One of the things I’d love to see pop up out of the discovery explorations of the IndieWeb or some of the social readers in the space is the ability to uncover some of this social reading information. Toward this end I thought I’d collect some user interface examples of things that border on this sort of data to make the brainstorming and building of such functionality easier in the near future.
If I’m missing useful examples or you’d like to add additional thoughts, please feel free to comment below.
Examples of social reading user interface for discovery
I don’t often search for reading material directly, but Google has a related bit of UI indicating that I’ve visited a website before. I sort of wish it had the ability to surface the fact that I’ve previously read or bookmarked an article or provided data about people in my social network who’ve done similarly within the browser interface for a particular article (without the search.) If a browser could use data from my personal website in the background to indicate that I’ve interacted with it before (and provide those links, notes, etc.), that would be awesome!
I’ll note here that because of the way I bookmark or post reads on my own website, my site often ranks reasonably well for those things.
In some cases, others who are posting about those things (reading, commenting, bookmarking, liking, etc.) in my social network also show up in these sorts of searches. How cool would it be to have a social reader that could display this sort of social data based on people it knows I’m following?
Hypothes.is is a great open source highlighting, annotation, and bookmarking tool with a browser extension that shows an indicator of how many annotations appear on the page. In my experience, higher numbers often indicate some interesting and engaging material. I do wish that it had a follower/following model that could indicate my social sphere has annotated a page. I also wouldn’t mind if their extension “bug” in the browser bar had another indicator in the other corner to indicate that I had previously annotated a page!
It doesn’t do it until after-the-fact, but Reading.am has a pop up overlay through its browser extension. It adds me to the list of people who’ve read an article, but it also indicates others in the network and those I’m following who have also read it (sometimes along with annotations about their thoughts).
What I wouldn’t give to see that pop up in the corner before I’ve read it!
Nuzzel is one of my favorite tools. I input my Twitter account as well as some custom lists and it surfaces articles that people in my Twitter network have been tweeting about. As a result, it’s one of the best discovery tools out there for solid longer form content. Rarely do I read content coming out of Nuzzel and feel robbed. Because of how it works, it’s automatically showing those people in my network and some of what they’ve thought about it. I love this contextualization.
Naturally sites for much longer form content will use social network data about interest, reviews, and interaction to a much greater extent since there is a larger investment of time involved. Thus social signaling can be more valuable in this context. A great example here is of Goodreads which shows me those in my network who are interested in reading a particular book or who have written reviews or given ratings.
Are there other examples I’m missing? Are you aware of similar discovery related tools for reading that leverage social network data?
15 thoughts on “Social Reading User Interface for Discovery”
Social Reading User Interface for Discovery, by Chris Aldrich @ChrisAldrich
Have you ever checked out Diigo? It’s basically a classic social bookmarking site “on steroids”. Including a browser plugin that allows for highlighting, searching your bookmarks while googling and full caching of sites.
Thanks Nils! Yes, I’ve been been using Diigo–apparently since 2 June 2015. I’ll agree it is very nice, but, like most social sites, I don’t expect it to be around forever or to really safeguard my data. Thus, in IndieWeb POSSE or PESOS fashion, I tend to keep my bookmarks and annotations (as well as other social data) on my own website and syndicate them out to other services like Diigo. I often back up/cache site data to my own site’s back end and frequently also regularly archive it to the Internet Archive as it’s posted.
While there are a few social features in Diigo including RSS feeds, I do wish they allowed following/followers so that I could more easily subscribe to other’s content in a simpler fashion. I suppose I’m content enough to follow people or topics/tags (example: edtech) in my lowly feed reader.
I should also note that Diigo also has a Chrome extension that has a colored indicator with a red bookmark once one has bookmarked an article. This means that when revisiting it, one will have a visual indicator within the browser of having visited that page and bookmarked it before.
This Article was mentioned on jackjamieson.net
Ampie, a browser extension has some of this functionality as well. See https://ampie.app/hello
Chris Aldrich mentioned this article on boffosocko.com.
Here’s a browser plugin (for Chrome, with one in development for Firefox) that uncovers conversations about a page from Hacker News and Reddit.