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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.

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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.

 

About Asmita Misra : The go to girl at Imaginea Design Labs

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