Like some people, i was until recently using Google reader to gather, organize and read my rss feeds. But the anouncement by Google to shut it down on july 1st of this year made me look for an alternative. After some searches, i came across a Google doc by Paul Bradshaw named “Alternatives to Google Reader”. It’s a pretty complete spreadsheet about the options available out there. And after a bit of reading i decided to go for Feedly:
And damn, it’s very neat!
First of all, the transition between my Google reader account and Feedly has been super fast and easy. No need to export/import the feeds via xml. It went all automatic once you add the app to chrome. It even kept my feeds organized by folder as i had in reader.
The overall design is very clean and similar to reader, folders and feeds on the left, the content in the middle. Much less distractions. The search option is kind of a bit hidden on the top right corner with the icon being half cut by going under the central area. Not so sure it was the best ux idea.
There are quite some options available to customize the interface. A very useful one in my opinion is the color of the unread items. Icons are clean and intuitive and you can choose between different kinds of views: title only, like on the picture above, magazine, cards and full. I personaly like the title only as it’s faster to load and much more straight to the point than an image.
The negative side that is bugging me a bit is that the left sidebar could benefit a bigger contrast in my opinion between the text and the background. It’s nice but the focus should be readability. You can change the background color by clicking on the “themes” button at the bottom of the sidebar but an input for an hex color would have been better in my opinion in the options.
A big positive point is the ability to only display the unread items, rather and the unread and the older ones. Much faster loading. You got a “Giant mark as read” button to tell feedly that this group has been seen. Super fast and easy! It can of course be disabled.
Another cool feature is the fact that when you are in one folder, click on one feed (in the sidebar), scan /read the feeds unread and click the huge button, you’ll automatically be directed to the next feed. No need to do it manualy. Neat.
The whole app is responsive (but not the main site. A work in progress?) and there’s of course an app for ios and android. I didn’t test much the app but here’s a screenshot of the site at a smaller resolution.
You can also share the articles directly to twitter, facebook and so on, save for later and add tags to some articles to organize even more your feeds for later.
And there it goes. I’m really enjoying it so far and wanted to share that impression.