Currently Reading for Instapaper

August 21st 20172 min read

Contribution by Angel Shoilev

One of my favorite apps, if not the favorite app on my phone, is Instapaper. It helps me stay on top of my day, without having to read pieces I’d otherwise totally forget about. It looks great, too. Yet, there’s one thing that keeps bugging me - the lack of а way to continue reading where I left off.

🤷‍♂️ What’s the use case?

Most of the articles I save on Instapaper are long reads and, as I save a lot of them, they tend to stack up, creating a long, sad list of articles I’m hoping to read on day.

As I am sure most people do, I read a lot during my morning commutes, during breaks while at the office and at home. Device-wise these occasions happen in the following order: phone, desktop, phone.

So, here’s the friction point: If I’m reading an older article on my phone, thus further down on the list, and I switch between devices, I have to find the article once again to continue where I left off on a previous device (or on the same device too).

At this point I can try using the app’s Read Progress filter, but reading progress doesn’t necessarily equal the chronological order in which I’ve opened and read the articles on my list.

🤔 So, what’s the solution?

A collection of swipeable cards, named Currently Reading, that are pinned above the article list. I believe sideswiping is an easy to use and well-known interaction pattern. At the bottom of every card there’s a progress bar, showing me the progress in the article (more on this pattern in Darin’s post).

The internet indicator icon shows the classic network icon Apple' uses: lines of light circling around the Earth. Here it's shown it it's on and off states.

Although the cards have a slight Material Design feel, they’re not conflicting Instapaper’s overall design language, which was crucial. To make the feature more prominent and keep Instapaper’s main menu up to date, we could also introduce a standard menu item for Currently Reading.

The internet indicator icon shows the classic network icon Apple' uses: lines of light circling around the Earth. Here it's shown it it's on and off states.

I don’t know about you, but one of these surely would make my Instapaper cross-device-experience a lot smoother.

One more thing...

Have an awesome idea about how this could work better? Don't keep it to yourself, send me a quick email or DM me on Twitter. I’ll feature it as an update on this page with full credit.