Experiment 08 – New Compact Magazine View Option

Listening to the murmurs in the Lab Slack channel, it seems that controlling the density of the articles is important to the community. Some users like to see a mix of images with the article summary, some people prefer to see only text, some people want more density, some less. In Experiment 08, we took that feedback into account and added a new density preference which can be applied to text only, magazine, and card views. The result is more control over how you want to consume your feeds.

Note: The view and density settings can be configured for each source, feed, or board. There is also a global option in the app settings.

New icons

As part of Experiment 08, we are pushing out the new set of icons (designed by the talented Daniel Klopper)

Polish and bug fixes

The team also took advantage of the Experiment 08 build to fix the following bugs and rough edges:

  • Added button to go from no unread to all articles (Thank you Daron, John, Rogerio)
  • Return to feed list after swiping the last/first article (Thank you Peter & Scott)
  • We added support for Firefox and Chrome as favorite browsers on iOS (Thank you Donhack, Peter, Jon)
  • We fixed an authentication error related to trying to login to Google in a webview (Thank you P and Anks)
  • We fixed the iPad framing bug at first launch (Thank you Michal)
  • We fixed the image loading issue where sometimes the preview would show an image but not the opened article (Thank you Mark)
  • We fixed the long titles in header bug (Thank you Chip)
  • We improved the Youtube integration (Thank you Seb)
  • After refresh at the end of the Today page, we are not staying on the Today page (Thank you Paavo)
  • We added an option to open a source from an inlined article by tapping on the source name (Thank you Xeor)
  • Separated auto-mark as read between mobile and Web. You will have to re-select auto-mark as read on scroll in the mobile settings if you want to activate it.
  • Improved discover search auto-completion history experience (Thank you Jesse)
  • We polished the back mode of the paged scrolling option (Thank you #paged-scrolling)
  • We fixed the conflict between the text selection and the close gestures
  • Refreshing the All page after mark as read in the All page footer (Thank you Dallas)
  • Fixed rename source bug (Thank you Dallas)
  • Make discover language sticky (Thank you Eduardo)

Next: Switching the Classic App and the Lab App

The next two weeks are about fixing bugs and rough edges and getting to the point where we can replace the classic app with the new lab app. Your feedback is going to be extremely useful during that time. Once you have 48.0.2 installed, if you experience any bug or run into a part of the experience which does not feel polished, please add a message to the #bugs Slack channel. The dev team will be actively monitoring that channel and try to fix as many bugs and rough edges as possible.

Experiment 07 — iPad, Power Search, and Paged Scrolling

Experiment 07 comes with 5 different parts we want to share and discuss with you: iPad/Tablet Preview, Power Search, Settings, Paged Scrolling, and Pro upgrade – all on both Android and iOS.

iPad and Android Tablet

After twelve weeks of phone exploration, it is time to shift our focus to the tablet and see how some of the innovation translate to a bigger screen. In Experiment 07, we are sharing with you some ideas we have around how the iPad compact, text-only, magazine, and cards view might look like.

Questions for the community

Question 1 – Are you satisfied with how the new mobile views look on the iPad and Android Tablets?

Question 2 – Are you satisfied by the new navigation model and the side-by-side implementation?

We look forward to your feedback on the #ipad slack channel.

Power Search

Power Search is the ability for you to search for specific articles in your Feedly feeds and boards. You can think of it as a personalized search engine focusing only on the sources you trust. It is one of the top Feedly Pro features. In Experiment 07, we implemented a mobile-friendly version of the experience available on the Web.

Like on the Web, you can use operators (AND, OR, quotes, etc..) to refine your searches and use filters to narrow the result to the right sources, content time or popularity.

Questions for the Pro community

Question 3 – Are you satisfied with the new mobile Power Search user experience? Where you able to easily find a specific article in your Feedly?

Question 4 – Is there a feature we could add to Power Search to make it more useful to you?

Please join the 07-power-search channel on Slack if you would like to discuss the Power Search feature with the product team.

Settings

As part of the continuous polish effort, we added settings support. You can now access the settings panel from the bottom of the left navigation bar and customize: the theme, the start page, the auto-mark-as-read behavior, the default view, and many more features.

Paged-Scrolling

The lack of paged scrolling has been one of the biggest “snakes” in the new design. About 10 % of the users seem to prefer paged scrolling to the new smooth scrolling. We decided last week to try to understand more. We created a private Slack channel with the 75 people who were not satisfied with the new smooth scrolling. Through these conversations, we learned that what users really liked about the old experience is that it made it easy to not over-scroll or under-scroll and empowered users to scroll through content faster.

