October 06, 2008

Hackr WatrCoolr: Tech News Aggregation With No Mouse Required

A couple weeks ago, in an article about Microspaces, I said that Web entrepreneurs are finding new ways for you to navigate their sites, and many are now incorporating keyboard input, to jump to new comments or pages. Though I mentioned it in a quick tweet on September 25th, I thought it was worth highlighting the Hacker WatrCoolr, a site that displays headlines from many popular tech news sites, and lets you quickly flick through them using only your keyboard - no mouse required.

A Headline from ReadBurner on WatrCoolr Tonight

WatrCoolr shows the latest headlines from Digg, Hacker News, Del.icio.us, Techmeme, Reddit, RSSmeme, Slashdot, Yahoo! News and ReadBurner. Each headline shows its recency, and the destination URL (e.g. nytimes.com or makeuseof.com).

Scoble's Post Hits Techmeme and Makes it to WatrCoolr

But unlike many other news aggregation sites, the Hacker WatrCoolr doesn't shoe-horn them into one busy page, like AllTop. Instead, it displays one headline at a time. To scroll through older items from the same source, you just need to hit the down arrow key. To see a new source, hit the right or left arrow. And to read the article, you just have to press the "r" key, or press "n" to have it open in a new window or tab.

While Hackr WatrCoolr is not looking to replace your RSS reader, some of the functionality is very similar to that of applications like Google Reader, and it's a very easy way to get all the top stories from each of these sites in one place. It may be a little experiment, but it hints at one way the Web could go to make the process of our news gathering even that much more easy. I hope to find more Web developers who are thinking different about how we navigate today's often-formulaic and static Web sites.
DISCLOSURE: I am an advisor to ReadBurner, and hold a small equity position.