User needs and requirements

During the initial meeting with the focus group, the following needs and requirements were identified.

  • Read articles
  • Post articles
  • Follow-up to articles
  • Browse news groups

Reading articles is one of the fundamental, must have features of any news reader.

Posting articles is also a fundamental feature of any news reader. Without the ability to post articles no discussions can take place, nor would there be any articles for people to read.




Follow-up to articles: Threads are quite important within Usenet, they allow the client to identify discussions and also allow the user to reply to articles with their comments or suggestions.

Browse news groups: Displaying the articles available within news groups is also necessary. Without this the user would be required to enter an article ID in order to view a specific article.

Additionally, the focus group identified several abilities which would be very useful in any news reader and would improve it’s usability.

  • Catch up with groups: Catch up marks all unread articles within the specified group as read.
  • Subscribe to groups: Mark a group as ‘subscribed’ so that it can appear in the list of subscribed groups.
  • Unsubscribe from groups: Remove the ‘subscribed’ marking from a group. This group will no longer appear in the list of subscribed groups.
  • User preferences: Individual user preferences are useful to allow a user to specify their real name and email address, so that when they post an article to a news group others can identify the person.
  • Group ordering: It is often much easier to find a particular news group that you are searching for if all of the news groups available are ordered alphabetically, or some other form of ordering such as numerically by the number of unread articles.
  • Show only subscribed groups: Displays only the groups that are marked as ‘subscribed’ in the news groups listing.
  • Identify unread articles: It is important to, one way or another, show the user which articles they have read and which ones they have not.
  • Threaded article view: Discussions are considerably easier to follow if the articles are threaded. This means that it is easy to identify a ‘follow-up’ articles and the parent article, the one which the article refers to.
  • Multiple style sheets: Due to the nature of CSS, it is possible to switch between style sheets to present the web system in a completely different way depending on the information held within the style sheet. As such, this is an easy way for the end user to choose a ‘theme’ for the system that feel most comfortable using.
  • Toggle display of read/unread articles: Sometimes the end user only wishes to read recent, unread articles and are not interested in older articles. Similarly the user may wish to look for an old article which would have already been marked as read.



  Web Based News Reader Home Page

   Previous    Next  

Produced by: