Google Reader is my favorite rss reader coz its easy and fun to use and of course the sharing feature. It has a a very original and smart UI which shows the feed items as a stream of stories and I can navigate through them using J & K keys. I love it. However there is a small glitch.
The interaction of the UI is such a way that a story is marked read as soon as you mouse over on it in the Expanded view and when you click on a title in the List view. And now if you want to mark a story as unread, finding the option option is not all that easy… Well let me say you will never find it.
The interaction here is a little tricky. As soon as the story is marked read it shows the status as a check box way below the story item.
Most probably you would want to mark a story as unread when you are half way through it and so you would not scroll down to the end of the item. Now even if you find it at the end of the article, its not straight forward. It says “Mark as read” which leaves the user confused. The user wont get the check box funda right at this point. Also if you look at the other options on the same bottom bar “Add Star” and “Share” have straight forward call to action, a prominent way of displaying the status by changing colors of the icons when they toggle. The “Mark as Read” is also meant to work in the same fashion, just to keep a consistent interaction, but it doesn’t work well.
I would say the best way to show the option should be way on top next to the story title and the button should toggle and the label should change according to the read status of the story.