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Daylife – A Review

Daylife – A Review
technology

A news site that promises a better way to find world news has launched. We had a look over it and we think it's a definitely reflects the direction of news but falls short on some fundamentals that make it useful.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 5 january 2007

A news site that promises a better way to find world news has launched. We had a look over it and we think it definitely reflects the direction of news but falls short on some fundamentals that make it useful.

Daylife is basically a database of news items and when you look at a single item it lets you know what else is in its files is related to that news item. You can also cut the data by category, such as China. There’s also a place to keep your favorite news called ‘MyWorld’. So far, so good: This is how newspapers’ sites should be working. The problem is that using it filled us with some frustration.

Our immediate reaction was, “Where’s the RSS? They’ve launched a news site without RSS!”

There are some fundamental basics missing on the site. If you have read this PSFK 2007 Trends article, you’ll understand why we have this attitude.

Our main issue is that Daylife expects you to come to it not the other way round. What we want is a personally tailored RSS news feed to hit us when we want but Daylife doesn’t even give you a feed for front page news. We didn’t even look to see if they had any widgets.

The site itself is clunky: The first page should be full of links to the news I want, not a single image. Also, if you click on the headline of an extract, you get taken through to … an extract of an article.

The site also miscalculates the way people scan news. Deeper in the site, you can star articles to include them into your MyWorld, but you can’t star articles on top pages. I suppose it assumes that people star articles after they read them. I’d bet there are a fair number of people who want to star articles to read later, to share with friends. They want quick in, quick out.

There’s also a slight problem with the way they use the database. Their algorithm is too literal. When we looked, the top headline on the China page was Indians key to creating wealth and jobs in US.

With all the fancy design there are some basics they could have borrowed from uber-successful sites like Digg that the makers have have decided to ignore. They’ve been too busy marveling at the power of the database to cut and slice, rather than concentrating on giving people the news they want, how they want it, where they want it, when they want it, at the speed they want it.

I suppose, in defense, the makers of the site could say that it’s in Beta. Don’t get us wrong. We love the idea behind this – and we’re all for the delivery of global news to a US audience. We wish the team at Daylife every success but we just think the makers have a way to go.

Daylife

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