I love RSS feeds, I think that a site feed is one of the greatest things a website owner can put on their websites. RSS takes the content from a web site and then places it into a handy piece of XML that various applications, such as Google Reader, can then download and into one handy place. The practical benefit of this for me is that I don't have to go all over the internet or back to the same pages again and again to check for new updates. I get all the blog updates, news content, or silly comic from XKCD without having to go back to the website.
This saves a lot of time for me, as I don't have to go to the 61 websites that I have RSS feeds for, and it also means that I don't have to have my eyes abused by the new update to the Gawker sites such as Lifehacker or Gizmodo. However it does mean that I miss the web sites that do have great designs, especially on blogs.
A blog is a space where the design says almost as much about the person as the content does*. I discovered this recently through a friend of mine where the RSS feed on her blog simply delivers the first two paragraphs of content, if you want to continue reading the blog post you are given a link so you can continue reading on their site.
I love this method for using RSS feeds, it means that if I am short of time I can just get a summary from the first two paragraphs, but if I am interested in the topic of the post, and have the time, I can continue on into the website to finish off reading. This then takes me onto their site, where I get to see not just more of the content but also the design and interests of the person, be that in terms of other blog posts, links to other blogs, photos, twitter feed, etc.
This is something that I plan to implement with the next version of this site. Plus the design here is moment is just boring and needs more than just a new lick of paint!
* An updated design is coming to my blog as I know that my is slightly lacking in the design front at the moment. I have big plans to implement once my dissertation has been handed in. One of the big improvements will be a working comment section as I am pretty sure that the current one is pretty broken!