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I am building a posts feed aggregator, where when a user wants to visit/read a post he is interested in, clicks on the title and the original post opens in a new tab. My post previews contain Title, Image, author, date and a small block of text.

Also, on the corner of each post, there is an arrow icon meaning that this post is expandable. So when a user clicks on it, he sees the rest of the post with a nice format in the page. My question is, how users interact with those things?

I mean it is a "goodie" but are they interested in or do you think that they will keep on going with the traditional way ?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The user wants to be able to easily go to the original post or expand the post in the current window. My feeling is that a user will want to do either of those depending on the nature of the particular post. Shorter, text-based ones they might want to read in full in the aggregator. Longer ones with richer content they may want to read on the source site.

I would link the title to the full post on the source site, as you do already, and make sure the expand button is as large and easy to click. Just limiting it to a corner might not be enough for users that are doing a lot of expanding.

Also, remember to steal ideas that work! This problem has been solved many times already in many different ways.

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I agree this one has been solved in a number of ways. Many feed readers offer a preference-based option, or try to give the best of both worlds by first expanding in the reader, while still enabling the person to open the article in the default browser/separate window. Look at some other apps and see what feels like it fits in the kind of experience you want people to have. –  Todd Sieling Sep 22 '11 at 18:00
    
Another option would be an accordion, where only one post is expanded at a time. That would allow users to see a wide breadth of content but also easily hone in on a single entry. –  Evan Sep 22 '11 at 19:40
    
@Evan Accordion is the one I use for it. –  Nikolai Sep 22 '11 at 19:48
    
What is your opinion about keeping the expand/collapse model and direct link but also adding an inline popup window ? –  Nikolai Sep 22 '11 at 22:10
    
My feeling is that a popup will break the mental model the user has around the physical accordion object you've established with them. If they want to see the full article, they expand. If they want to visit the homepage, they click the title. That's enough for them to remember, I feel. If you wanted to have the popup as an option for power-users to enable, that might make sense... –  Evan Sep 29 '11 at 15:47

Don't think about it too much. Try it, watch your stats and you will get your answer.

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I think it's excellent because by only showing a sample, you are able to give the reader access to more content on one screen at a single time. They may see more than one link they are interested in, read one, come back and click another to read that as well.

When you say traditional way, are you saying to put one full post on the screen. That will make for a slower loading time, more scrolling for the user who is now being forced to scroll past content they are not interested in, and they may miss something they actually would have been interested in.

So I say go with the collapsed model with the expand/click to read all feature. It's good.

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I believe the question is asking if they would use the expand functionality vs the standard form of clicking to open the full article on a new page –  Ben Brocka Sep 22 '11 at 17:53
    
My answer is yes. Look at how the faq's on the stack exchange sites are done. –  Musaab Sep 22 '11 at 18:20
    
Instead of expand/collapse model, what do you think about an inline box with the post? –  Nikolai Sep 22 '11 at 22:09
    
Finally I decided to drop the expand/collapse model. The reason is because it has multiple RSS sources, the only way to make all expanded posts identical is to remove all the format tags. Meaning no paragraphs etc. –  Nikolai Sep 23 '11 at 0:12

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