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River of News fails

The user experience has been a disaster (Scripting News):

“The NY Times has totally ignored the NY Times River, which makes the Times work on mobile devices with ease of use that they so often report is eluding them”

I don’t know how many times that it’s worth saying this, because Dave isn’t listening but… “River of News” approaches don’t work for everyone. In fact, for the majority of people – the kind who aren’t constantly scanning the feeds – River of News fails miserably. It had no concept of importance other than “Most recent”, and in news that’s almost never the most important factor to someone.

If a bomb goes off somewhere in London, it’s more important to me than other events. I want that front and centre of my news, more than anything else – more recent but unconnected stories are no use to me. If they push the important stuff off the front page, then I am missing things which I need to know.

River of News effectively abdicates responsibility for judging what’s important to a reader. Whether that’s done by human editors or machine algorithms isn’t important – what matters is that in order to well-serve readers, it must be done. River of News simply fails to do it.

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