Shruti DhapolaJan 27, 2012 13:36:03 IST
Mumbai: An app is a more personalised mode of browsing the net on your smartphone. We've gone from typing www.com on our desktops to opening a news app with just a touch of our finger.Every major news website or newspaper, now has its own app; websites are pass; the app is more important.
Personally even I though I've downloaded many news apps on my phone, I don't find myself browsing through all of them. The one app that I do end up using often however is Feedly, whichsychronises a user's personalRSS Feeds. Despite manywho believe that RSS will soon die outbecause of the app boom, I'd still recommend Feedly and here's why.
Easy Synchronisation: It's easy to merge with Google Reader RSS feeds if the user is logged into their Google account via their phone. For those who've not used Google reader before and therefore have no feeds to synchronise, there's no need to panic. Once Feedly opens, the user only needs to touch the little RSS icon on the left hand side (also the Feedly icon) and a drop down menu will appear. The menu gives the user several options. The user can just type the name of their preferred news source into the search bar and Feedly will do the rest. For instance if one types Reuters, the numbers of feeds that come from Reuters are displayed. There's also a tiny people icon to the right which displays the number of people who've subscribed to that particular feed. Just touching the feed link will display the latest news from that site. Tapping the little plus on the top right hand corner will add it to your RSS feed.
Feedly also gives bloggers the option of syncing their Tumblr RSS feeds into the app. It also comes with certain preloaded sections under categories like Technology, Photography, Gaming etc. These can however be switched off by going to advanced settings.
Feedly's biggest advantage, in my view, is its ability to aggregate different kinds of content. From blogs like Tumblr to web comics to videos, to regular news, it works well with content which may not always be text based.
No need to open another web browser: For those who've downloaded Google reader app on their Android device, the pain of using that app is truly experienced when trying to click on a complete news story. Google Reader redirects the user to the link via the Internet browser. Which leaves you wondering why there's a Reader app which forces you to use a broswer on your mobile phone.
Thankfully Feedly does no such thing. The user clicks on the story, and the complete story opens within the app. Feedly does ask the user to go to the website to view the story, but doesn't open the website in a different application. With this app, the user doesn't need to keep shifting to other applications.
Save and read later: Smartphone users are likely to have so many news apps that one might think that there are too many apps, too much news available and not enough time to read all of it. Similarly, RSS feeds can be hard to manage, especially when a user subscribes to many feeds.
With Feedly, it's quite easy to manage that constant swarm of new feeds. When one opens a link, there's a pencil shaped icon on the top right-hand pane. The user can click that and the article is saved for later reads. All saved articles can be then viewed via the dropdown menu box which is accessed by tapping the Feedly icon on the left-hand side.
Design and aesthetics:The app market is shallow; an app's design can make a big difference to user experience. Feedly's design is quite easy on the eye with a minimalist user interface. The dropdown menu also has a nice design, with an all black background with white text. Each of the feeds also has a tiny personalised icon next to it.
When the app loads, the first news story on the feed covers the whole page, with an image, headline and excerpt, but it doesn't look unusuallylarge on your phone screen. The user, then has to slide right for more stories from the feed each of which appear in similar fashion.
Most importantly the font is quite readable in normal view. The font size can be increased by clicking on the zoom options that appear with the post. Currently the design has two theme options; white and black. Personally I prefer the white background theme, since the text in the black theme appears in grey and is not that easy to read.
Sharing options: Sharing posts that we like to read is an important part of the whole app experience and with Feedly there are several ways to do it. On the top right-handside of each article is a simple dropdown menu button which will give a user all the options to share. The user can also email an article to a bunch of friends at the same time, by going to the advance settings and adjusting CC and BCC settings.
Overall Feedly is quite a useful app since you can tweak it so much to your personal needs and maintain access to content for which apps are not always available. For those don't want to spend too much time browsing through different apps Feedly is highly recommended.
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