Blogging Apps and Material Apps study - Oct 2016

Pros and Cons


Home screens focus on signup only
Cant tell if post is a long article, or photo or something else
Some “posts" in the discover feed are just links to other blogs, not posts
Some blogs just open in default reader (point of having themes then?)
Some posts are just albums but u can’t tell
While scrolling, no way of telling where u r and what are u reading
Some short posts are just links to a big blog post somewhere and the link is hidden behind time stamp “Two Days Ago"

Mobile app is not so encouraging for content discovery
However it feels more compact and interesting to read compared to the over spacious desktop
Also, Tags are prominent at the footer of each post
External posts also open only in the app’s view, no direct outlines other than globe sign at top of profile
Signin button hidden on app under keyboard

Overall, feels very isolated and inactive and doesn’t feel like a place you would want to spend a lot of time on for casual reading and content discovery.


Home screen already jumps at you with a lot content and menus
A dedicated Landing Page under ‘Learn More’ with video (also contains example post images that look real at first but aren’t clickable)
Video explains usability and purpose of site .. should lead of with this at the otherwise OVERWHELMING home page

You can read posts without ever signing up
No indicator of current post or author during scroll down.
Sticky scroll up footer points to next article instead
How does medium know “For You" posts without signing me up? Gimmick?
Sidebar always displaying more content (good or bad?)
Why bookmark present when i haven’t signed up?

A good idea would be to present “Top Stories" and “Editor’s picks" only, and maybe reading roulette, thats it! (Mobile app does exactly that by hiding other options under scrollable tab which u won’t even notice!)

Signed in mode -

Top bar menu options (categories) still made very little sense… not curated for me. Never shown how to set it up
Tags I follow featured on the side
Great follow options under “Follow your interests"
Singular navigation and simple drawer
Strong color contrast between menu and content area/cards

Despite publication having their own theme, all posts and publication follow a similar style and look which makes everything very consistent and immersive.
Overall, great experience except for irrelevant top menubar, overwhelming home screen (despite a great LP) and sidebar showing more posts which is just adding noise!
Really great signup on the app!


Buggy yet great home LP (before signup)
Posts discovery under ‘here’s what’s trending'
Simplified content division (apparent in menu bar as well)
You can tell which post is what type of content, and it opens up differently for each, quotes won’t open whole pages, photos open instantly as modal views
But every post is expanded in the feed itself
Annoying jumbled card arrangement in discover mode
Individual posts open from feed by clicking on username on mobile (or the corner of card on desktop)
Good post card UI design
Reblogging concept is not my personal liking BUT it is what has made Tumblr so successful. Should Resharing on a blog platform be the norm? (Retweets have similar success)
Too many specific tags yet couldn’t find a simple ‘art’ tag
Instruction screens on mobile get annoying if they come up when i am doing something
History in search not saved
Screen overlay issues in apps

Good in-app exp on mobile.
Albums could use a slider instead of linear scroll
Gontent discovery and suggestion slider
Search section has suggestions as well
Onboarding and feature explanation slider
nice simplified profiles
Filter options good
Customer editor for each type of content
Good profile options on desktop
Home Feed is fine everywhere
a lot more social network features
great editing on desktop as well
side popup of blogs profiles u click on
each profile/blog has its own look
Top nav bar overall one-tone colors and simplified UI (no side drawer or menus)

Overall, a good exp other than jumbled card style explore feed and open posts on feed (expand button on desktop)


No navigational back button
Collections make no sense

Desktop -

Multi-column feeds are distracting and hard to read
Comments don’t look clickable (even though they are)
Sidebar looks bland, too much emptiness
Doesn’t separate between people and pages
On hover, comments transition

Overall a bland experience. No visible curation. no proper categorisation. Seems pointless. Confusing feeds. Even more confusing exploration due to pages/communities/collections.

Mobile -

No pre-login exp on mobile
Annoying animation where every post ‘flows-in’ as u scroll
Clicking on name leads to full post view while clicking on profile pic leads to profile (weird)
At the top of feed, 2 CTAs for making posts
Each post has a “User>Poster Where" designation
Visual distinction between communities and collection yet still a confusing concept
Good bottom nav bar
Lack of content discovery (its not a blog anyway)

A lot better exp than desktop but still feels like too much going on and noise to concentrate. Lacks personal appeal

Google Arts & Culture

Great combination of different content - images, posts, 360 videos, VR, slides (Exhibits), journey exp, audio narration
Featured “Project" stories are great
different tile color for daily digest (spotlight stories)
Amazing ‘partner profile’ pages
Virtual tours combined with gmaps
Image zoom fab provides a great way to go into images n out to where u were
Asset organisation and sorting by trending/timeline/color
Header slider on assets posts to directly switch and go through collection
Great collection grid display for artists/medium/movements/events/figures
Favorites/collection page

On mobile -
Great bottom nav
well organised, especially text content pages look really neat while reading (MEDIUM vs this!)
Menu changes according to section
Search page suggests content categorically
Strong focus on content discovery (nearby a separate option outside of search explore)
favorites option in bottom nav

Doesn’t show where i am in navigational terms
From partner page’s interactive experience features, u end up on their project page instead of going back

A totally different modern style of material design on this page
Cards with video - This is really well designed, though without much of Material style.

Spaces and others

has a great mobile onboarding
Different style of tiles in the “Space feed"
Commenting and posting editor also very diff
Good simple bottom nav

Google Expedition has a nice LP with menu style suitable for blogger

Flipboard landing page a great example for content discovery