I’ve decided to start promoting the full “Minimal Reader” brand, instead of “MnmlRdr”. It’s more clear, simpler (yes, even though it has *more* vowels), and fits better overall with where I want to take the service.
You will still be able to use the mnmlrdr.com domain for the time being, but minimalreader.com will be the primary domain going forward.
This is the first post in a new series called “Should Read“, where I’ll be posting some of my favorite reads from the past week that I think you’ll also enjoy.
The Most Important Two Minutes of Your Life
by Leo Babauta
by Nate Kontny
Starting Your Own Business Will Not Make You Happy
by Nic Haralambous
Failing Your Way to Creativity
by Helen Adilia AF
by Duncan Geere
One of my favorite additions to iOS 7.1 (released March 10) is a new mode for Mobile Safari called “minimal-ui”, which developers (like me) can enable for their websites. What this mode does is hide the browser toolbars so more of the website content can be displayed.
Here’s how MnmlRdr looks with this new setting:
(notice how the browser toolbars have been hidden)
For the developers in the audience, enabling this is super simple. Just add “minimal-ui” to the HTML viewport meta tag, like so:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1,minimum-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0,minimal-ui" />
It has been just over a month since I launched real-time updates for MnmlRdr. This has been one of the most exciting features to build and release.
- This was the most requested feature since I launched MnmlRdr.
- Once the feature was live, there was immediate surge of adoption.
- Currently, around 75% of customers have real-time updates turned on.
- The system is pushing an average of 20 notifications per second, every second, directly to logged-in users’ browsers.
- We’ve delivered just over 60 million real-time notifications of new stories in the past month.
There is something fascinating about technology that works at “scale” to help make a product better. I’m just getting started and can’t wait to show you what I’m cooking up next.
Happy reading (in real-time)!
What is better than refreshing your MnmlRdr to see a list of new stories from your favorite blogs? Not having to refresh of course! MnmlRdr now has the ability to “push” new stories to your account so you can stay up-to-date on your favorite blogs in real-time.
After evaluating some new features, I decided I wanted a way to keep from having to always refresh to see new stories. But, my focus with MnmlRdr is to keep from cluttering up your screen with lots of distraction, so the implementation is “quite minimal”:
- You see notifications of new stories only when you enable the feature (turned off by default).
- Notifications are limited to the section you are currently viewing. This means that if you have selected a single feed, you’ll only see notification updates from that feed.
- Notifications of new stories appear at the top of the list.
- New stories only display once you click on the notification.
So, what do you need to use this new feature? All you have to do is check “Notify me of new items as they arrive” from the settings page and you’ll start seeing new stories as they come into the MnmlRdr service.
I subscribe to a lot of blogs. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with so much content flowing in, so I usually split up my feeds into a couple of buckets:
- Important: important feeds that I want to read every day
- The River: everything else that is OK to skip.
Sometimes, though, I want to skim what’s been happening “today” in The River without seeing anything that is older.
I’ve just released a new feature that allows you to mark entries older than 1 day or 1 week as read. This, combined with “Only show unread items” allows you to easily trim down your unread stories so you only see the most recent.
I have a bunch of new things like this planned for the next couple of weeks to help make MnmlRdr a more enjoyable experience.
In the meantime…happy reading!
When I started MnmlRdr, I wanted the mobile and desktop experience to feel great. I was using Google Reader on my mobile device, which was good enough, but never really felt like a fast and responsive “app”. I wanted to build something better.
To achieve that, I included gestures from day 1:
- Swipe left to star an item (or mark to be read later)
- Swipe right to mark an item as read/unread.
- Pinch (or double tap) an expanded item to collapse.
And the best part…you can even use these gestures on the “desktop” view of the site if you want.
This is the first in a series called “Building MnmlRdr”, where I’ll be discussing the ins and outs of building and marketing a feed reader.
When I first started building MnmlRdr, I was exploring a lot of domain names. I wanted something simple. The product’s core was to be centered around fewer distractions and a “minimal” feel, so I tried to incorporate that into the domain. I ultimately settled with mnmlrdr.com.
My first thought was, “Neat. No vowels. How minimal.”
What I didn’t realize at the time (and I should have if I had talked to anyone…) was that mnmlrdr.com was hard to communicate.
Here’s how the dialog usually went:
"Your product sounds interesting. What's the website?"
"m-n-m-l-r-d-r-dot-com… That's "minimal reader" without any of the vowels."
"Uhh…I'll just Google you…"
After a few months of having to explain the domain like this, I decided to get in touch with the owner of “minimalreader.com”. David, was responsive, was interested in selling, and had a little bit of leverage since the domain is an exact match for my product.
A little negotiation later and I purchased the domain for $50 more than I would have on “Wheel of Fortune”. (Vowels are expensive.)
What does this mean for you?
- You can use either domain.
- MnmlRdr.com is the canonical domain.
- All bookmarks and links will work for either domain.
- The product is still called MnmlRdr.
- In the future, branding might dictate whether or not the “MnmlRdr” or “Minimal Reader” domain/name sticks. I’m undecided here…
Next time I’ll talk a little more in-depth on the domain purchase and negotiation.
In the meantime, happy reading and enjoy the vowels!
Image adapted from original by “Atom Smasher” (CC BY-SA)