Pulse always stood out from the crowd – if it was a baby I bet it would have came out feet first. Just to be different. For the past couple of years it has been the primary news app on many of our phones. And unlike others it has never had a website – preferring instead to live on the screens of our mobile devices.
I guess this is why it developed such a good following. That, and its incredible design, functionality and user-friendly nature. Pulse has always been there when you need it. Looking hot and dishing out all the gossip it can find like a chatty girlfriend.
Today the developers have launched what they’re calling ‘Pulse for the Web’. A fully-loaded web version of the mobile application. “It wasn’t long until our users let us know that the problem we solved wasn’t confined to mobile devices”. They’re taking the great user experience we’ve all had on our handsets and blowing it up to desktop size. But does Pulse work on the ‘big screen’?
The first interaction with Pulse.me is exactly the same as on the iPad, iPhone or Android. It’s extremely simple, elegant and fat-free. Going from the relative limitations of mobile devices to the limitless nature of the web presents plenty of opportunities to mess around, make things difficult and show off. They haven’t. For anyone that has used Pulse in the past expect the exact same aura of simplicity and a user-interface so friendly you want to take it out to dinner sometime.
Once you enter your name, email address and desired password, Pulse asks you to select a few interests from categories such as Science, Sport, Technology and Business. This instructs Pulse to scour their feeds for stories you might be interested in. Therese will all be beautifully presented on your homepage later on.
The categories you select are all fully customisable and can be changed later on. To do this, select ‘Add content’ in the left hand column. From here you can change your desired categories. You can also add blogs or websites yourself by searching for their feeds as you can see above.
Once you’re happy with the content in your feed you’re ready to rock.
Clicking on a headline takes you to the super-simple article display page. There are no advertisements. A title, an image and a crisp clean, easy-to read article on a white background. Flipping between article in your news feed is easily done by using the two directional arrows at the top right-hand side of the screen.
One of my favourite features of Pulse for the Web is the social sharing buttons to the left of every article. They run vertically along the side. When clicked a small pop-up launches enabling you to share the article you’re reading with others. Simple and unobtrusive.
My one and only problem with Pulse for the Web is the lack of a universal search function. I think a small search field along the top of the screen would improve the usability of the app – particularly for finding new blogs to quickly add to your feed or search for a specific article. While new blogs can be added under your customisable categories – I feel it’s a roundabout method to achieving the same end.
Absolutely second to none for a news reader. There are designers who can make websites look good. Infuse them with functionality and please the users eye. There are very few that can capture the simplistic ethos of an app and design a website that simply stuns.
A look at the newsfeed reveals all. Articles are displayed only with their cover image and subtly hovering in the foreground. The controls and buttons are all minimalist in their appearance yet big and attractive – not to mention easy to use.
The designers have remained true to the experience we’re accustomed to on our phones – plenty of imagery. With a bigger screen to play with I’m sure there was a temptation to steer slightly away from this to expand the application. Thankfully they haven’t. Overall, the emphasis placed on imagery not only makes Pulse much easier to use but it also eliminates the uselessness we see in other readers – delivering us straight forward articles without struggling to find them.
Pulse for the Web, within minutes was bookmarked in my browser. It’s hard to argue as to why it wouldn’t be especially for current users – as it works brilliantly in conjunction with the mobile app.
Pulse has staked its claim in the feed reader market. It doesn’t aim to expand into an all-in-one network like Google Reader has in the past. Each users news feed is their own. The lack of community within Pulse is a massive strongpoint in my opinion giving us a clean-cut, no-fuss news aggregator with a fantastic, and committed development team behind it.
If you’re a current user you’ll now be able to browse the news in style on your computer. If you’re not a current user, I fail to see how Pulse for the Web couldn’t convince you to give it a try.
Pulse for the Web is the latest addition to the Pulse Reader family. It takes the sleek appeal and bare-bones news feed functionality of the mobile applications and delivers a stunning web reader experience. Articles are displayed based on your preference. No ads. Not interruptions. Just your news, as you like it.9