Published Feb. 11, 2021

Facebook’s newsfeed update echoed developer Aza Raskin’s objectives when he set out to build an improved reading interface for his Humanized Reader app in 2006. An example of an aggregator or directory grouping content from different websites, Humanized Reader was an early version of our contemporary feeds. Reflecting on Google’s search interface in a blog post of that same year, Raskin points out that: “The problem is that every time a user is required to click to the next page, they are pulled from the world of content to the world of navigation […] Because it breaks their train of thought and forces them to stop reading, it gives them the opportunity to leave the site. And a lot of the times, they do. The take away? Don't force the user to ask for more content: just give it to them”. Raskin wanted to make navigation invisible, even natural, to the point where it can’t be distinguished from the users’ desires. Inadvertently, Raskin described endless scrolling as an extension of our biological functions. ‘Humanizing’, thus, acquired a slightly different meaning; one that rendered UI navigation as unavoidable as the “train of thought” in our mind