A while back, I remember coming across a social bookmarking site called, BlinkList. Then a few weeks ago, I have come across it again and I was shocked by how many changes have been made. I put it on my “to post” list because the features were just amazing. A few days later, I receive an email from a friend, DeletedSoul, mentioning the great service and its features. A week after that, I received an email from Djoeke, who is from BlinkList. Finally, I set to write a review about BlinkList. If you like social bookmarking, images, Ajax, tagging, and communities, then you will also love BlinkList.
The design is more on the prettier side than most bookmarking services I come across. It has a lot of white but uses colorful tag clouds and great use of drop shadows. But one thing you will notice along with the design is the excellent use of Ajax. Viewing the bookmarks, adding bookmarks, and searching all use Ajax. But wait until you navigate from page to page of bookmarks. You will notice that when you click on an arrow, a loading symbol will come up, then all of a sudden, the page will actually slide up to the top once loaded. It isn’t an immediate position to the top, but a gradual slide. Very smooth effect that actually makes browsing a lot more pleasurable. On the main page, you will see the tags on the left with tabs on top that say, “Most Recent” and “Hot Now.” The first tab will show the latest bookmarked sites with the title, URL, description, tags, number of times tagged, and what really attracted me was the use of images. For each bookmark, BlinkList will attempt to generate a screenshot of the bookmarked site so when browsing, you have a visual of what you are about to view. Another feature (which I have my mouse over in the screenshot above) is the friends feature. The icon for this is a picture of two smiley faces against each other. Now, the great part about this is that when you click on it, it will filter out all the results and only show results that your friends have made. But how do you store friends? Easy, you just have to signup first. So, that is what I did.
When you signup and login to BlinkList, you will have access to the “My List” page. This page is where all the bookmarks you have made are located and as well as your friends. The layout is a little different then the main page. On the left are extras and on the right are your bookmarks. You can see all of your tags on the left, but in different views. You can see your favorite, popular, recent, and also your whole tag cloud. Personally, the only one I really use is the tag cloud and sometimes the favorite tags. You can also manage your bookmarks, but the part that I really love is the network area, or your friends from BlinkList. Your network area is located right below the tags on the left column and should say something like, “bbenzinger’s Network.” If you already have added friends, you will see them listed in this box. What I also like is that you can actually see all the people that are watching you! So, if you add someone, they will know about it. At default, you do not have any friends (sorry). So, lets get started by adding friends!
In your network area, you will see a blue link that says, “Add More Users.” When you click on this, it will bring up a popup and will show a search box and on the right of that, “Your Watch List.” Your watch list is where all your friends will be shown so you can manage them. Below this is an email form that you can send invitations to support BlinkList. Go on, spread the word! To add a friend, you have to search for a friend. This uses Ajax as well, by the way, and when results are found, the page will slide open to fit the list. Then you simply select a name from the list. This is fairly easy, but my question is why can’t we add a member when viewing their member page? Or am I missing something? I think adding a link in other member pages to add them to your list would be great. Once you have your member added, you are ready. You can now view their lists anytime by clicking on their names, or as mentioned previously, you can go to the main page and click on the friends icon. This will then filter out everyone except for your friends, which is my favorite feature. Great job with the networking.
We have signed up, viewed the members area, added some friends. Now what? Start adding bookmarks! Lets start by just simply browsing around inside of BlinkList. Go to the main page and find something of interest that you want to bookmark. When you find one, go to the small box on the right that has the number and then “blinks” under it. You will also see two links right below that. One is “blink it,” which is what you see above, and also a lightning strike. Clicking on the lightning strike will quickly save it to your bookmarks privately, no questions asked, no tags, nada. The lighting strike is actually called “Quick Blinks.” This is great if you just want to add it right away and don’t care about the tags, description, etc.. Or maybe you want to add and come back to it later, like taking a note of a site. But how about we try adding one with tags, description, title, and other information. Simply click on, “blink it.” You will now see a box fade into view. You will also notice that text is already in it. Thank you! Now, the title, description, tags, url, and everything are already filled in for you by the person you are viewing the bookmark from. This means you can just submit and go, unless of course you want to add some information, tags, etc. and then submit it. Once you submit, it will then add it to the top of the column to confirm it was added. Again, this is all using Ajax. Now. we have added a bookmark from within BlinkList, but how about outside of BlinkList? Simple, they’ve got that covered too!
If you noticed when signing up, they directed you to a thank you page. On this page they provide you with three bookmarklets. You can get one that will add the current site you are visiting into your BlinkList along with adding of title, description, tags, etc.. There is also a bookmarket for “Quick Blinks.” This allows you to just click on the bookmarklet and the site you are at will be added without any need to do anything else. Then the last bookmarklet will allow you to get a popup for BlinkList when at a site. If you wish to view the bookmarklets again, you can go to the options at the top right and select, “reinstall bookmarklets.”
After using BlinkList, I was able to clearly see that they are all about their users. They provide many features for you to make your life easier and also take your opinions very seriously. I want to mention a few neat features that really save you time. Lets start with the screenshot. See on the top right? Next to the arrows with the number in the middle that is selected. Well, that number tells you what page you are on as your a looking at BlinkList. But what a lot of people aren’t aware of is that you can actually change this number. It is a text field that when entering a number and pressing the enter or clicking away, it will change the page to that page number you put. Great implementation. The next feature deals with the bookmarklets. When you use a bookmarklet and find a site, select some text before clicking on it. You will notice that this text is then transferred over to the form when adding the bookmark. This is excellent if you just want to quote someone, show a description of a service, etc.. Very quick and easy.
Alright, how about we wrap this post up? I must say, this is the most feature packed bookmarking service I have seen yet. The support seems great, bookmarking is enjoyable, you can create a network of friends, and so much more. Great work. I will definitely be using this for a long time. I have one more thing I want to mention to you before you take off and blinking everywhere. BlinkList has put together a survey that they have kindly asked me to mention. The survey is very short, but it provides a great deal of information to them to better benefit their users. They are looking to find features that you personally want in a social bookmarking service. Really, answering is fairly hard because BlinkList has a very large feature set already! Please take the survey though. It is to benefit you, the users!
Please answer “The Great Social Bookmarking Survey!” This will really help out BlinkList.