Circa News 3

CliffsNotes for news. Follow stories that matter to you.

#3 Product of the DaySeptember 24, 2014
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Incredibly proud of the team and excited about this massive update we've put together. I'm here to answer any questions at all about Circa News 3!
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Congrats, @mg. I know you and the team did a major backend re-haul to make the new Wire feature possible. I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on journalism and the news industry at large. In your opinion, how is it changing and what does it look like in 5 years? I know, broad question but mighty curious. :)
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@rrhoover +1 this question. with all the recent attention going to major investments in Buzzfeed and Vice, where do you see Circa fitting in? How do you compare yourselves to Vox?
@eriktorenberg @rrhoover Good questions guys. Re: news industry in the next 5 years. This one is really hard to answer. It's changed a monumental amount in the last five years, and for sure a lot in the last two since we started in the space. I think the amount of innovation and disruption in news over the next 5 years will be far more pronounced than ever before. The traditional way of doing things – articles, beats, field reporters, are all about to undergo major transformations. Especially as print dies or becomes a premium product. Re: Vox We're a wholly different beast. First and foremost we're mobile-first which is a major difference. All of our writers strongly consider what the reading experience of a story would be on mobile before anything else and that dramatically shifts how and what we cover. Additionally we're the only company that enables readers to follow the stories they care about and get granular updates as they happen over time. We see this as a significant differentiator vs. all of the rest of the apps and experiences that are out there. It really does feel like magic when you receive your first update to a story you're following.
@mg i had installed circa before and eventually uninstalled. Some stories even though they were related started to appear as new stories. How are you guys handle following thousands of different stories?
@jleebiz We've got our own process on the back-end that helps us stay clear with what stories we're covering. And sometimes related stories do pop up as new stories, but they're not covering identical subject matter. Such as if you take Ferguson – we may cover the incident, the response, and such things as militarized police in different threads.
A huge update! Almost feels like a whole new product. Make sure to check out the new "Wire" feature. Way to go team!
@jtriest Thanks Jonathon!
@mg I got to say, big congrats on this! Question: Am I the only person that immediately finds the main news feed hard to scan/read due to the image transparency and color palette design?
@alexhorre You're not the only one, but it's a limited set. There are so many things to balance here – readability of text, visual cue of the image, scanability of headlines (and therefore info density) and a few other elements. We went through quite a few iterations before landing on this one. And whereas we're big fans of the new checkmark when you've read a story and would like to preserve that space, we'll be looking into ways to improve this view.
@alexhorre Totally agree with you. It's super hard to skim, but mainly due to the transparency. It's sort of subliminal. If my brain sees content that it can't see/read then it automatically goes into a sort of freak out mode and almost refuses to go on further.
@merket I hate freak out brain mode. Rest assured, we're on it and this is by no means the end of designing Circa ;)
Been using the beta and it's such a great improvement. Been really interesting to watch the team iterate through ideas. @mg Could you explain why the Daily Digest and how it relates to the main feed?
@dshan Of course. The Daily Brief is going to be a collection of the stuff that matters most, curated by our editors. The goal is to make sure you're never out of the loop. While the stories are the same as you'd find on the main screen, we call out a single point to make it really easy to not miss it. If you read a story from the main screen, it won't show up in your Brief so as to not confuse you...
@mg Ah, the highlighting a main point is a nice touch. I think I got nervous it was a step in the direction of other 'top ten news stories' approaches, like Yahoo's Digest, which is IMO a misfire. I love the customizability of story following on Circa (in contract to a hand-fed digest model). I also love the lack of emotive, clickbaity headlines, btw.
@dshan Oh HELL no. We're definitely not going down that path ever. Our goal is to inform, not show you some random list of stories. We want to surface the most meaningful stuff of the day in the hopes that you follow it and stick with it.
@mg I definitely knew you weren't going down that path:) I also know my girlfriend, for instance, isn't habitual, but is a frequent user. This kind of thing is a good way to surface high-value stories for her. Circa is the only app I use for news. It's so perfect. Killer work.