Zite – News app that presents interesting stories or personalize it
Apr 26, 2012 12:03 PM –
Zite is a well developed and thorough news app which presents various interests and associated stories. Unlike say, Google Currents which is formulated by selecting particular sources, Zite instead highlights themes and interests and amalgamates stories accordingly. The app looks and works very well, providing a wide range of interests to choose from and the ability create your own.
Tested on: HTC One X
Pros & Cons:
- Great design and UI!
- Wide range of sources and interests!
- Personalized content, thumbs up and down tabs to improve your content!
- Really popular on the iPad, it does not have a version optimized for Android tablets.
- Cannot re-order sections.
- Some sources can be read natively within the app, others send you to a URL.
Zite is a slick and well produced news source that labels all your favourite interests into sections, allowing you to flick between them and access a wide range of news sources, mostly within the app itself. You begin by creating an account and selecting which kind of things interest you. The options include everything from politics and programming to wine and architecture. You can scroll down the list and add whichever you wish. The app then customises itself accordingly, allowing you to sweep horizontally and access individual sections. Additionally, you can add your own interests and Zite will search out sources and stories that discuss these topics.
Apps like Google Currents, Pulse and Taptu continue to raise the bar on slick and responsive UI, and it’s great to see Zite doesn’t slack in this regard. Stories are presented in a fresh and intuitive interface making articles easy to read and navigate through. I liked the fact that, aside from the listed interests, you can essentially add your own, much like using the Google News web interface. Furthermore, the app only improves as you use it; if you give articles and sources either a thumbs up or thumbs down, the service will further personalise your content. This, in a way, reminded me of how you perform the same actions with apps and services such as StumbleUpon, which we reviewed recently.
The video above demonstrates the capabilities of the app, although in a different form factor on the iPad. Sadly, despite the iPad version of the app being incredibly popular on iOS, this version only supports phones, not Android tablets. Also, you cannot re-order sections of interest. So, while personally I’m interested in Arts & Culture, it’s perhaps not the first section I want to read. You get a front page of ‘Top Stories’ and then have to swipe sideways to get to your favourite sections. If there was a way of moving more relevant sections closer to your starting point it might be a more user-friendly experience. Just imagine reading a newspaper where each section is in alphabetical order, that’s what using Zite is like.
The experience is further customisable by the ability to change things like font size and, if the content is readable via the app, you can choose to access the website directly. I did find occasionally stories are unresponsive and do not open when touched, and while many articles are native within the app, you often are sent to the website. This can be seen in a variety of news apps, I’ve raised the issue myself when reviewing Google Currents. It just makes for such a sporadic experience… when you have an interest in a story you never know if it’s native or browser based, which means your overall experience becomes very fragmented.
Zite – Top stories
Zite – Interest view, Gadgets
Zite – Story view
Zite – Story view 2
Zite – Choose sections
Zite – Search
Zite – Profile
Zite – Font size
Zite – Share
Zite – Feedback
Zite – Connect accounts
I liked the range of news sources Zite uses and the ability to like or dislike sources is a great way to improve your experience. The app updates frequently, and following news within your personalized sections is an enjoyable experience. The negative factors I mention above make the app less user-friendly than perhaps it should be, but it still feels good to use.
Ease of Use:
Aside from the need to scroll through alphabetically advantaged sections to get to the interests you want, Zite is a nice and easy to use app. I liked the way it can derive sources from your Twitter account and infuse them into the app. I think Zite overall is relatively easy to use, but with a few tweaks could be easier and more intuitive than it is currently.
Zite is built to easily be a daily-use news app. It refreshes frequently and makes reading news little bother.
I really like the slick design of Zite. The stories themselves, in addition to the menus and search sections, are great. I did notice that some stories, for me anyway, were not responsive, although I guess this could be some kind of blip.
Tags: Android App
, Android Apps
, AndroidTapp.com App Review
, Google Currents
, News Reader
Categorised in: News & Weather
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