Flipboard may be the big kahuna of news reader applications on the iPad, with more than 4.5 million users. But Evri CEO Will Hunsinger thinks his company’s iPad app — which divides news and information into some 2.5 million niche topic areas ranging from knitting to wine to personal finance — offers an intriguing alternative.
Today, Evri is unveiling a new version of its 4-month-old iPad application, one that Hunsinger says allows users to set up “colorful, easy-to-browse” collections in 60 popular topic areas.
“Users can pin as many or as few of these topics into their navigation experience as they like,” said Hunsinger. “We present this list when Evri is launched for the first time, both to help new users get started, and to demonstrate that Evri lets them identify even very specific interests. For example, it doesn’t have to just be about “sports” in general, anything from ‘basketball’ to “roller derby” is also fair game.”
That sort of segmentation is different from Flipboard, which Hunsinger admits does an “awesome job” in terms of design and user experience. But he said that users could “miss out” on a lot of information, something that Evri hopes to address with its topic-based approach spanning millions of topics.
“If you have diverse interests and want to easily find and follow a bunch of different topics, no matter how granular, Evri is a great choice,” said Hunsinger, adding that users of the service are currently following some 50,000 unique topic areas.
Founded in 2007 and backed by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Evri has a long way to go to catch up to Flipboard. It has recorded about 150,000 downloads of the iPad app in the first two months.
However, Hunsinger tells GeekWire that more than 60 percent of weekly users are repeat visitors. More impressive, they’ve seen average session times in the range of 15 minutes.
“One of the most interesting things we’ve learned is that users spend a lot of time in the app,” he said. “Every topic, and even every article, presented in Evri comes with dynamic, related content recommendations. We hoped this would create a serendipitous discovery experience wherein users find themselves tapping into new areas very fluidly. This approach is clearly resonating with users.”
There’s no shortage of companies looking to attack the problem of “information overload,” including stealthy Seattle startup Wavii which promises to distill content down into easy-to-consume bites. Hunsinger said that’s something his team has been working on for more than five years, starting with the Web and then moving to mobile phones and tablets.
“We made a very conscious decision that mobile – tablet specifically – was a far better form factor for content discovery and consumption, not to mention mobile is just how folks are getting their content now and in the future,” he says.
Here’s a look at the latest version of Evri’s iPad app from Adrian Klein, vice president of product management.