I did not get a news app until last week when a friend told me that the Yahoo News Digest deliberately makes it so you don’t have to constantly check for news: they rake through everything and only give you the news you need to know. Instead of offering you everything, they are only offering you some things, making the act of visiting the app quick and impactful. It doesn’t waste your time nor do you have to dig: it gives you what you want and can even tell you when to look at it. It’s very brilliantly executed too, despite Yahoo!’s godawful new logo.
The app is simple: two times a day, upon your setting, the app alerts you that your news has arrived a la a newspaper to your front door. All the headlines are laid out for you and range from seven to nine stories each of which are color coded to reflect the area they speak to. Stories feature giant cover images that slice down into the story and link out to pertinent Tweets, photos, and even videos. The stories are light (Likely only a hundred words.) but feel thorough and fresh enough that you can—and do—read them all. Catchy headlines are used to be more appealing and there is a definite feeling that this app was made to grab at younger audiences.
The fresh, clean design follows this too. It may not be perfect but, for Yahoo!, it feels like a homerun. You swipe up and down to read stories and swipe left to right to access more stories. Again: like a newspaper. With each story read you get a sort of point that ends with a little counting down to celebrate your newfound knowledge. This is followed by a usually funny or unknown “Did You Know?” factoid. It’s a flavorful reward to something otherwise very vanilla.
News apps are not a big deal but Yahoo!’s choice to withhold information from you, selecting what you need to know for you, makes the app feel like you purchased a butler to inform you of pertinent world happenings. You don’t have to search for these as you do a Twitter stream or even a physical newspaper: you get the best of the best and that is it. It’s not annoying and it is very easy to use. Who knew Yahoo! could do something so exciting? That’s definitely news to us.