What I like about Netvibes.com UI

I'm still thinking about the perfect Social Website 2.0 UI.

Here's some of the things I really like about Netvibes (blog). Netvibes seems to have begun life as a site that collects news feeds and APIs from literally everywhere.

It's RSS features look basic but good:

discovery-example.png

In order of priority here are some comments:

  1. It hides it's complexity – most options only display when you mouse over the item. Until you show an interest in something, it hides itself. It's an "intentional" design. Excellent.
  2. Edit the page right there. Want to change the name of the page? Edit it right there, no going into an admin system somewhere else. Woohoo! I hope I can save the layout permanently? Can I share my layout with other people?

Some more things I like:

  1. Useful ajax features (not just ajax for the sake of ajax)
  2. I can reorder things as I want them.
    todo-reorder.gif
  3. Ease of use – for example the ability to make new tabs simply by clicking "new tab" and then include a personalized icon (sweeeet!)
    en-tabs-new.gif
  4. Multiple language support

The only thing I don't get about Netvibes is that I don't have a use for it. It's like this amazing UI with awesome flexibility and ease of use.. but other than integrating with GMail, what would I use it for?

Some old products from Microsoft (like Commerce Server) felt and behaved like an SDK (software development kit) and nothing more. In the same way, this website feels like a demo UI of a forthcoming product… I feel like I'm waiting for the product (they sure have the UI right!)

Ok, in one of their blog posts (Netvibes launch a 1 GB personal web storage module!) they refer to "another move toward the web desktop" and that more clearly outlines what they are offering – and why I'm not responding to their offering – I don't need a web desktop. They are being all things to all people I guess. Very ambitious and very courageous.

How do they make money? 

I may not need a web desktop, but I'm loving the idea of all my email and word documents being online. With Google buying Writely (blog) and other offerings like ajaxWrite, ajaxSketch, ajaxXLS and so on we are certainly on the cusp of an online office.

Check out an old post of mine: Office 2.0 (as in Web 2.0).

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