Unread Counts

NetNewsWire creator Brent Simmons on unread counts:

Nick Bradbury, FeedDemon author, and I have talked many times over the years about how we’d design an RSS reader were we starting over. The first thing we always say: No unread counts!

It’s true: showing an unread count was something I regretted. It was one of many things I did to make FeedDemon work like an email client so it would seem familiar to new users. I’m sure it did make it seem familiar, but in the long run it was a mistake I never overcame.

Treating RSS like email makes it a chore to read, but customers were so used to FeedDemon working like an email client that any attempt to make it less email-like was met with resistance. So instead I came up with things like the Panic Button which were just band-aids that didn’t address the underlying problem.

Looking back, I wonder how RSS readers would’ve fared if their developers hadn’t followed the email client design. It’s partly because we did that the RSS reader (but not RSS itself) is now considered dead.

4 thoughts on “Unread Counts

  1. I actually love the unread counts. Basically what @Fumarin said – they let me know what I haven’t been keeping up on. I don’t think I would use a reader that didn’t have per-feed unread counts. I just know that there’s too much to actually read it all, so I don’t let them rule me. The one thing I could care less about is the total count across all my feeds – it’s just not useful information. And looking at Feedly, my FeedDemon replacement, they actually don’t supply that number.

    Paradoxically, I’m also an inbox (nearly-)zero person. Unread emails drive me nuts – unread posts not so much.

  2. +1 for the unread counts. Mine do get out of hand, but I honestly rely on it. Also, just wanted to say thank you for FeedDemon. Been using it for years, and I’ve tried so many others in case I needed a replacement, and just cannot find one that compares to the way I like to read my feed in FeedDemon.

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