App Reviewed on: Pad 2
iOS Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Get up, ablute, caffeinate. Check Twitter timelines and trends. Peek at Zite or Flipboard for a daily dose of custom news. Head over to Facebook, scan for viral posts, videos and memes. It’s a ritual many of us tied to our iOS devices are becoming accustomed to. In fact, the whole getting up part is optional. Trouble is, we tend to see the same bits from the same handful of sources - the blogosphere elite - who have hijacked the conversation. It trickles down into our self-curated or social-graph-fed news apps. Our attention is being focused on a tiny fraction of what makes up the global web.
Trapit for iPad offers users access to the same style of curated web content we’ve become accustomed to, ostensibly without the redundancy. Using the same AI source as Siri does, in what it calls an “intelligent discovery engine” Trapit finds a diverse and well-vetted selection of stories for any interest. Unfortunately a clunky UI holds back the one thing Trapit otherwise has in hyper-abundance: potential.
Here’s how it works. Where other aggregators incorporate users' RSS or social media feeds and/or offer auto-curated content from the most popular providers into a sort of digital magazine, Trapit allows users to browse categories, answer questions about their interests, or enter keywords to create story groupings called traps displayed in much the same way. As readers start to thumbs up or down articles, Trapit gets “smarter”, showing pieces most likely to appeal to the individual from over 100 human-curated sources.
Trapit works well for the most part, but I was disappointed by my iPad and Montreal traps. The former was almost entirely made up of iPad Mini reports today. As for Montreal - where I live - there was little news, but lots of hockey. We have one of the longest, largest, and most publicized student protests on Earth happening here, but I couldn’t find anything related. But, if I “dislike” hockey blurbs and "like" hard news, that should change.
The problem lies in Trapit's design. The interface is neither intuitive nor pretty. The trap list fills only the leftmost 3/4 of the screen; the story grid is filled with blurred images, which look worse and have some weird animation when expanded; and there is no “reader” mode to remove website clutter or adjust fonts. There are read-later options though, one built in, and as of the most recent update, also out to Evernote and Instapaper.
Trapit for iPad seems like it’s in Beta along with the Trapit website. It’s obvious money and thought went into the app, but it feels like (an exciting) work in progress. It’s free and will evolve so download it now and take a break from the viral in favour of the virtual road less travelled.