Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Help digg this submission: 25x nicer way to read digg (aesthetically speaking…) Jan 19 2007

If you like what I’ve been working on for RSS2.com, feel free to digg this submission and help get it linked on the home page. Let’s see if we can melt the server. 🙂

This new RSS feed aggregator site makes reading sites like digg fast and easy, with no clutter or distractions. There are 690 other feeds to read that are also available on the site. A really good resource for finding fresh new stories, focused on technology, design, and cool hunting.

read more | digg story

Digg it!

Sweet new RSS2.com feature: Custom RSS Feed Stats Badges Jan 19 2007

New RSS2.com feature: embeddable RSS stats badges!

You can now see stats for each feed on RSS2.com and grab the HTML code to embed a neat small badge that shows you how many times the feed has been read on RSS2.com, how many people have favorited it and how many items are available to read on RSS2.com. The badges are displayed at the bottom of every feed page.

Here’s my stats badge:

Site icon Gabriel

RSS FEED STATS POWERED BY RSS2.com

Check it out: RSS Stats

Chickenfoot – Firefox extension to automate web tasks with Javascript in your browser Jan 18 2007

This looks pretty neato.

Chickenfoot is a Firefox extension that puts a programming environment in the browser’s sidebar so you can write scripts to manipulate web pages and automate web browsing. In Chickenfoot, scripts are written in a superset of Javascript that includes special functions specific to web tasks.

Check it out: Chickenfoot

(Via the Lifehacker RSS feed at RSS2.com)

RSS2.com – Really Simple News For You Jan 18 2007

Rember me signing now works on RSS2.com

I just added another nice feature to RSS2.com: Persistent user sign in. This means that you won’t have to keep on logging in every time you restart your browser. Click the “Remember me” checkbox to stay signed in for the next 100 days.

This will become more important as new user-focused features are added to the site.

Check it out: RSS2.com – Really Simple News For You

Update on recent enhancements added to RSS2.com Jan 16 2007

I’ve made a bunch of improvements to RSS2.com lately:

All feeds in RSS2.com

Feeds
You can now view all feeds in the system by going to the http://rss2.com/feeds/ page.

Paging has arrived - RSS2.com
Paging
You can now page through older items than just the latest 10 items. This is a pretty nice enhancement. This way you can get caught up.

Now featuring 30 favorites

Top 30
The top 30 most popular feeds are now displayed instead of just the top 25.

OPML Export - RSS2.com

OPML Export
If you want to grab a copy of the OPML file that contains all of the subscribed feeds you can get it on the feeds page.

Latest stats:

RSS2.com stats

Also on the technical backend, I improved the speed of a couple of the SQL queries and also implemented 301 redirects for any requests made to www.rss2.com (meaning that if a user types in www.rss2.com they’ll be redirected to rss2.com without the www). Paging nerdly McNerdlington…

Visit RSS2.com and experience “Really Simple News For You”

Working at Vibe on Photoshop screenshot prototypes for the next version of VibeTV for a couple of days… Jan 5 2007

Going from pen and paper scribbles to finished Photoshop paper prototype

I’ve been working at Vibe Solutions Group again for a couple of days on Photoshop screenshot comps for some enhancements to their cool new video aggregator product called VibeTV.

You can see an example of the current version of VibeTV here: http://vibejournal.com/gabriel/tv/

The process that we’ve been going through is something like this:

  1. New features are conceptually developed (this was mostly done before I came in earlier this week.) This probably includes whiteboard drawings, vigorous discussions and figuring out business requirements.
  2. Pen and paper sketches of how the new features might work are done to provide an overall direction. This shows proposed locations of buttons, tabs, general layout. It is very loose and free-form. Often times a template page is scribbled out and then is photocopied many times to allow rapid drawing of design variations without having to re-draw the same elements over and over again.
  3. Photoshop work begins, fleshing out the concepts developed in the whiteboard and paper drawing stages. This is a critical step in the paper prototyping process that allows final design decisions to be made and where the ‘rubber meets the road’ — concepts that looked good on paper get realized in pixels and reality begins to happen.
  4. Screenshots are printed out to a color printer and are shown and iterations are done, moving and tweaking elements until the overall design feels right and fits together.
  5. Once the screenshots are finished and approved, final graphics can be prepared and delivered, ready for the developers to implement into code.
  6. The final screenshots are also used in the Product Requirements Document (PRD) to show everyone what the final application is actually supposed to look like. This can serve as an invaluable reference tool for everyone during the application development process because everyone is able to look at the finished picture of what they are trying to build.
  7. Photoshop source files are provided to allow further refinements to be made as necessary
  8. Eventually after the developers have had time to build the application functionality, the new application is released! Celebration time.

I’ll post a link to the updated application once they’ve finished coding the new features and there’s something new to look at.

You can hire me to do this for you too

If you need Photoshop screenshots showing what a web application could look like that can be used for final production-ready graphics, drop me a line. I charge reasonable rates and enjoy the process of collaboration and helping people achieve their design goals.

I can work with you wherever you are with your idea, whether you have just a blue-sky idea or a back of the napkin sketch or detailed use-flow diagrams or even an existing product that you want to freshen up or redesign for better usability.

