App highlight – Circa : Tailored news on the go

I’ll admit, I am a nerd. I like things that work and if it’s beneficial to me, it has to work well.  I am always between clients, always on the go and I don’t have much time to get my fill of current news; easily that is.

Sure I could get my news from Twitter, but there is only so much you can fit within 140 characters.  Following a link to the actual story can be a bit cumbersome, it could lead to a diluted mobile friendly version or even worse, a full sized website where it’s difficult to read. There are other methods like flipboard or pulse, but my gripe is content overload. Pulse and flipboard rely on shuffling news from several feeds/networks; it works to a certain point but too crowded for my taste.

flipboard and pulse side by side comparison of interface

Design and usability is a huge part of what I look for in an app. I tend to lean toward very minimal/gesture driven interfaces that make the most of the entire screen. Recently I heard of a new app called Circa which claims it is “The best way to read the news.”  Let’s see if there’s any truth to this.

Main screen

You have to log in the first time, I opted to use my Facebook account. Immediately, I was greeted with a list of top stories at the moment. I chose one to test it out and found it noticeably pleasant. Super simple, small tidbits of information, and gesture friendly. How it separates itself from other news readers is that editors choose pictures and snippets from an article to create a condensed down, easy to read format. It does this rather well to get what you really want to know without unnecessary clutter.

Each little snippet is to the point and trim the unneeded content. You move to the next segment by swiping up and so forth, simple and quick.

A useful feature is the ability to follow a post (arrow is pointing to the button) to get updates on it and to read it later. You can opt to get push notifications when ever the article is updated.

I’ve been using it for a week or so and I’m loving it. I find myself checking it out during walks to the elevator just to see whats going on in the world. I choose an article and read it to get what I need within a minute or two. Simple, no frills, minimal; everything you could ever want in a friendly format. Currently available only for iOS, Android to support soon. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

iTunes link


David Huynh

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