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How Biscuit's Infinite Canvas Design Redefines the Reddit Experience


Reddit lies at the centre of today’s web. A watering hole for geeks, journalists, and trendsetters, it kindles everything from fashion fads to national security debates. Information flows so fast, and so deep, that it’s easy to miss: blink, and your bearings are lost, scroll, and you’ve missed a key comment…

When Peter Purgathofer, the well-known technologist and educator, asked us to collaborate on a radically different Reddit client, we jumped at the chance. Our goals were threefold: provide an intuitive visual representation of the conversation, highlight contributions from friends and contacts, and facilitate voting. Simply put, we wanted to make Reddit useful again.

Working with developer Matthias Tretter, Wollzelle tackled the user experience, the design, and the typography. The result is called Biscuit, and it’s available from the App Store today.

Built exclusively for iOS 7 on iPad, Biscuit uses an infinite canvas to lay out conversations, and their various branches, endowing each dimension with clear meaning. It invites users to explore threads visually, and to dive into each tangent, without ever allowing them to lose sight of the main topic.

Comments from friends and contacts are automatically highlighted to emphasise trustworthy opinions. Last but not least, voting, the key ingredient of Reddit’s alchemy, is always but a swipe away.

A complex engine ticks behind the scenes to enhance the user’s experience, always preloading, caching, and parsing to keep things fluid and up-to-date. Full Markdown support encourages active and constructive participation in the debate, by removing any barriers to the writing of complex comments. (And of course, it wouldn’t be a Reddit client without a ಠ_ಠ button!)

By focusing on the conversation and its flow, and facilitating interaction with others, Biscuit hopes to turn Reddit’s swamp back into fertile ground for thought. It is an opinionated design, and one we are very proud of.