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Prismatic: Always Interesting
There's no shortage of apps for the new iPhone 5 that aim to create personalised news feeds for you, so Prismatic has its work cut out if it's going to rise above the crop. However, the app's slick and quick interface does make it worthy of investigation.
Opening up the Prismatic app, you are asked to connect with social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, so it can trawl through them to work out your interests and then make suggestions of feeds you might like based on the information it's found. If that sounds a bit too Big Brother-ish for you, you can opt to set-up a Stealth account instead, which lets you avoid entering your social networking details and instead just choose from some suggested feeds.
For example, using it in London its suggested topics were London, the Olympics and the BBC. After this it shows you some extra news sources, such as the Guardian, Independent and FT newspapers, as well as blogs like Apartment Therapy and websites like Boing Boing. Thrown in among the selection process are some tips on how to use the app, so once you're finished setting it up, you should also know the basics of how to find your way around.
In fact, navigation is very simple. Your news feed is simply a list of stories that you can scroll vertical up and down. To refresh the list you just go to the top of the list, swipe down and then release again. You tap on a story to open it up for fullscreen viewing and swipe right to return to your news feed. You can also swipe left to open up a panel that includes a search box, list of your recent activity and an area that lets you add new sources to your feed. It's all pretty straight forward stuff and very intuitive to use.
Nevertheless, there are a couple weaknesses with the Prismatic: Always Interesting iOS app. For starters, there's no native iPad version, so it looks pretty rubbish on Apple's tablets. Also, it dumps everything in a single feed, so you can’t set up different feeds for different subjects. You can access pre-defined feeds for stuff like Gadgets or Interior Design, but you don’t seem to be able to customise these. Also, it is neat the way you can tap keywords at the top a story to view a feed with other similar stories.
Prismatic: Always Interesting Verdict
Prismatic's designers are obviously going for simplicity and immediacy rather than trying to cram in loads of features. In many way its works, as it's very speedy to use and the interface makes it easy to jump around different topics. However, at times it feels too freeform and a bit of extra structure wouldn't go amiss.
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