Does anyone still use RSS readers? Looking for feedback!

over 5 years ago from

Hey DN family,

I’m working on designing/protyping a personal project of mine. It’s an RSS reader application for easier reading. I know it may seem overdone, but I’m currently a graphic design student and I’m looking for more opportunities as a digital designer, so I’ve been teaching myself the ins and outs of prototyping (mobile primarily).

  • I’m curious if anyone on DN still uses these types of apps, or has everyone pretty much moved onto native apps like Apple News or Google News?
  • What would make you want to use a different app? Does anything ever distract or inhibit your ability to read and understand information in these applications?
  • And finally, how’s mine looking so far?

Digest Preview on Dribbble

Thanks in advance!


  • Simone Simone , over 5 years ago

    Every single day. I don't understand how people keep up with publications / websites otherwise. Feedly + Reeder.

    18 points
    • Cameron Getty, over 5 years ago

      It’s definitely a lot more effort without one! Would you mind sharing some of your favorite things about whichever one you use primarily on mobile?

      0 points
    • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 5 years ago

      This is exactly my workflow. Feedly + Reeder.

      3 points
    • iterati designiterati design, over 5 years ago

      Feedly + Reeder as well.

      3 points
    • Andrew ConnAndrew Conn, over 5 years ago

      Agree. Same... Feedly + Reeder.

      0 points
    • Chaker Bejaoui, over 5 years ago

      Best combo ever. However I would add Pocket to the workflow as I don't have the time to read everything.

      1 point
    • Ben Digman, over 5 years ago

      This is exactly my setup as well and I'm a big fan. I would say the two areas of opportunity for improving Reeder's experience, in my case, would be to automate viewing articles in Mercury Reader instead of requiring a button press and to provide a better option on iOS for navigating to the next article from within the current one. You can press a button to jump to the next article but I'd love a gesture for accomplishing this without needing to reach the end of the article.

      0 points
    • Stefan SmiljkovicStefan Smiljkovic, over 5 years ago

      Glad to hear that. I have side project which create RSS from theoretically any website. It's still in development, but you can check it out https://automatio.co

      0 points
    • Andu PotoracAndu Potorac, over 5 years ago

      Same here.

      0 points
  • Todd FTodd F, over 5 years ago

    I love the Feedly web client (enough to pay for Feedly Pro). The mobile implementation sucks. Your design looks OK, but don't try to do stuff for me like Flipboard does (did). I'll choose my own sources and decide for myself what is important.

    6 points
    • Cameron Getty, over 5 years ago

      Thanks for insight, Todd. Would you mind sharing what about the mobile implementation you don’t like?

      And did Flipboard start shoving recommendations in your face or curated feed? I’m unsure of the direction they went, haven’t used their app in a few years.

      0 points
    • Petr Pinkas, over 5 years ago

      Hi Todd, we're working on a new mobile app and the design will be improved as well: https://blog.feedly.com/introducing-the-mobileai-lab/

      0 points
    • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 5 years ago

      "don't try to do stuff for me like Flipboard does (did). I'll choose my own sources and decide for myself what is important."

      This a million times.

      0 points
    • Andrew ConnAndrew Conn, over 5 years ago

      Agree. I think the less than ideal Feedly mobile experience is why a lot of people just sit Reeder on top of Feedly. That’s what I do. Feedly seems to have ‘discovery’ as a core design principle - big images, magazine layouts, etc. Takes so much longer to go through articles. Reeder on the other hand, in my mind, has ‘efficiency’ at its core and consequently its much faster to go through your feeds.

      0 points
  • Marc Olivier LapierreMarc Olivier Lapierre, over 5 years ago

    I actually don't know what I'd do without RSS. I've been using Inoreader for the past year and I love it—it's exactly what I was looking for since the death of Reader (thanks Google!).

    Right now I have almost 500 subscriptions. Inoreader allows me to filter stuff I don't want, auto-tag, create custom feed for websites that don't have RSS, get notifications, etc.

