Useful RSS feed readers probably come in at least 31 flavors by now, but just like everyone has their favorite type of ice cream, the variety of feed readers offer something different for all users. Trapit is the latest RSS feed reader for the iPad. While it has features similar to Flipboard, Zite, and Pulse; its orientation and navigation setup are very different and may appeal to iPad users looking to try a new app in this genre.
Much like Flipboard and Zite, Trapit serves up a collection of articles based on subjects you’re interested in. You can also sync your feed collection between your desktop and iPad, and save articles to your own Reading List inside the app.
Setting Up ‘Traps’
Getting started with Trapit is pretty simple. The developers present you with a wide range of categories including News, Entertainment and Lifestyle, and Science and Technology.
You might first browse the display of subjects and articles curated from the Trapit team. When you select a category and tap the menu bar button the top of the Featured Traps section, you get dozens of subtopics to choose from. For example, selecting “Technology” presents many of the latest topical news and feature stories, including Apple vs. Samsung, 3D Printing, Microsoft Office 2013, etc.
When you tap the + button, it adds that topic and all the associated articles to your “Traps” list for browsing. You can’t, however, subscribe to a specific RSS feed or website, like MakeUseOf, to your list. Nor can you pull from your Google Reader subscriptions if you have one. But you can enter a keyword or phrase for a topic that you might not see listed.
The idea behind Trapit and similar reading applications is provide content that doesn’t always make it to the headlines of mainstream media. The topics you subscribe to get content from bloggers, online magazines, newspapers, and the like. Trapit says it pulls content from over 100,000 hand-picked sources! So basically, Trapit helps you “stumble upon” content you may not other ever see.
Browsing and Reading Trapit
One of the biggest differences between Trapit and other major readers is that Trapit chose to display content on the iPad only in landscape mode. This may turn some users off, or maybe not. One of the advantages of horizontal orientation is that your left thumb can tap the button to take back to your list of subscriptions without you having to reach your hand across the screen, which is something I find annoying when I use Flipboard.
When you open to a set of articles, you get the first paragraph and lead image for each article. It takes 2-3 additional taps to open to the full version of an article. In this mode, you can read and share the article, but most importantly you want to tell Trapit which articles you like and dislike by tapping on the thumb-up or down icons.
Similar to Zite, the more you favor or dislike content presented to you, the more you get a personalized collection of articles delivered to you. You can also share or save articles to Instapaper, Evernote, or to your own Trapit Reading List, which is synced to web browser version of your Trapit account.
Trapit Web Version
The web version of Trapit has pretty much the same orientation and user interface style of the iPad app, but I personally like how you can view article lists online in either gallery or list view. Sometimes the list view is less cluttered, and you still get the same photo thumbnail and first paragraph preview for each listed article.
On the online version, a little tab pops up so you like/dislike an article, or share it to another app or cloud space. As you navigate your “Traps” (categories of articles) and view individual articles, however, the Trapit menubar may get hidden at the top of the browser, so after you close an article, just scroll back to the very top and the menu bar should appear so you can return to your account’s homepage.
And for a few other ideas for RSS feed readers for the iPad, check out these articles:
- Readefine Redesigns Google Reader & Other Sites
- Zite- Personalized Magazine & News Reader For Your iPad
- 4 Flipboard Alternatives For Your Computer If You Don’t Own An iPad
So is Trapit better than say Flipboard, Zite, or Pulse? I would say no, but it does have it’s own unique features that might appeal to a different set of users. I would definitely suggest downloading it and giving it a try. Let us know what you think of Trapit. Is there something about it that stands out for you?