As part of Experiment 7, we are pushing out an idea a few users suggested: it would be nice to have a preference which would allow you to have some kind of intelligent scrolling that would automatically stop at the right place.

If you go to the new settings panel, you will see a “Paged” scrolling option that should allow you to play with this idea.

Question to the community

Question 5 – If you are part of the “I miss the old scrolling” camp, is this option enough to remove all the frustration caused by the lack of productivity? Let us know in the 01-scrolling channel

Upgrade to Pro

As part of Experiment 07, we now allow non-pro users to upgrade to Pro and either unlock some interesting feature or just back Feedly. To thank the Lab community, this mobile upgrade to Pro offers a free 30-day trial.

Question to the community

Question 6 – If you end up trying the upgrade experience, please let us know what you think and if there are friction points we could remove.

Question 7 – If you are not a Pro user, please let us know if there is a feature we could add to the Pro offering to inspire you to upgrade!

Please use the 08-pro Slack channel for all the Pro related conversations.

Next Three Weeks

The focus of the next 3 weeks is to finalize the iPad implementation and polish as much as we can.

Question 8 – If you still see any gaps preventing you from using the new Lab app as your primary reading/research experience, we would love to hear about them.

We would like to thank once again everyone in the Lab community for participating in this giant experiment and helping us design the best Feedly possible. Your feedback and ideas help us better understand how you use the product and how to optimize and refine our decisions.

-Edwin, Petr, and Emily

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative

Listening and learning – Article to article swipe

The Mobile+AI Lab is now 4,000 strong! It is an incredible learning opportunity for us. It feels great to see the community actively participate in the key design decisions.

The most popular feature request from the past 2 weeks is the ability to swipe between open articles.

John took some time this week to enable swiping in the Lab app. Now, when you have an article open, you can swipe to the previous or next article without having to go back to the list.

We are also taking advantage of this build to add some other feature requests and bug fixes.

Questions for the community

Question 1 – What are the missing features or design frustrations preventing you from switching to the Lab app from the old Feedly app? Please let us know in the #general channel of the Lab Slack.

Question 2 – Do you use Feedly on an iPad? Did you join the new #ipad channel on Slack?

Here is the detailed changelog:

  • Fixed “Edit source settings freeze” Thank you Paul Adams and DCDawg
  • Fixed “Nav bar is clipped on iPhone SE iOS 12” Thank you curiouscamilo and Heals
  • Fixed “Long press to open mark-as-read options on iPhone 6”
  • Removed “Second level hide gesture feels dangerous and confusing” Thanks JayDB
  • Added “Double tap to close an article”
  • Fixed “Honor visit website directly preference” Thank you Daron B, Dan Newman, Scott S.
  • Started “Landscape mode support” Thank you kolepard and Borja L.
  • Fixed “Amazon link crash” Thank you audioper
  • Fixed “Allow paste for the password in the Login screen and search screen” Thank you Patrick, Dwight McKay, Lars, sonofcy, Paul Adams
  • Fixed “Adding sources in discovery does not work” Thank you Alex Frances
  • Added “Define option to text selection menu”

-Edwin, Emily, and Petr

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative

Experience 06 – Discovery and the Web

We love the Web because it is an open and distributed network that offers everyone the freedom and control to publish and follow what matters to them.

We also love the web because it has enabled a new generation of content creators (Ben Thompson, Bruce Schneier, Tina Eisenberg, Seth Godin, Maria Popova, etc.). Those independent thinkers continuously explore the edge of the known and share insightful and inspiring ideas with their communities.

Connecting people to the best sources for the topics that matter to them has been core to our mission since the very start of Feedly.

But discovery is a hard problem. The web is organic, a reflection of the global community’s changing needs and priorities. There are millions of sources across thousands of topics and we all have a different appetite when it comes to feeding our minds.

About twelve months ago, we created a machine learning team to see if the latest progress in deep learning and natural language processing could help us crack this nut.

Today, we are excited to give you a preview of the result of that work with the release of the new discovery experience in the Feedly Lab app (Experience 06).

Two thousand topics

The first discovery challenge is to create a taxonomy of topics.

You can think of Feedly as a rich graph of people, topics, and sources. To build the right taxonomy, we started with the raw data on all of Feedly’s sources. We had to create a model to clean, enrich, and organize that data into a hierarchy of topics. Learn more about the data science behind this.

The result is a rich, interconnected network of two thousand English topics. And it’s mapped well with how people expect to explore and read on the Web.

Some topics are broad: tech, security, design, marketing. Some are very niche: augmented reality, malware, typography, or SEO.

