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Jeff Mellen
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In my opinion, the advantage of Reader was not its social network, but its scannability. Through its tabular layout and efficient use of space, I could tell in about four seconds where I'd want to jump to, and why (preferred feed, interesting headline, recent comment, etc).

It's one thing that Google has applied its thick lather of margins and padding and The Orange Box color scheme to the Reader UI-- I understand the desire to consolidate and unify. I wish it were on a separate domain so I could apply the same Chrome one-size-smaller settings as I do to GMail, but that's a change I can swallow.

But Google+ is a reading disaster. Look at the new way to share a link, such as +Alan Gardner's share of PETMAN. The headline is buried under the comment, which is under a repost. The content, truncated to a few lines, is the same style as the comments. And on my browser, the post consumes 590 pixels of vertical space. That's nearly the size of my viewport, and implies one scroll wheel flick per article. 30 finger flicks for an equivalent Reader page!

Plus (sic), as anyone with even a passing knowledge of UI knowledge knows, engagement declines rapidly 'below the fold,' or the below the bottom of the viewport prior to scrolling. And this comment, which could have been represented by a row 30 pixels or so high, just buried whatever came beneath it. (Sorry, Matt.)

So it's not the destruction of the social network that will hurt Reader most, or the rest of Google+ for that matter-- it's that what was once readable (and actionable) at a glance is now flat-out tiring to wade through. Without a more efficient UI, the Reader network, even when Google monkey-patches it back in, will seem more distant.

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