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Feedback on a new project - KickPost (kickpost.com)
34 points by calebelston on July 18, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

If there's one thing it needs right now, it's a one sentence "What is KickPost?" blurb in the top-right somewhere. If I hadn't read the comments here I'd have assumed it was some sort of aggregator and moved on.

Totally agree. We will add that.


KickPost is new tech news aggregator that uses a predictive algorithm based on historically popular stories to predict which stories will be popular in realtime. We are about 20min faster at predicting hot stories than Techmeme.

What do you think?

Great design.

One thing I noticed was that it's very difficult for me to scan the headlines quickly. I think the reason is that right now the focal point is the time, with the red and black, while the headline and description blend together a bit. I think you could change this without hurting the aesthetic. (Also, as others mentioned, a brief description would be great)

Good luck!

The red pulls my eye towards the time as well.

Thanks! Will be playing with the design more tonight.

My first impression, just on hitting the site, is really positive; I like the simplicity of the design. You also clearly have somebody that cares about typography, which is one of my pet peeves. :)

I like the simple design as well but I do find the italic time a bit distracting. At first I thought it was the italic, but after tweaking it with firebug, I think it's the time information in itself.

How about sticking the time information under the elapsed time information.

For example have something like this:

Possibly set the time information in a light color like gray.

That's an interesting idea. Will try mocking that up. Thanks!

Thanks! Really appreciate the kind words. I do care about typography, so it is great when others notice :)

Can you tell us any more about how it works? Are you looking at the content of the page and comparing it to similar pages? Looking at the url's ranking on various social services?

You should put that line on the page.

This line? "KickPost is new tech news aggregator that uses a predictive algorithm based on historically popular stories to predict which stories will be popular in realtime"

Yup. I think it explains a lot.

This is way better than what I was working on[1]. Mine is still under development. I wanted to go after more of the top things being searched- i.e. Google Trends, Bing, Yahoo!, all that jazz- and somehow do something with that data. Along the lines I added Youtube popular list, Reddit, and other things.

I like it, wish you had an RSS feed. If you are going to want it to stick you are going to need a way for me to either a)share this content with my friends(twitter, facebook), b) let me comment on the stories you are giving me, c)let me bookmark these stories- there are tons of ways but right now I'm just reading. I'll keep checking back to see what you are doing. Great work!


Please, please, please ditch the "disruptively scroll a huge chunk of page upon reaching the bottom" feature. Even if it does come bundled with the "show more content in a passive manner" feature, it's not worth it.

I'll gladly click to load more stories if it means I don't have to bear with the jarring effect of the page moving down a chunk while I scan stuff.

It works fine if you use a scrollwheel, but if you drag the scrollbar it is a horrible experience that I would not wish upon my greatest enemies.

Especially for content that is repetitive in design, I find dragging the scrollbar to be a more effective way to scan. I assume I'm not alone?

I find dragging the scrollbar thumb almost the least effective way to scroll (second only to clicking the up/down arrows), and I'm a big fan of the auto-loading. Browsers really ought to wait until you stop dragging to change the range of the scrollbar.

I propose a test. Set up a fake HN account, and use kickpost to submit stories. With a 20 minute head start, you should be the first poster on many stories. Later, you can reveal the account name for our amazement.

Looks great! I agree that there should be a blurb to the effect of "predicting hotness while it's still lukewarm," or something less lame but more informative. Do you use a form of Poisson regression, by any chance?

Glad you like the look of it! We are using Bayes inspired algos at this point.

Do you like the mix of stories? Do you think you will use it tomorrow?

I do like the mix of stories. To be honest, I probably won't use it tomorrow. But you know what? I would probably use it tomorrow if you juxtaposed (a) the time when you predicted it would be hot, with (b) the time when it became hot by some other metric. Obviously the newest stories wouldn't have that yet, but the ones that are ~30min old just might. In other words, if I felt like I was getting in on something special, I probably would use it.

Yes, totally agree. If you indicated how much later it appeared on websites such as Techmeme, Google News, maybe HN, I would totally come back to this. Also might be nice for comments sometime down the line?

Great clean type! Love the non-fussy auto-loading at the bottom of the page too (is there some kind of fade-in happening there?).

I don't know if the italicized time of the post at the beginning of each blurb is useful, it feels like cruft when I am looking for information (I just skip over that piece). It also loses meaning lower down in the list (6:45PM 3 days ago? Do I care?)

Also: Have you played with de-emphasizing the time box on the left of each post somehow? Like, make it use muted colors unless :hovered?

I'd kill for an RSS reader that worked like this, though.

Awesome feedback. Glad you like the auto-loading, it does fade in a bit to keep it feeling 'gentle'.

Interesting that you find the time unnecessary. May consider removing.

Will play with the timebox on the left a bit. It is a bit strong, but its something we think emphasizes the speed and realtime nature of the app, so don't want it to fade back too much.

What do you think of the mix of stories?

Re: the timebox. I noticed that the 'strongness' of it makes the whole page jump visually when you update them en masse at each poll. I don't know what to think about the time-ago being updated live, too, while we're on it. Maybe some kind of subtle way to change them will help?

Re: mix of stories. I'm currently staying away from Techmeme (had to disable my no iPhone/Android news user script to actually compare the headlines), so my input there is of marginal use. I'll say that the headlines didn't put me off - there was good diversity of content instead of half the page being filled with hoopla about cellphones. I learned about Real Time Farms[1] from a lifehacker story via the Kitchn blog, so that's something!

1: http://lifehacker.com/5589590/real-time-farms-is-a-user+supp...

Cool. Will think through ways to update the times in a less bothersome way.

I liked that post too!

I'm interested to see it working during the weekday. This weekend is kind of dull for tech news. :-) Nice job though. I really like the simplicity.

I typically refresh the Techmeme page 10-20 times throughout the day. Does the KickPost page automatically pull down new posts, or do I have to refresh to get the latest news? Also, is there a list of blogs that you're pulling from? Thanks!

It def is more interesting when news is breaking :). Thanks for the kind words about the simplicity. We are focusing on that.

The page automatically refreshes when new posts come in! One of my favorite features.

Great stuff.

I would make the headlines stronger than the rest.

Also I would play around with sizes. You might be able to squeeze it down a little and get more headlines at any given time.

New items appear in an annoyingly jerky fashion as I scroll down the page (Opera 10.6). Can you add a smooth animation for the same?

Care to share any technical details? Hosting, language, storage... Thks.

Have you considered applying the predictive model on HN submissions? It'll be interesting to compare your predictions against top voted news articles.

totally kicks ass.

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