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Entries for June 2013
Forget Google Reader, Say Hello to News Portal

When we started mapping out our RSS platform, we had no idea that Google will make a decision to retire their rather popular Google Reader. Some of our team members were avid Google Reader users, so we met Google’s decision with mixed feelings. One thing we won’t deny: we worked very hard knowing that our product would find its users regardless of whether we’re going to succeed with the Google crowd or not. So, if you’re looking for a copy of the Reader, our News Portal is not one. If you’re looking for an alternative to Google Reader that is a robust product by itself as well as an integral part of PortalPanel bookmarking app—this is it!

PortalPanel’s RSS platform, called News Portal, allows each user to create their own news stream, including the ability to customize the way they receive and consume the news. Users can enter their favorite RSS feeds or choose from a list of trending feeds recommended by the PortalPanel team.

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Search Results without the Influence of Ad Dollars

PortalPanel library pageIn the search world, money decides who makes it to the top of search engine results and who remains buried amongst more than 4 billion of active websites.

If we take any highly competitive keyword, we’re going to see the same web traffic pattern: paid results at the top; followed by the results from the professionally optimized websites, news aggregators and news portals (reaching the 1st page of Google for a competitive keyword requires top dollar); truly amazing and informative websites that rank somewhat high, go afterwards; then the rest of the web content, stretching ad infinitum.

Most of the web content remains completely irrelevant and unseen by majority of web users, with the exception of some moving up the search totem pole thanks to its shareability on social networks, a favorable mention of a celebrity or similar random acts of digital gods.

This is not the best environment for academic research or any research, for that matter.


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How Design Influences Functionality and Decisions We Make

This time I’d like to point out some of the design improvements that were also implemented during the latest batch of updates.

Why focus on design? It’s a fair question; after all, one might think that applications like PortalPanel need to be mostly concerned with functionality. In reality, design makes PortalPanel truly unique and is as important as all the innovative features. Consider this post an insight into the creative minds of our designers and a glimpse behind the scenes of PortalPanel. In other words: this is why we do what we do.

Most designers these days strive to achieve what’s usually called a “clean” design. It’s especially important if you’re creating an app whose primary function is to help organize other people’s web finds. If your goal is to help others with being more organized, you better be pretty neat yourself, right?

Since we embarked on this mission, we had no choice but lead by example. Therefore, PortalPanel’s homepage is a true specimen of minimalism and simplicity. If you’re not a registered user, there’s absolutely no reason for you to linger… and that’s the whole point.  We have nothing to sell; you either want to give the app a shot or click away. Our home page design conveys this message; hence, it hasn’t really changed since the day one.

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