If you would be interested in my services, don’t hesitate to email me at: gserafini [at] gmail.com

More updates and improvements have been made to RSS2.com Jan 2 2007

I’ve recently made some more nice refinements to RSS2.com:

Recent Updates

  • Removed the voting links. There are TONS of places where you can register your approval or disapproval. A new site only has about 5 seconds to make a good impression. I had to decide whether voting on each entry as being good or bad was more or less important than giving my users (readers) what I really want to give them — the very best, low-resource requiring feed reading process. RSS2.com isn’t particularly optimized for people who obsessively catalogue every single thing they ever see on the net. For those people, there is digg, reddit.com, del.icio.us and a gobzillion other sites out there to help you keep track of things. RSS2.com is about giving you the ideal reading experience for reading what everyone else has blogged about and has published into their own RSS feed. Asking people to vote for individual entries seemed like too much work, and even I didn’t really use the feature that much. So, bye bye voting on individual entries for now. I’ll probably implement some click-tracking so that I can show people which entries were the most interesting or are the most interesting right now.
  • RSS feeds are now auto-discoverable. On every feed page, the source RSS feed is included in the <head> as a <link rel="..." /> tag. This means that if someone sees a feed that they want to subscribe to in another feed reader, they can do so easily (particularly using a browser like Safari or Firefox that makes auto-subscription to a discovered RSS feed easy). Also, the source feed URL is always shown in the Feed Info section of the feed page so you can copy/paste the link as well if you like.
  • Front page is a modified ‘river’ of news. The home page now features the one latest entry from the most recently updated feeds with a link to read the rest of the feed. This keeps a site like, for example, digg that publishes many new homepage stories every hour from dominating the whole homepage with entries as would happen in a river of news implementation that just published all of the latest items from all feeds at once. I know this because that is how I coded it the first time, and one site often dominated the entire homepage. Now you can get a sampling of a variety of different feeds that are fresh and current right now right on the homepage.
  • Mobile Palm Treo Edition Originally I designed the main HTML template for RSS2.com to be friendly to both mobile devices and to regular desktop web browsers. This led to tradeoffs for both browsers. In the next redesign I took the step of optimizing the page design for desktop web browsers, since they currently account for the majority of the page views and traffic to the site. I have a Treo 700p, however, and wasn’t really happy with the mobile web browsing experience. So, I added a check for Palm browsers and improved the reading experience if you are using a Treo to read RSS2.com by stripping out the stylesheet (for now) and reducing the number of graphics, keeping the focus on reading feeds (where it should be).
  • More favorites. There are now 25 feed favorites listed at the top of the page instead of only 15. It is enough that you can quickly check many different popular sites without getting overwhelmed by every feed in the system.
  • Changed tagline I changed the tagline (again) to be: “Read everyone’s news.” This better reflects the intent of the site — to become a place to get lost in content without distractions. Like a good book or an old-fashioned newspaper, where the story is more important than the advertisements. In today’s mental environment, I think providing a service that cuts down distractions has some value. I already like reading some sites better this way than going directly to them (in this way RSS2.com is just another RSS feed aggregator) but unlike most other aggregators there is no guilt factor when you haven’t read every item in a feed. It is easy, simple, fun, delightful. (See rightsumi for more of the overall design principles I’m trying to express in this project.)

Future Plans

Lots more features planned for this budding web application, including in no particular order:

  • OPML support. This is a no-brainer, and will make RSS2.com play nicely with other RSS feed reading applications. You will be able to both import and export all of your favorite feeds in OPML format.
  • Ability to read older items. This will allow you to browse through more than just the 10 latest entries in each feed. I’ll probably also add a feature where you can read a feed from the oldest entry through to the most current instead of the current standard default of reverse-chronological order
  • Ability to create named ‘rivers’ of feeds This will go hand-in-hand with OPML support, but will allow users to create their own version of the main homepage and publish that to share with others.
  • Better support for other mobile browsers I’ve found some good resources for identifying mobile and phone browsers to enable delivering a more optimized experience for them. This would include building a WAP version of RSS2.com to deliver the ideal RSS feed reading experience for all devices. This is a little bit in the future right now. If I get requests for this it will probably move up in the priority list…

So far I’m really happy with how quickly RSS2.com seems to be gaining exposure with more and more new users every day. It is growing and that is exciting and motivating to keep on improving it.

If you have any suggestions for future features or ways to improve the user experience even more, please leave a comment or send me an email: gserafini [at] gmail.com.

Cheers.

RSS2.com new design is live! Dec 27 2006

RSS2.com screenshot

RSS2.com new design is live! – Individual feed page, originally uploaded by gserafini.

I’m pleased to announce the release of a major facelift for RSS2.com – the site that makes reading a feed easier than ever. The new design places emphasis on easy reading of content – using Georgia as the default reading font, em sizing so that fonts can be increased or decreased properly in all browsers, the ability to vote an entry up or down and thereby influence the RSS feed score for a given RSS feed.

The feed featured in this screenshot is by Waxy.org.

Here is the RSS2.com link for Waxy’s link RSS feed: http://rss2.com/feeds/Waxy.org-Links

You can create a user account in seconds and begin adding and reading your favorite feeds. Coming up next is OPML support for both importing and exporting lists of RSS feeds.

Check it out: RSS2.com

Collabofit weight trend graph Dec 8 2006



Collabofit weight trend graph, originally uploaded by gserafini.

Going in a positive direction, I’m happy to say. Check out Collabofit Online Fitness for more.

Also, if you’d like an invite to join Collabofit which is still in an invitation-only beta state, send me an email with your email address and I’ll hook you up. gserafini@gmail.com.

New release of Collabofit Online Fitness – Your Online Fitness Club Dec 6 2006

We’re pleased to announce a new release of Collabofit – Version 1.1.

There are a number of new features and lots of bug fixes. Check it out.

Collabofit Online Fitness – Your Online Fitness Club



sell diamonds