Needs Assessment Plan for ReadLater App

by Ruchita Rathi

Based on my initial discussions with project mentors and after following the discussion threads on ownCloud’s git issue tracker, here is the wishlist of features for the app:

  1. Integrate the API developed by Wallabag (Poche):

(a) Wallabag (formerly Poche) is an open-source self hostable application for saving web pages.

2. Implement a server for ownCloud that works with wallabag’s API and thus uses their existing Android app, browser extensions, and FireFox OS app.

3. Design and implement a front-end for the Read-later items within ownCloud and possibly combine with the Bookmarks app in ownCloud.

Based on the discussions with project mentors, I researched about the usability aspects of various bookmarklet apps and came up with the following list of design changes:

  1. The app should be able to intuitively build dynamic newsfeed based on the chronologically selected tags.

Why we need this: Because once in a while, you do want to clean up your accumulated tags (just like you would spring clean your house) Sometimes, we really need to read the article we have tagged/bookmarked/added to our account, but we forget the tag that we gave to the article, heck we even forget what the title of the article was, all we remember is maybe an image or central theme of the article.

2. If the app can show dynamically create news feed based on past week’s data, these would allow the user to go through the articles without spending considerable time searching for it. (may be Pinterest type thumbnail view of the articles for last week or asking the user to rate the article (whether they really want to revisit it say after 8 days or so). And because we are in spring cleaning mode, it would be nice to have an “archive” option to dump all the clutter.

3. I wanted to understand how users will engage with this app, so I came up with the following use case scenarios:

(a) May be have a ranking of most talked about articles/pages to keep you interested in the discussion

(b) Have an ability to tag any web resource (images, videos, podcasts, pages, etc.)

(c) Add ability to visualize your feed’s influence on your social network (items you share from your feed, etc.)

(d) When I click on the bookmarks that I have saved previously, it would be nice to see a preview of the page, so that I can decide whether to follow that bookmark/readlater tag.

4. I also proposed the following generic enhancements:

(a) It would be nice to have tag merging option in order to facilitate reorganization efforts for the collected pages.

(b) Single browser icon to bookmark a page (right now it is a clunky text “Add to ownCloud”, which takes up a lot of space on the Bookmarks Bar)

(c) Suggest tags based on the page’s content (to avoid tag soup for misspelled tags)

(d) Ability to share bookmarks (public, private)

(e) Ability import bookmarks from other accounts is hidden under settings icon, this gives a rather broken user experience for a first time user because as a first time user of the application, I want to ensure that I am able to bring in all the data from my accounts with a single click. (Right now the user needs to click the Bookmarks app first, then go to the settings icon to reach to the “Import” function)

5. Based on Alessandro’s idea about the app: “Read later app should be able to distinguish between bookmarks and pages that are part of the reading list (may be have separate icons for bookmarks and reading list)”

To enhance this feature, it would be nice to provide flexibility to the user for choosing whether to classify a URL as bookmark or read later.


For the above usability exercise, I used the following resources:

  1. Usability issues filed for boookmarks feature.
  2. Usability testing for instapaper, pocket, feedafever, and other apps listed in
  3. Inferences from the social tagging behavior: Trant, Jennifer. “Studying social tagging and folksonomy: A review and framework.” Journal of Digital Information 10, no. 1 (2009) and UC Berkeley School of Information’s course on Information Organization and Retrieval — INFO 202