On the discovery homepage, we showcase thirty topics based on popular industries, trends, skills, or passions. You can access all of the topics in Feedly via the search box.

The fifty most interesting sources

The second discovery challenge is to find the fifty most interesting sources someone researching any topic might want to follow.

Ranking sources is hard because not all sources are equal. In tech as an example, you have mainstream publications like The Verge or TechCrunch, expert voices like Ben Thompson, and lots of B-list noisy sources which don’t add much value.

In addition, for niche topics like virtual reality, some sources are specific to VR while others cover a range of related topics.

To solve this challenge, we created a model which looks at sources through three different lenses:

  • follower count
  • relevance (how focused is the source on the given topic)
  • engagement (a proxy for quality and attention)

The outcome is new search result cards. You can explore the fifty most interesting sources for a given topic and sort them using the lens that is most important to you.

Neighborhoods

One of the benefits of the new topic model is that the 2,000 topics are organized in a hierarchy. This makes it easy for you to zoom in or out and explore many different neighborhoods of the Web.

For example, from the cybersecurity topic, you can jump to a list of related topics that let you dig deeper into malware, forensics, or privacy.

One more thing…

We have done a lot of research over the last four years to understand how people discover new sources. One insight we learned is that people often co-read certain sources. For example, if you are interested in art, design, and pop culture and you follow Fubiz, there is a high chance that you also follow Designboom.

With that in mind, we spent some time creating a model that learns what sources are often co-read. The idea is that a user could enter a source that they love and discover another source they could pair it with.

You can learn more about the machine learning model (we call it feed2vec) powering this experience through the article Paul published here.

As a user, you can access this feature by searching in the discover page for a source you love to read. The result will be a list of sources which are often co-read with that source.

Thank you!

I would like to thank Paul, Michelle, Mathieu, and Aymeric for the great research work they did to take this project from zero to one. People who have tried to tackle discovery know that it is a very hard challenge and the results of this project have been very impressive.

We would also like to thank the community for participating in the Battle of the Sources experiment. Your input was key in helping us learn how to model the source ranking. We are going to continue to invest in discovery and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you.

We would also like to thank Dan Newman, Daron Brewood, Enrico, Joey, Lior, Paul Adams, Ryan Murphy, and Joseph Thornley from the Lab for reviewing an earlier version of this article.

Your turn

Pick a topic you are interested in or a source you love to read and try out the new discovery experience. We’d love to hear your feedback in the channel “06-discover” of the Lab Slack.

Question 1 – What topic or source did you search for?

Question 2 – Is there a topic you were looking for and you did not find?

Question 3 – Is the metadata about each source in the search result useful? Anything missing? Anything we could remove?

Question 4 – Did auto-completion work well for you?

Question 5 – Were you satisfied with the quality of the results?

Question 6 – Did the ranking seem intuitive?

Question 7 – Did the related topics seem relevant?

Question 8 – Is there a feature you would like to see add

-Edwin, Emily, and Petr

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative

Bug Hunt Week

The Mobile+AI Lab community is now 392 people strong!

This move to a more open and transparent process has been extremely rewarding: we are collecting great ideas and getting instant feedback on some of the bolder changes we are exploring. (See the detailed changelog below.)

We are also getting a lot of great bug reports. Thank you!

Our focus over the past 10 days was to address those bugs and polish the new experience (including scrolling, navigation, views, mark-as-read options, and night mode) so that we have a solid foundation to invite more people to the Lab and explore new ideas.

Three questions for the community:

Question 1: We did some night mode color tuning. Better? If not, can you please let us know 1/ if there is a specific part of the theme we need to refine, and 2/ what is your luminosity level?

Question 2: Are there other bugs you would like us to fix? Please post them in the “bugs” channel in Slack.

Question 3: Is there a missing feature which is not currently in the Trello roadmap that is preventing you from adopting the new app? Please post it in the “general” channel.

We love building the new Feedly in the open and look forward to the next 12 weeks!