    I also use it to manage my YouTube subscriptions. I divided them into folders (like we could do with the old YT... thanks again Google!) so I have categories like "YouTube | Design".

    It's not the most beautiful app but it's the definitely the most powerful RSS reader I've found.

    2 points
  • Antek GrzankaAntek Grzanka, over 5 years ago

    Feedly + Reeder on both macOS and iOS, favorite blogs, youtube channels. Love it.

    2 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, over 5 years ago

    Feedly, but I never ready anything on feedly, it's just links that I click on.

    2 points
  • Marius Feraru, over 5 years ago

    Don't know how I'd keep up with everything without Feedly tbh!

    2 points
  • Michael Kalus, over 5 years ago

    Every single day. I use Reeder + Feedly aswell. Reeder wasn't updated for a long time but it has all the features it needs. The most I like about it is the gestures it supports via Magic Mouse and Trackpad (pull to mark all as read or swiping left and right do go into a article or leave it) also it is nice that those gestures are the same on iOS!

    I also have tried Leaf which is also making a good job.

    Feedback to your design: I love the colors you chose and also nice that you try to adopt those new rounded-corner boxes from iOS 11/12. But while it should be an RSS app it is important to me to have the feed as comprimised as possible. It is good to have only the headline in the feed list and at most 1-2 lines of the article. Of course there are some good feeds I read every article from but of the most I never read through all of the posts. I skimm the headlines and images in order to decide what I could be interested in. So feedback to your design would be: shrink the height of the feed items to an extreme. The preview-images are too huge for my taste. Half the size would be enough.

    The article view turned out very well. The font-size is maybe a bit to small but I can't judge it from that screenshot. Keep going! Wish you much success in further development.

    2 points
  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, over 5 years ago

    I use Feedly on web and Reeder on mobile. Both work pretty well.

    2 points
  • alexey pushkarev, over 5 years ago

    One voice for Inoreader. Simple and consistent. Desktop web version only cause tabs is the best place to keep huge amount of long read stuff.

    1 point
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 5 years ago

      +1 for Inoreader. I moved to this after Digg Reader went under (which I moved to after Google Reader went under).

      0 points
  • Stephen Thomas, over 5 years ago

    Feedly + Unread every day

    1 point
  • Alexei BoronnikovAlexei Boronnikov, over 5 years ago

    I use News Explorer on the Mac and iOS. These are the best native apps from my pov.

    1 point
  • Joshua MillerJoshua Miller, over 5 years ago

    Reeeder and Unread powered by Feedly

    1 point
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 5 years ago

    It's good that you are doing some user research before jumping in and not just focusing on making the prettiest product possible. Consider doing some reading into the product design process (this guy's guide is really well written), it can help you build a good foundational knowledge if you ever want to move towards UX/Product Design.

    Diving into your work and trying to answer your question, I'll say two things:

    1. I tried quite a few RSS readers and didn't like any of them, partly because I dislike most news sources in general and I prefer getting the news from reddit where I won't be getting 20-30 articles a day from each publisher, but rather what a particular sub-reddit considered important, and partly because I didn't feel like RSS readers provided a good enough experience - most felt too simple, just a congregated list of all the articles I would read otherwise, with no way to cut through the noise or all that many features to manage articles.

    2. I think if your goal is to create something beautiful (which should be as a graphic designer), then you've done that - your app looks great. But since you are asking these questions, I suppose you are also interested in the actual problem you are trying to solve, and in that regard your work so far does absolutely nothing. You are just showing the visuals with no info about what your app can bring to the table (features, solutions to problems other apps are not addressing). Also, speaking from experience, again assuming you ever want to move into UX or product, you will be grilled on your process, so it would be good to get into the habit of explaining what problems you identified, what solutions you tried, what your thinking behind them is, what worked and what didn't when testing the interface, etc. It's a little abstract but I liked Julie Zhuo's article on this.

    I hope this helps.

    1 point
    • Cameron Getty, over 5 years ago

      Thanks for calling it beautiful!

