RSS is magic and the things we do online are often beautiful – so why are all the interfaces for displaying the feeds of our activities so ugly? Enter Swurl, a visually stunning system for displaying a timeline of your activities on various sites around the web.
Developer Ryan Sit specializes in leveraging the visual to create new interfaces for data, his ListPic application lets users browse Craigslist by images. Just like Listpic creates a whole new experience for Craigslist, Sit hopes that Swurl will make interacting with lifestream data a much more visually enjoyable experience.
How it Works
The most important part of Swurl is the timeline view, where all the messages, bookmarks, album covers and photos you’ve saved in various services are organized in a calendar view. It’s a great way to look back at days gone by – we’ve found already that it can’t help but put your experiences into a different perspective.
In addition to the timeline view, Swurl also publishes your activities in a blog-type format. Each person’s blog is highly customizable. If you’ve hesitated to send the URL to your crazy-chaotic FriendFeed page to your grandma, maybe you should send her to a Swurl page instead.
Inside of each item you’ll find all kinds of visual treats, like a nice slideshow viewer, song lyrics displayed below the Flash audio player for each song in your time line and elegant captions on your photos. There are lots of nice little touches here and we hope it will only continue to improve.
One of the areas the app could really use improvement is in viewing your friends’ activities. You probably don’t want to use it for that, unless it’s very casual. Swurl discovers your friends on various services but displays their activities in a boring list that’s spotty and hours behind.
The big picture here for us is that RSS feeds and lifestream data in particular can really look great when displayed nicely and mashedup with various sources of data. By grouping your activities into a calendar view, Swurl really facilitates a change in perspective. We think you’ll enjoy this app and we are excited to see where it goes in the future.