Home Do You Want This Activity Stream on Your Phone?

Do You Want This Activity Stream on Your Phone?

Open web enthusiast Todd Ronin has published a cool mock-up animation of what an “activity stream” might look like on an Android phone. The design is simple but is something we can imagine enjoying on our phones, a lot.

Android is Google’s super-open mobile operating system that hasn’t moved the needle yet, but is great for discussions like this and could end up much bigger than the iPhone. Activity Streams are the rivers of updates on what you and your friends are doing across different social networks. Most of the major social networking vendors are working hard to figure out what kind of standards could allow these activity streams to flow freely from one site to another. Here’s one vision of what that could look like on your phone.

There are a number of things that stand out to us in this illustration. First, the message at the top of the page that tells you if and how many new updates you’ve got is useful. It’s easier said than done, though, to determine what’s new and what’s old. It’s a must-have part of the interface none the less.

Second, we really like the big faces of users. One of the advantages of standards in this sphere would be standardized user avatars like this, whether your data is coming in from Twitter or LinkedIn.

Further, we really like that the service from which the update originated is highlighted in a particular color. It’s nice to scan down them and we presume that such an interface would allow you to click on any of those and see just that same update type.

The truncated messages expandable for full viewing with a click are really nice. That’s a good way to handle “long” 140 character plus messages in a very small space.

When we wrote last week about Marc Canter’s proposed “DiSO Dashboard” and its outline construction, the dashboard format was taken for granted. Ronin, the designer of the mock-up above, argued against that presumption in comments, at least when it comes to mobile use. He said that a mobile interface needed to be much more lightweight than a desktop style dashboard, and thus his proposed solution above.

This vision comes with its own problems, as well, however.


We like the option of calling a user in response to their full message, but we’d think that multiple ways to respond to these messages would be good. Then the interface gets a little more complicated.

One thing you may have noticed if you’re a heavy user of multiple social networking systems is that some of them really overwhelm others. New cross posting services like Ping.fm or Pixelpipe will require de-duplication in an interface like this. Put these two factors together and you’ve got a real situation. (My friend Baratunde Thurston, for example, is driving me crazy with Twitter-like updates flooding my LinkedIn network updates feed, crowding out job changes I’d like to know about.)

Finally, it’s hard to imagine using this kind of interface instead of the iPhone view of FriendFeed, which is simply awesome.

The future may be all about open and Android, though, not about the expensive, closed iPhone, as impressive as it may be to many of us today. On the approximately 12 million iPhones sold to date, as “father of the cell phone” Marty Cooper said recently – “I don’t know how you put a yawn down on a piece of paper.” Cooper says that far, far more people will use feature rich phones all around the world when the carriers open up and embrace Android.

No matter what kind of phone you use – is this the kind of interface you’d like to see Activity Streams displayed in on it? Speak up now, these interfaces are being built as we speak and this is your chance to have your two cents counted.

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