Research User Experience for Existing ReadLater Apps

by Ruchita Rathi

Background


 

Per discussion with my mentor @jancbrochart, I completed my research for user experience for existing ReadLater applications including Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote Clearly, and Readability.

I chose to research the user experience for these applications based on the user ratings on the Apple App Store and Google’s Play Store.

This post details my findings on the user experience for these applications.

I organized the features of these apps in the following broad modes – Read mode, Add mode, and Organize mode.

User Experience for Existing ReadLater Apps


 

UX for Pocket

Pocket provides the following user experience:

Read mode

  • Option to toggle between two views – grid and list

Pocket2

  • Each item in the list/grid shows action items like share, archive, delete, tag, etc. for that post

Pocket Individual Item

  • Videos are auto-detected and the user can consume the video within the application.
  • Several options to view your content – images only, videos, article mode are available, making it a very seamless reading experience.

Pocket Options to View Items

  • Various options to view the content – entire list, favorites, or archived items

 Pocket4

  • Option to view items according to the tags

Pocket6-Tag

  • Search feature is also available

Add mode

Adding content to Pocket is a simple one-click action, the user can choose to either add the url or
can use the bookmarklet (browser extension) to add it to the user’s Pocket account.

Pocket Add

Organize mode

Pocket provides the following ways to organize your saved content:

  • Organize by tags
  • Organize by type of content – video, image, articles
  • Organize by favorited items

Additionally, it has partnered with IFTTT (If This Then That) to come up with unique recipes to capture your content:

  • Recipe to facilitate content collection for Youtube, Twitter
  • Recipe to create a Facebook post with what you favorited in Pocket
  • Recipe to save a favorited item in Pocket to Evernote

These are just some of the many recipes. For more recipes see: https://ifttt.com/pocket.
(Note: Currently for each IFTTT recipe the download numbers are close to several thousands.)

 

UX for Instapaper

Instapaper provides the following user experience:

Read mode:

  • Better reading experience with clean design.

Instapaper1

  • List layout is available with small blurb of the content.

Instapaper2

Instapaper seems to parse the content well based on the latest reviews from the users and also allows the users to mine content from their social networks.

Add mode

Adding is simple action. The “Add Link” button is available across all the screens.

Organize mode

Instapaper provides the following features to organize the content:

  • Ability to create various folders
  • Highlights to save from the content (ability to store snippets from the content)

Explore mode

Additionally, Instapaper provides the following features to discover and explore new content making the app more stickier:

  • Browse featured content from friends, daily popular stories etc.
  • Allow ability to connect your Instapaper account with your social network to mine rich stories/content

 

UX for Readability

Read mode

  • Readability has clean design but has only one view for arranging the articles in read mode. Although it has several options for generating engagement – Reading List and Recommended Articles.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.26.31 PM

  • Additionally, it also highlights the articles and the blurbs associated with the articles

Add mode

Addition requires several steps for users (Go to Reading List -> Click on + sign-> then add the article).

 

UX for Evernote Clearly

Read mode

  • Ability to toggle between various typography format
  • Provides a clean and clutter free design – use of white background

EvernoteClearly2

  • Additioanlly, the app also provides a text to speech option but that is available only for Google Chrome
  • The app converts the web page into standard Evernote display

Add mode

  • Simple and intuitive to add the content to your Evernote account

Organize mode

  • Ability to highlight the text
  • Retrieve related notes from your Evernote account
  • Ability to organize content based on tags
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