“Make Tools Simple and Ubiquitous Or They Won’t Be Used”

More wisdom from Dave Pollard:

In studying the use (and non-use, and mis-use) of various tools, I’ve come to the realization that some pretty simple rules govern whether, and how, communication tools are used:

  1. A tool has to be both simple (intuitive to learn, comfortable and versatile to use) and ubiquitous (everyone needs to have access to it) before it will be extensively used.
  2. Most people are looking for just enough tools to manage both 1-to-1 and group communications, and both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous communications. The fewer the better as long as they cover those bases.
  3. Most people will tolerate more than one tool in a category if and only if each offers unique and important functionality that is absent in the others.
  4. Comfort with and access to various communication tools varies between generations, and with it their propensity to use certain tools.

Google Reader vs. Bloglines

I’m a longtime user of Bloglines for reading RSS feeds.  It’s simple, clean and very, very quick to use.   But, I’d been hearing good things about Google Reader lately, so I thought I’d take it for a spin.

I’ve been reading my ~150 feeds in Google Reader the past few days, and I have to say, I think I’ll be sticking with Bloglines. 

Google Reader looks a bit slicker, but it wastes a lot more pixels on the screen with superfluous lines and boxes that distract me from the text.  It also doesn’t show as many feeds in the left column, wasting space on the “all/starred/shared items” controls that I don’t use. 

It’s harder to mark things as read in Google Reader — one has to manually scroll through the items or remember to click the “mark all as read” button.  That’s annoying.  I can’t adjust the width of the left column in Google Reader.

I guess the grass isn’t greener after all.