Feedly - Its been around for a long time sitting in the background offering an alternative to the now doomed Google Reader. Until recently it was just another RSS news aggregation front end, hinging off the excellence that we feed junkies came to love from Google.
On the 1st of July, 2013 Google will shut the doors on Google Reader, many have pined for it to continue, even spawning a petition that currently has 152,413 supporters who have signed at the time of writing this post.
When Google announced that it was shutting the doors on its feed reader we were shocked, but Feedly rapidly stood in much to the rejoice of many, many people.
In the process they outed an internal project called Normandy, a clone of the Google Reader API. With over 3 million new users since March 14th I’m sure that scaling their service is just one of the biggest challenges along with user experience. But it is not scalability that is the problem… it is the user experience where Feedly is failing.
Let me explain.
Feedly looks great, it really does. Its interface is clean, defined and reasonably well structured. Where it falls down is how it handles the presentation of feeds. Sure you get the information presented to you in several snappy designs (one even emulating the feel of Google Reader), but when you have quite a lot of feeds it becomes clunky to navigate.
Another issue that plagues Feedly is the duplication of feed imagery, stories often have unrelated images attached to the post thumbnails both on the desktop and Android client.
The user experience issues are only compounded by a search function that doesn’t do quite what you think it should. It searches for new content, like sites to add, yet totally fails to search your existing feeds for the content you want to read. Not surprisingly this is one of the features that Google Reader absolutely nailed, it is a product from a company with a track record in search after all.
The final nail in the coffin (for me at least) is the Android client, sure it looks great and allows me to consume my Feedly managed feeds. However, when the client asks you to login and re-authenticate more often than not you start to ask the question if Feedly really is the Google Reader alternative that will inherit the crown.
To be entirely cliché, I really do think that Feedly has been the victim of its own success. What the people at Feedly need to do is learn to walk before they run, yes its nice to have a pretty interface but when the user experience gets in the way of its reason for being it can surround a potentially excellent product with the funk of disappointment.
We can only watch and hope that they hammer out the kinks and manage to put up a truly excellent service come the day that Google finally shuts the doors on Reader once and for all.
Have an opinion about Feedly or Google Reader? Hit me up in the comments!