Connect Adds Keyboard Shortcuts

Rich cracks me up; yesterday, he IMs to tell me he’s added JS shortcuts to Connect for quick keyboard navigation through posts.

Standard stuff, like j/k to navigate through posts, r to refresh, l to like/unlike a post, etc.

Connect keyboard shortcuts FTW!

The funny part is that he qualified it with “I know I’m not supposed to be adding new features”. I figured it would be tough to keep him and Anthony focused on refactoring and bug fixing because they love to scratch itches, like any good developer. That’s how really useful stuff gets built.

Anyway, if you use Google Reader, you’re probably familiar with JS keyboard shortcuts for navigation. For Connect, it’s useful to navigate through the posts in our Activity Log. When you reach the last item on a page, typing j loads the next page, pretty slick.This is a great little Easter Egg and got me thinking about a web-based feed reader. One of the many hurdles to mass adoption of feeds has been the need for an installed reader (or setup of a mail client reader), creating yet another place for content. This is why I initially move to Reader because I didn’t have to monitor another application, and opening links wasn’t as jarring.

Connect keyboard shortcuts

Of course, Reader can’t import feeds behind a firewall, and frankly, our security wouldn’t love that idea because sensitive data now live on Google’s servers and personal accounts can easily (ahem) be hijacked by social hacking. So, as we encourage more people to use feeds inside the firewall, the idea of a web app for feed reading has been suggested several times.

Rich’s addition of keyboard shortcuts makes me think that Connect could become that feed reader, and I think it would help with adoption since Connect is something of a known entity, rather than *another* web app to check. That’s a recurring theme these days.

We already import feeds into groups, so now it’s a matter of how to build a reader into the UI without making it too janky.

Seems like an idea with legs.

What do you think? Would a web app reader increase the adoption of feeds at your company? What if it were integrated into your corporate network? Maybe feeds are DOA, so why bother?

Find the comments. I’m interested to know.



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