Monday, 4 June 2012

Instapaper - An iOS To Android Port Can Be Good

Today morning I saw the news that Instapaper is finally arriving to Android. My initial thought was "Oh no, here we go again" and nearly opening the +Android UI Anti-Patterns G+ page straightaway. After all the Instapaper founder is the infamous Marco Arment ( who has never saved his words when bashing Android & Android ecosystem. But man was I in for a surprise, a positive one!

Android app for Android, iOS app for iOS

The Instapaper app for Android was built by company called Mobelux, a developer company that doesn't seem to have that much experience on Android. They did what others didn't and got to know the platform instead of relying on their iOS skills. And that shows.

The follows Android guidelines, uses Android intents to integrate to the rest of the platform and ships with a tablet UI. 

There are some features I'm not that fond of like the action mode on items which is triggered by swiping. I'd much rather see a long press and action bar action mode but I guess that is a fairly small thing.

I encourage you to read more about the Instapaper on Android from:

And of course download the app from Google Play ($2.99)

Phone UI

Tablet UI

Welcome to Android Instapaper!


  1. Not bad at all!
    But still: iPad-like pop-in menus on the tablet layout, no Contextual Action Bar... But that's a really good start.

  2. I think you might need to let go of the long-press pattern. TBH, the swipe is much quicker and when it's combined with instant actions such as moving the row along with the swipe (Instapaper still needs to implement this) is much more intuitive and discoverable. The user will immediately be able to act upon the secondary menu as opposed to waiting a second which seems like a UX interruption.

    1. Hey Grantland,
      The problem with using swipe here is that it is already reserved for other functions on Android OS. Overloading it with this functionality will get confusing.

      Swipe's primary function currently is to move between tabs or screens on same hierarchy level.

      Other common use that was introduced on ICS is to get rig of things (apps in history and notifications). It think that this association with the swipe gesture is the most worrying one. I could see in future apps using swipe to get rid of item rows on lists for example. I don't think that overloading quick actions to swipe gesture is smart for these reasons.

    2. There's one more thing that I'm planning to write about that is related to this. Quick actions on twitter for example are implemented in similar way but have a massive UX blooper. The instant actions replace the content where these actions are going to be applied to therefore fully dismissing user's sense of context. Intapaper is not doing the same mistake as they leave part of the item visible but when using swipe to display quick actions there's a big risk of creating similar UX problems as twitter (and few others) do.