What is the best way to sift through a stream of information? The list view seems to be the most popular because it is information-dense and easy to scan, but it can be overwhelming. More visually appealing ways to manage data are needed. Twine, a site which lets you collect and subscribe to different interest feeds, just introduced a new way to wade through its streams.
The new Flash visualization presents your stream of shared links as a deck of headlines which you can shuffle through (see video below). A slider along the bottom, lets you cycle through the deck by time, and arrows underneath let you move sequentially, or you can just click on a deck in the background to move it forward. If you want to learn more, you can flip each deck to read a snippet and link to the full detail page. The semantic tags associated with each item also show up on the side and can be clicked on to navigate through the deck.
It feels like Coverflow on Apple’s iTunes, except that you navigate through the deck front to back instead of side to side. It also reminds me of the deck metaphor on the new Palm Pre. I can definitely see this as a good UI for mobile apps as well where screen size is more constrained. Don’t worry, though, the regular list view is still an option.
My only problem with the visualization is that it takes a while to load (Flash, why do you torture me?). But other than that, it makes sifting through each feed seem more like channel-surfing in the way that SearchMe does for search results and music search or StumbleVideo does for Web videos. But there must be a better way to wade through the stream. What is it?