dotdotdot is a Read it Later Service and a Social Network for Page-turning Enthusiasts
There is so much content to read these days, that sometimes it proves to be overwhelming. The more you read, the less you feel you have read. Also, it’s not like all of us have oodles of time to read everything we come across at that very instant. Thus, we tend to rely heavily on read-it-later services that help archive something interesting, so that it can be read at our convenience. It is delightful also because apps like Pocket or Instapaper extract just the content you want to read, leaving behind all the ads and other distracting elements typically found on websites. Today we have a look at dotdotdot — on the surface it might seem like yet another reading app for iOS, but it has more to offer.
The first and foremost thing to talk about dotdotdot is its elegant design (after all Ladies & Gentlemen, you are reading Beautiful Pixels). Kudos to the designers for proving that an app can look beautiful even if most of its interface is dressed simply in black and white. To get into the app, you have to register first. You can ease this process by using Twitter or Facebook to auto-fill your credentials. The first thing we noticed that struck us oddly was the forceful portrait mode implementation. We love using the iPad propped up in Stand Mode with the help of the Smart Cover and find it annoying that the app doesn’t orient to landscape. Anyway, opening the app takes you the library of your content. A handy introduction booklet is pre-installed to know more about dotdotdot. Also, the app will inform first time users of key features by beautifully putting them in focus. All texts can be sorted by their title, author/source and the date added. There are multiple ways to get content into the app; including text files saved in your Dropbox account and the now-defunct Google Reader (guess this option will be knocked off soon). There’s a ‘Browse the Web’ option which simply opens up an in-frame browser so you can directly go to a website that holds your desired content and bring it to dotdotdot. Finally, you have the more traditional methods of copy-pasting URLs or adding a Bookmarklet in Safari for iOS. For syncing via computers, you can get an ‘Add to dotdotdot’ button on Chrome. You can also import eBooks in the ePub format. If you want to discover new content, dotdotdot also has a ‘Curated List’ that lists a variety of long-form texts from around the web.
Now that you’ve figured out all the sources get content in, clicking a material in the library opens it up like an eBook. This interface is extremely minimal; showing you only content and nothing else. Tapping anywhere reveals the menus to go back to the Library, or shortcuts to adjust screen brightness and turn on the dark-background-on-white-text ‘Night Mode’. Now let’s move to the USP of this app — a Reading Network.
dotdotdot wants people to interact on the things they read. Press-and-hold on any part of the text and you can highlight the portions you touch over. Think of it as a coloured marker pen used to highlight text on paper. Once you’ve marked it, you can comment on it, put tags to help retrieve it later, and even share it on Twitter/FB/Email. The reason why they made you sign up before using the app is because your profile will show all this activity on dotdotdot. Other users of dotdotdot can follow you, and vice-versa. The comments made on texts can be seen by other people. You can create public reading lists as well.
A dashboard shows your profile with details like how many pages you’ve read this week and a timeline that shows what people are reading. Finding friends who use dotdotdot is easy as it will go through your peeps on Twitter and try to show you familiar faces. But if you intend to use this just as a reading app and not a reading network, there are controls to make stuff private too.
All in all, dotdotdot will be an interesting experience for page-turning enthusiasts who want to collaborate their reading experience with like-minded readers who’re also using the app. But to be fair, the design, the smooth sliding animations and nifty tools such as tagging and highlighting are good enough to attract people who just want a good Reading app too. It is available for Free on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. Give it a go!
[Masthead via Placeit]