Article in App of the Week category.
Matter Is the GOAT of Reader Apps
Reader apps persist for a reason. The browser, where we find many stories to read, isn’t exactly the best place to consume. Similarly, RSS feeds…
Reader apps persist for a reason. The browser, where we find many stories to read, isn’t exactly the best place to consume. Similarly, RSS feeds are handy but fall short when they just boot you out to the browser anyway. Matter is a new reader app that I’ve run across that does a few things different, has some great integrations, and is a supremely well-designed app.
Opening Matter, you need to create an account. Much to my joy, once of the methods of account creation is Sign In With Apple. This automatically creates your account but keeps your email address private. In such a privacy-focused ecosystem, this is an important feature to offer right out of the gate.
What put Matter on my list, was that it gave expanded prominence to writers versus the organizations they work for. You can follow your favorite writers, rather than just publications. While a publication is a great source, writers can often be granular in their coverage. You may also prefer a particular author’s voice and tone compared to others at the same outlet. By subscribing to just the authors you like, you receive more tailored content.
Newsletter support is big as well with reader apps. Matter is no different. Free and paid newsletters can be digested from within Matter. They can be forwarded to Matter where they will automatically appear inside of the app.
My most oft used method of getting content into the app though is via the Share Sheet. By surfacing Matter in the Share Sheet, anytime you find an article you want to move to Matter, you can tap on that familiar box and arrow icon. It is universally supported thorough the OS and allows you to bring in content from multiple apps.
Over on my Mac, I have the accompanying Save to Matter extension. It lives within Safari and is easily downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. Love that Apple integration… no shady website to download from and not forced into Chrome. With the extension, any time you want to save an article, you hit the stylized “M” in your toolbar. A small modal appears that can drop you into reader view, or save it to your Matter account for later perusal.
The app is broken down into three tabs, with one dedicated solely to your profile. The other two split up your content between your queue and the discovery feed. Upon going into a story, you get a gorgeous minimalist view. The author is prominently at the top, followed by the title. A play button starts an audio narration of the article that sounds surprisingly lifelike.
If you do play the article, a mini player will slide up from the bottom. When you tap on the mini player, it expands over the article with additional controls beyond play/pause. Jump forward or backward, skip to the next article, or adjust the rate of playback from .8X up to 2X.
If there is something you like in the article, you can highlight it for a future revisit or copy to your clipboard. If you highlight a word, and this is seriously cool, you can create a custom quote graphic. Just tap the highlighted word and choose the popping-looking icon. You’ll see an image generated with the quote, followed by the author and article title below. You can change this from a wide rectangle to a square, as well as choose the background color. It is perfect for sharing a loved quote on social with a link back to the original source.
Other features I love about Matter is the ability to save PDFs and Twitter threads on top of articles, offline support, and support for Apple’s system-wide dark mode UI. There’s more to love here and there is a clear reason why I’ve been relying on Matter as my read-it-later app of choice.
But enough about other people's apps.