      As I'm designing the mockup, I'm taking notes separately on what problems I want to solve and how this would differ from other readers that exist now or that have changed from a good experience to a less good experience.

      My main goal is to move into a product design/UX role, so this is helpful feedback. Are you saying that my work does nothing in that regard because I haven't explained myself yet, or because the mockup has something wrong with it?

      Thanks for the advice!

      0 points
      • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 5 years ago

        It's the first one. The design is good, but that's just the visual part, so if you wanted to handle the entire product side, you'd also need: - an introduction to the problem you are trying to solve, info about the existing landscape (competitors, problems users are facing, etc.), and information about the research you've done to back this up. It's important to be able to justify your ideas and decisions. - the structure & interaction of the product. You are only showing the core parts of it, but, as the title implies, UX is about considering the entire experience a user will have with your product so it would be good for you to document all the paths users can take and show more designs for the sections that are important. For example, looking at searching, how will it work? Will it search all my feeds? Can I search just one specific feed from the main search bar? Will it search my favourites? How will results be sorted? How will results be displayed (do you show images, do you show an icon for the source, do you show text?), will the user get to customise any of this in settings? (a lot of third party apps for Reddit or Twitter appeal to power users with a ton of customisability). All of these things will be for you to figure out if you move to product. And the good part is that once you figure out what solution will work best for the users a product is designed for, you can use your visual skills to make it shine. - that will probably not apply here but you would be expected to validate all your ideas, to confirm their usability (i.e. is the way I've done searching easy for our users to use), and their validity (does this actually solve the problem we wanted it to solve). Quintin's site is a good intro to user research and I can also recommend this LinkedIn course that gives you a bit of info about each of the methods you'll have at your disposal (it is still up to you to decide which ones make the most sense for a particular project). - lastly, if this was a real business, you would also be expected to understand the company's goals and justify how your decisions can help them get there. To get better at this, I'd recommend Mike Monteiro. He has two short books that I found very helpful when I first read them and several talks on Vimeo, of which I'd recommend this one and this one.

        0 points
  • Kanika Seth, over 5 years ago

    Yes. I still used them regularly. Used google reader for over 6 years then had to shift to Reeder. I still think RSS is the best way to stay updated. It's the perfect enewspaper

    1 point
  • Kemie GuaidaKemie Guaida, over 5 years ago

    I use Feedly + reeder on ios and am now occasionally using another client, unread. I like about both of them that I can quickly swipe my way through my unreads, going into what I find interesting. Unfortunately, my RSS reading has gone down in the last year or so, replaced by reddit and other crap :/.

    1 point
  • Tom CTom C, over 5 years ago

    On the Mac I use Leaf, it does have Feedly integration but I don't remember if I have it enabled (I'm at work now on a diff machine). I am using it because it resembles the beloved Caffeinated app (now abandonware, I think still free to download but it was glitchy for me on El Cap). It's simple.

    I don't read RSS on mobile.

    Your app looks fine, I love the first comment about beautiful typography, while the typography is hardly visible ;)

    1 point
  • Renato Ricco, over 5 years ago

    I'm a Inoreader fan for a long time, I think is the best rss reader for power users.

    1 point
  • Rob Fahrni, over 5 years ago

    Cameron, please get in touch with me. I’m currently working on an iOS and Mac RSS reader.

    0 points
  • Xavier BertelsXavier Bertels, over 5 years ago

    I love News Explorer because it has iCloud sync and it’s not dependent on some external server. Also love how they sometimes push really good updates. And the native feel and availability on all Apple platforms is pretty good.

    0 points
  • Hardi KHardi K, over 5 years ago

    Been using RSS for close to 10 years now, daily. I was very, very happy with the UI of Digg Reader because it Just Worked. Right now using flowreader.com because I'm a fan of being able to expand the news item in-place.

    Unlikely to use a native app though, because going through feeds is part of my start-of-day routine when I sit down at my 27" screen.

    0 points