Local Signal: Portland-focused start page

Portland-based application developer Ryan Williams’ formerly-yet-to-be-named news tool now has both a name, Local Signal, and some publicly available functionality.

Even in its rough form, you’ll get the gist.

The Pageflakes-esque and Netvibes-y tool takes the “personalized start page” concept to a regional level, providing a wealth of Portland-oriented content, right out of the proverbial box.

It’s a resource Williams has been seeking. When he was unable to find one that met his needs, he decided to build one. And he’s being very open about the development process.

The UI/Design is still in progress, but you can get a good idea of the purpose and the content. I’d love to hear what you guys think. Is it interesting? Worthless? Is there some content this is missing?

For more information on the project, see the Portland Web Innovators discussion or Williams’ blog, Web Things Considered.

  1. […] now. Even in its infancy, I thought Ryan was on to something, but after getting a few reviews and mentions, I’m sure of […]

  2. […] to trust the voters on this one and go with it. It’s also time to announce the preview, since Silicon Florist and Metroblogging Portland have already covered it. Yes, I know it’s aesthetically challenged […]

  3. No worries, I don’t mind critical feedback, you were being honest. Thanks to Matt over at CouldBe Studios, it’s looking much better today.

    A city’s “front page” will be the piece to make more palatable to someone not as accustomed to the SPA model, filtering down to the most important stuff. Is that kind of what you’re referring to by “organizing the information”?

  4. Sorry, I did come across way, way to critical.

    @Ryan, thanks for understanding what i was getting at and not coming back at me. I didn’t think about it being a work in progress.

    I wonder if there are any open source programs you could use to organize the information?

    I’d say don’t go too crazy with design. There is something very special about a site like Crag’s List that just lets you get right to the info without flash animation or tons of ad’s.

    Again, sorry for the harsh comment.

  5. @Jeff, Nope, you’re not. Even my wife says its ugly, nice of her, eh? 🙂

    Like Rick said, it’s still progressing. I like to release early and gather feedback as quickly as possible before making wrong turns. I understand the risks of bad first impressions, but I’ve learned over the years that there will always be another chance to make a first impression. The Internet is a vast place. Many people disagree with that approach, and I definitely won’t fault them for it.

    I’m working with limited design resources, so if any designers out want to help speed up the process, I’m happy to have collaborators. I’d love to try out the “informal collective” idea.

  6. @Jeff: Wow. Thanks for relaying the positive and supportive comments for an admitted “work in progress.”

  7. With all do respect, Ryan.

    Am I the only one that thinks the site is cluttered, hard to follow, and ugly?

  8. What timing on the post! Glad the concept was clear. I really see 3 primary uses, as you mention coming from my own purposes. 1) For an avid news/feed reader to get a quick scan of the local headlines. 2) to get an idea of what’s (and who) going on around you on the social web, and 3) For travelers, and people moving to get a feel for the destination city, what the major news resources are, who the voices are, events, etc.

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