Cool Stuff Happening Online: New News App & AOL Email Included

I found a few very cool things on the interwebs last week on a very cool website called Co.DESIGN. If you don’t read it already, you absolutely should.

I thought I should highlight them for all you digital marketers out there as I think both of these introductions could effect you and your business in the future.

The first one is a thing called AOL Alto, and it’s a new web-based email client that is more like Pinterest than regular email. That idea alone caught my attention – how genius!

The new service from AOL hopes to revolutionize how users interact with email so that it’s not so hard to find and sort and organize our email inboxes, which have become far more cluttered and O of C (that’s out of control, people) than our regular letter boxes (though recent pushes to increase snail-junk-mail may change that, but I digress.)

The new program went live in beta and is invite only for now. It hopes to bring improvements to email, which the company says hasn’t changed much in recent years, whereas other aspects of our daily Internet interactions have advanced dramatically. According to the article, Alto is a radical rethinking of inbox design, and features a stripped-down interface that’s spruced up by visual cues and intuitive navigation tools.

Read more about the Co.Design editor’s experience with the platform here.

The second very cool thing I am relaying is all about the iPhone – a new app for newshounds (no wonder it caught they eye of yours truly.) The app, called Circa, breaks stories down into bite-sized chunks that fit perfectly on your small iPhone screen – or not-so-small screen if you’re lucky enough to have grabbed a 5 already.

According to the Co.Design article, the lead designer behind Circa built the app based on the idea that “reading news” as we know it is no longer the same practice. At Circa’s heart is a reformatting of current events and breaking news made for mobile users.

Circa first shows the same headline/thumbnail feed that’s common in dozens of apps, but when you click to read, the stories are broken into readable bullet points. Rather than scrolling through a long column of text, you flick down a list of blurbs, each truncated to take up no more real estate than the iPhone 5’s screen.

Again, read more about this new app in my new favorite pub (besides the eTail Blog, of course.)