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I'm designing a website that is meant to aggregate on it's homepage different types of contents such as:

  • Blog posts from around the web
  • User generated movies, presentations, documents, pictures etc.
  • Articles posted on different websites

I'm looking for ideas and design patterns of aggregated content with different types of content. Can anyone suggest or point out to examples or guidelines?

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closed as not constructive by JonW May 12 '12 at 18:23

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5 Answers 5

Tumblr does a good job of aggregating Blog posts, Photos, Videos, Links, and Quotes into a news feed. The content is aggregated from other users that you follow.

I'd say the 2 most important parts of aggregation would be:

  • making it clear where the content is coming from (the original site)
  • making the different content types distinct from one another (blog posts are displayed differently than quotes and links)
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Have you had a look at http://flavors.me it allows people to choose content from variety of social services whilst allowing the user some flexibility in design. My personal one is at http://flavours.me/beano.

As for guidlines I am not entirely sure what you mean or rather I am not aware of any other than the regular priciples of design / usability / accesibility et al.

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The big example is the Facebook stream, which is based on FriendFeed. Facebook has spent a lot of time optimising the finer details of elements in its streams, from the spacing and positioning to the microcopy (like/likes, person/people, etc). I recommend you look there for the biggest patterns. Try posting a few updates of different types into your stream to see how Facebook handles them, eg. video/photos/a single photo/text/quotations/link to a website/poll, etc. If you pay close attention you'll start noticing how things subtly change depending on various invisible factors like how many people like something or from who the update is.

Google Buzz is also exploring a lot in this direction, but I don't use it much so I haven't paid as much attention. You can also use Buzz to compare to Facebook and see which patterns Buzz has "copied" simply because they've become conventions. Try referring back to Friendfeed itself to see where some of the ideas for visualising aggregation come from.

A completely different take on aggregation is Twitter, which refuses stubbornly to pollute your follower feed. Instead, #newtwitter leaves things as they are but allows you to click on each item and view a popout that might do things with enriched content like videos or images. That's another way to approach the problem if your priority is keeping the feed clean, or as in Twitter's case, being platform agnostic and keeping your overhead low.

The abovementioned are the leaders in this arena IMO and the ones you want to pay attention to for design patterns and conventions. Most other designers will be doing the same.

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The question is whether you plan to import the aggregated content or link to it. I'm talking mostly about posts and articles, since videos don't take much space, unless there's more than one.

If you're just linking, then what @Rahul said makes a lot of sense to me.

IF you're importing, then Facebook and Twitter are less appropriate and you should check different online RSS readers (beginning with Google Reader of course) and blogging platforms.

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Surprisingly, reddit.com has become such an aggregator (even though it focuses on non-original content). Note how there are only user-generated titles on the front page, with barely noticeable thumbnails, if any. The content, however, can be expanded onto the page.

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