Nov 1, 2007

Fichey - better presentation layer?

Design and presentation matter.

Billy Chasen is a friend and a highly creative developer we've (betaworks) been working with the past few months. Billy's created a number of great apps, and perhaps I'm biased but I find myself using each of them heavily. One is downfly, another is fichey. I like them because they all seem to solve specific problems, at least ones that are particular to me.

I'm using fichey now on a daily basis. The problem Billy set out to solve is that the web is awash in wonderful, interesting, but unstructured content (data). As a result, applications and algorithms have been developed to structure this content, machine based, human based, or often combinations of the two.

These apps/algorithms do an amazing job of providing context and delivering the content. Digg, delicious, reddit -- perfect examples of high value content structuring applications. But while the content sorting has advanced, consuming the results is still stuck in the same old point - click - hit-browser-back button - repeat method of discovery. It's clunky and slow. It's boring.

There's something appealing about leafing through the pages of a magazine. It's casual, fast, fun and allows one to quickly scan a high volume of content to get to something that is even more relevant.

That's fichey, in a nutshell -- it's a presentation tool. A visually appealing, more efficient way to view (leaf through) large groups of content. It saves a user time -- you can page through a given days top Digg stories in seconds, stopping where you want, paging on as you please.

Brady Forrest at O'Reilly recently described a note he got that said "wouldn't it be cool to see Google search results displayed Cover Flow-style in the Safari web browser."

Fichey is a small step towards getting at this idea. It's early and Billy is already working on building more into it. But for now, at a minimum, it works.


Dan Reich said...

I could imagine a sort of "fichey magazines" being developed. Fichey-sports for example, where top sports sites must apply to become a part of that particular set of websites. Just one example, but lots of potential with fichey. AWESOME!