Hardbound’s app makes use of visible tales to catch you up on the day’s information and extra

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As an alternative of killing time in your telephone taking part in video games or shopping Fb, the lately launched utility Hardbound goals to enable you to fill your spare minutes by studying one thing new as an alternative. The months-old app introduces its personal visible and interactive format for cell storytelling, permitting you to faucet by way of fascinating mini-stories overlaying science, historical past, expertise, enterprise and different subjects. With its newest replace, the app desires that will help you sustain with the day’s information, too.

At its core, Hardbound presents a easy option to get an outline of what can generally be extra sophisticated topics.

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For instance, one among its newer visible tales explains “How the Electoral College Became a Thing” – a subject that many individuals are nonetheless considerably hazy on, however are studying about these days as a result of election.

Since its debut, Hardbound has targeted on crafting these mini-stories, which take round 5 minutes to learn, utilizing a mixture of photographs, illustrations and textual content. Each Thursday, you’re texted a hyperlink to the most recent version. If you wish to entry the app’s again catalog, you possibly can subscribe to Hardbound through in-app purchases.

 

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The concept for Hardbound comes from co-founders Nathan Bashaw, who constructed the primary model of Product Hunt together with Ryan Hoover, and Joe Nguyen, beforehand an iOS engineer at Common Meeting and co-founder at Hollerback.

The corporate is backed by $300Okay in seed funding from Full Tilt Capital, Betaworks, Maveron, and angel traders. The service now has 100,000 readers throughout internet and cell, who had learn over 5 million “pages.”

Whereas Hardbound is enjoyable to faucet by way of, the format of sending out a brand new story on a weekly foundation doesn’t preserve customers closely engaged with the app.

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That has modified with the brand new launch, Hardbound 2.zero. With this replace, the app now summarizes the day’s most essential information by way of a devoted part known as “The Nightcap.”

This version comes out each Monday by way of Thursday night time at eight PM, and contains Hardbound’s distinctive visible summaries however with a concentrate on the highest tales.

The combo of what’s thought-about the “most important” information of the day varies from conventional information publishers. As an illustration, the newest abstract included information about Trump’s appointments and an replace on the recount, but additionally featured a narrative about neuroscientists controlling mice brains wirelessly. That’s arguably a really fascinating learn, however not essentially one which’s a should when it comes to maintaining with nationwide or world occasions.

Nonetheless, throwing in a curveball like that is by design – the purpose is to stability heavy information with not less than one story that’s fascinating, if not crucial.

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The Nightcap’s format includes that includes a number of important tales adopted by an editorial “our take,” then a number of one-page information highlights. The tales themselves are sourced from main newspapers and blogs.

Flipping by way of The Nightcap feels so much like studying a narrative on Snapchat or shopping a Twitter Second. That might be why the characteristic feels participating – it’s already acquainted. Nonetheless, attempting to turn into a house to information studying is a bigger problem.

Story choice remains to be a piece in progress, and though the tales are quick, it generally appears like they’ve been break up into virtually too many items with the purpose of constructing them extra simply digestible. (Even short-attention spanners can most likely deal with greater than a sentence per display.) And the “our take” part doesn’t all the time present an editorial voice – generally it’s extra of a abstract of the story at hand.

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Getting short-form information proper will be powerful, in fact.

Some corporations do that effectively. The Skimm, as an illustration has a well-liked every day publication and app that summarizes key tales in a straightforward to learn format. Snapchat’s Tales from publishers are participating, too, although not all the time informative. New startups like Zolt are getting into the market, however different apps from larger corporations, like Yahoo’s Information Digest, by no means actually caught on.

Nonetheless, Bashaw believes that Hardbound’s distinctive storytelling has potential.

“Our vision is to help grow this format — which we are calling “visual stories” — into a well-liked new medium that a number of gifted storytellers need to work on, form of like what has occurred with podcasts over the previous 5 years,” he explains.

“We believe visual storytelling creates a stronger connection between your screen and your brain, and helps you understand things faster and remember things better, and can be more emotionally impactful. The stories we’ve created so far are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with this medium,” says Bashaw.

Going ahead, the staff can be working with companions on its tales, as an alternative of making all content material in-house. Longer-term, it might reap the benefits of its visible format for model adverts, as effectively.

Hardbound is a free obtain on the iTunes App Retailer. 

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Désiré LeSage

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