Here is a more detailed changelog for this week’s bug hunt:

  • Scroll and tap to open conflict (via Jesse Flanagan, John, and Kireet)
  • Empty screen when loading an article after switching app (via Ryan)
  • Improve scrolling performance (via Chad Hudson and Cyril)
  • Double tap on selected bottom tab bar should scroll to the top (via Lior)
  • Contextual mark as read copy improvement (mark all as read versus mark current top articles as read)
  • Mark as read missing items (via Dan Newman)
  • Mark as read and refresh of the All section (via Eric L.)
  • Move to next feed and gray out articles after Mark all as read (via Serge Courrier)
  • Night mode: Improve the brightness/contrast of the mark-as-read notification (via Dan Newman)
  • Night mode: Better read vs unread distinction (via Lee Sprung)
  • Night mode: Article separators (via Daniel)
  • Read later tab is not selected (via Lior)
  • Toggle read later bug (via Lior)
  • Do not automatically mark-as-read articles that the user manually kept unread (via Gabe)
  • Auto-mark-as-read-on-scroll: improvements regarding marking-as-read the last articles on the page
  • Refresh automatically when the user launches the app after minutes (via sryo)
  • Speed up the close animation (Aaron M.)
  • Make compact view even more compact by inlining the source and date metadata
  • Mark-all-as-read button at the end of a list of articles
  • Second level left-to-right gesture to trigger the save to board action (via Eiselch)
  • Progress circle needs to be reset after changing sort or layout preference (via John)

Thank you for your time and participation.

If you aren’t yet part of the Lab and you would like to participate, you can join here.

Experiment 05 — Night Mode

Some of you really love to read Feedly at night, or you prefer to read in night mode all day. In Mobile+AI Lab Experiment 05, we have a new night mode theme that turns Feedly into a friendly low-light experience.

To turn on night mode, open the left navigation bar, scroll to the bottom, and tap on “night mode.”

Two questions for the community:

Question 1. For those of you who like the dark mode, does the contrast we offer in this first iteration align with what you expect?

Question 2. Did you see any theme-related bugs? Any parts we missed that are still displaying day mode when you have night mode selected?

Looking forward to seeing you on channel 05-night-mode of the Feedly Lab Slack.

-Edwin, Emily, and Petr

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative

Experiment 04 — Mark As Read

We collected lots of great insights in the last four weeks on people’s mark-as-read workflows. In Experience 04, we are adding to the lab application five different ways to mark articles as read.

Option 1. Tap on the check button on the top right of the page to mark the content of the page a read

Option 2. Long press on an article and mark the items before or after that article as read

Option 3. Use the swipe from right to left to mark a specific article as read (extend the gesture and hide the article)

Option 4. If you have auto-mark as read on scroll configured on Feedly Web, that setting will now be honored in the Lab app and articles will get automatically marked as read as you scroll. You can configure auto-mark-as-read on-scroll in this preference section

Option 5. At the end of each source and feed, there is a button to let you mark the articles you reviewed as read (and jump to the next source of feed)

Finally, we fixed the swipe-to-close article bug (and added a symmetric gesture for people who prefer to swipe from the right)

Three questions for the community:

Question 1. Do the 2-level swipe left to “mark-as-read and hide” feel natural?

Question 2. Do these 5 mark as read options cover all your needs?

Question 3. What would be the top 1 or 2 features you would like to see added over the next 4 weeks for the Lab app to become your default reader?

We created the Feedly Lab to give a voice to the community and make our development process more collaborative and transparent. So far the conversations have been very rewarding and insightful. Thank you!

Looking forward to your input on this new experience on channel 04 of the Feedly Lab Slack.

-Edwin, Emily, and Petr

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative

Experiment 02 — Title-only, Magazine, and Card Views

We all have different preferences when it comes to the layout of the lists of articles we skim. Some people prefer text only, some prefer large images, some prefer a mix of both. We created different views to let you personalize Feedly to what works best for you.

The purpose of Experiment 2 is to give the community the opportunity to provide feedback and help tune the designs.

Use the […] button on the top right of the Today view to customize the view and test different layouts.

Questions for the community:

Question 1. What do you think of the choice of the font and font-size? Are the lists easy to skim?

Question 2. In the new magazine view, we moved the images to the right to have a better alignment when some articles don’t have images. Does that work for you?

Question 3. Are you satisfied with the layout and density of the title-only view?

Question 4. Are you satisfied with the amount of metadata we surface in the article list? Do you have enough information to determine if an article is worth opening?

Question 5. Do you have any additional feedback on how we could make these views more useful and productive for you?

Looking forward to talking more about this in the Lab Slack channel!

What did we learn from Experiment 01 – smooth scrolling?

We want to thank the 200+ people who installed the Lab app and joined the Lab Slack. Your feedback and bug reports have been super useful.

We fixed most of the bugs as part of the new experience.

We also asked the design team to explore the two most pressing issues reported by the community: 1/ the ability to mark articles in batch and 2/ re-enforcing the feeling that the today page is not infinite. We will start sharing some design ideas on Slack shortly.

-Edwin

Love the Web? Love reading? Join the Feedly Mobile+AI Lab initiative