Medium for iPhone

Medium for iPhone

When someone mentions mobile first websites, Medium jumps to mind. If there’s one website made expressively to provide a pleasurable reading experience on any and every screen size, it’s Medium. Ever since it came out, there have been talks about a mobile app, because we just can’t stop coveting for new apps. But the team had a different approach. It did not want to make a iPhone app that merely replicated the web experience. It had to have something more, something special, something that justified its existence on the App Store. Looks like they finally figured it out – Speed.

Medium is not a heavy site. It has no ads and the typography and formatting is standard across the website. The only heavy elements are the faded full screen images and the lovely animations. Depending on your internet speed, your Medium experience can range from enchanting to just ok. With Medium for iPhone, you get the same Medium experience everytime.

Once you’ve logged in with your Twitter account, Medium will show you your Reading List, based on the collections you subscribe to, the best picks from the editor and the ones recommended and shared by your Twitter contacts. Those big tinted title images Medium integrated some time ago really come to play here. All you get is a horizontal scroll of all the articles in your reading list. If you want to read an article, swipe down, it’s already loaded and ready for you. Fancy something else? Swipe to the right and there’s another article waiting. I spent the first few seconds in the app tapping every corner of the screen and trying different gestures. Only two things happened. First, the swiping gestures, left-right to switch between articles and up-down to scroll through them. The second, tapping the screen brings up options to bookmark the article, recommend or share it. That’s it. That’s all the navigation there is. After playing with apps like Pocket Casts and OmniFocus, such level of simplicity is unnerving.

Each page in the Reading List has its own instance. This means that when you decide to swipe away from the current article, but then decide to come back to it some time later, the page will be in the same position as you left it (as long as it’s still cached). But if you decide to jump to a collection, pick an article and then move on to the next article on your reading list, the Collections page will still be there when you go back (reloading most of the time). It’s not a deal breaker, just a minor hurdle in an otherwise smooth sailing ship.

The obsession of simplicity and speed comes at a price. Medium for iPhone is just for reading. As of right now, you can’t post to Medium from this app in any way. Not only that, contextual comments, one of the best features of Medium are missing in the app as well. If you frequent Medium and happen to own an iPhone, there really is no valid reason to give this a pass. Medium is available for Free on the App Store.