Yesterday I was bored and tried sketching out some ideas for how to improve the social network stream.
- The stream is no longer strictly chronological – it prioritizes things which the user should find interesting
- The stream should have a general chronological pattern
- The stream should not modify itself – it should be a scrollable infinite list whose order is constant
- The stream should be filled with summaries to interest the user
- The stream needs a new position indicator
The basic idea is a scrollable stream on the left side, a new ui component called the time bar and then a reading list on the right. The reading list should be synchronized across devices and contains the long version of a message including comments, inline media, links, etc. Moving an item from stream to net indicates interest, an action which should be recorded.
The reading list is collapsible, the collapsed versions are visually equivalent to what it woudl show on the stream. The reading list is dynamic and changes so that recently updated posts float – creating the equivalent of the notifications notifier and also contains items that one wants to read. The bottom portion of the list comprises the archived/muted but interesting things. A client should download these posts for access offline.
The cool new user interface component which I have yet to fully design is the time bar. The time bar is a nonlinear scroll bar which is based on a heatmap. That heatmap allows the user to jump quickly between interesting portions of the feed and to jump from different sections without necessarily losing his or her place.
On the top of the bar is the word “new” which means jumping to the current time – though new is not actually a scrollable area, you can’t ever be at the instant of time forever.
The bar is basically a stream of things which should be probably somewhat interesting to the user. There’s a collapsed section every few items which indicates items which are in the stream but likely not to be intriguing to the user.
The time bar represents time with precision around the area which the user is browsing and is more coarse with farther idistances in time.