Slick app for the iPhone whose purpose is news discovery via queries + following serendipitous broad match keyword links. Designed by Brendan Dawes and powered by the news curation ecosystem of Daylife, Accidental News Explorer is all about:
- Querying a news topic
- Tapping a headline
- Arriving at a summary
- Continuing onto the article
- Exploring “related topics”
Related topics brings up keywords Daylife associates with the content of the previously viewed article, presenting them as links that, upon tapping, query the Daylife ecosystem for that particular keyword. The idea assumes you will continue reading (slash saving for later via its Instapaper integration) or continue exploring related topics in a very unexpected, accidental way.
From my time with the app, it’s clear that it has several executions that are brilliant, but misses on a few key areas.
- Slick font use (title typeface: Gills Sans, subhead typeface: Calluna, body typeface: Georgia)
- Fast, minimal page design
- Effective toolset (obviously I love the Instapaper integration) for sharing, reading later, copying, and opening in Safari
- Unique UI that is a slight (but thematic) departure from the usual Apple guideline-hugging apps
- Queries for topics usually always bring up content only a few days old. You can’t tap anywhere to “view more,” and you can’t filter anything — you are merely presented with articles to investigate. There’s a nice simplicity to this, but if I query “Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” wouldn’t it be great to “accidentally” find old articles about the man in Life or the New York Times? It’s unfortunate that Daylife API only reaches into a “recency” article pool from its ecosystem.
- Lack of a text “mobilizer” is nearly unacceptable. Twitter for iPhone, for instance, leverages either the Instapaper Mobilizer or any other custom one. These effectively pull only article text from the page, and remove all other clutter. You shouldn’t have to sign up for Instapaper and “read later” for this to work (though I totally endorse the service).