I’ve used Bloglines for a long time to organise the many (too many?) feeds I read daily. I’ve always been happy with it, resisting the charms of new kids on the block such as Google Reader, but recently there’ve been some changes I find have taken the service a few steps backwards.
The first I noticed was the move to a newer, more Ajax-y interface a few months ago. The problems with Ajax are well-documented, and one of the major problems is what’s happened to Bloglines: they’ve broken the ‘back’ button. Previously, if I wanted to go back to a link I’d seen before, I could just hit ‘back’ and it would return me to what I was looking at; not any more, unfortunately.
Which brings me to the next problem: the ‘Display items in the last session’ option has been removed. In the event that I did want to go back and look at a link I’d seen before, I could have chosen that option and brought back all the category links I’d just looked at; now I only get the option to view by time (last hour, last 6 hours, etc). It’s not the same thing; if I’m looking at my links on a Monday morning and I hadn’t checked them over the weekend, I’d have to choose ‘last 48 hours’ and wade through potentially hundreds of posts looking for the one I wanted.
I wonder if they did any usability testing before making these changes? They may not be enormous, insurmountable problems, but they’ve certainly changed my opinion towards the service; for the first time, I’m seriously thinking of choosing a new provider. The question is: to what? Google Reader seems to be the most popular, but both the problems I’ve identified above are even worse with that; the ‘back’ button takes you out of the application entirely, and the archive feature only allows you to see all previous items.
I need a web-based feed reader so I can check my feeds anywhere, and one that doesn’t break the fundamental navigation principles of the web. I don’t need loads of bells & whistles, but I would like there to be a notifier extenstion for Firefox. Is there such a service out there?