Under former CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo failed to build anything truly exciting over the past five years – except for a single truly notable app, Yahoo News Digest. Now, under the reign of its new owner Verizon, the company is killing off one of the best mobile apps I’ve ever used.
It’s really as simple as an app can get: every day at 8am and 6pm, News Digest would prompt you to swipe through a handful of important stories from around the world, summarized for quick reading and accompanied by photos, fast facts and figures, and tweets to help you make sense of it all. It’s been my go-to app for following world news since 2014, and I’m sorry to see it go.
The app didn’t just do a good job of delivering news efficiently, it also offered the most enjoyable user experience I can recall in any recent mobile service. And it did so without having to rely on design principles dictated by Google or Apple – it features a design language that’s all its own, allowing Yahoo to create a unified experience across Android and iOS, without compromising on its usability and appearance.
There’s no fluff between you and the news, and nothing pestering you to sign up or invite friends, share content or buy things. When you finished reading the stories in your digest, you’re presented with an interesting quote or fact that’s connected to the day’s events – and that’s it. You can simply close the app and get on with your day. That’s a masterclass in UX design right there.
It also manages an incredibly difficult feat – creating a persistent but easy-to-adopt habit among its users. By consistently delivering a high-quality service that I know will only take a couple of minutes of my time and alerting me when a new digest is ready, the app became a part of my daily routine, and I’ve installed it on every phone I’ve used in the past few years.