On Friday evening, the team behind anonymous app Secret launched a new app, Ping. Recode first spotted the app. Secret is an app that’s less than one year old, founded by David Byttow and Chrys Bader-Wechseler, that has raised more than $25 million at a ~ $US100 million valuation.
Ping has no tie to Secret’s flagship app; it came out of a company hackathon. It’s a simple notification tool that pushes topical content to your phone’s locked homescreen.
“We were fascinated by the idea of an app that could tell you what you need to know, right when you need to know it,” Secret designer Ben Lee writes in Ping’s announcement blog post. “Why scavenge for content — it should come to you.”
The app uses swiping, a popular design element right now, to reveal new content. But instead of swiping right to left, Ping uses “portals,” tiny circles in the app’s top right corner, that can be dragged open diagonally to reveal new content.
It’s unclear if Secret intends to launch a portfolio of apps, like Facebook and Foursquare have begun to do. Ping’s iTunes page is mysterious, with two almost empty screenshots and a description that merely reads, “You’re going to like me.”
Here’s how Secret designer Ben Lee describes Ping:
Today, we released Ping. A simple product that lives on your lock screen. There are no signups and no usernames — just content.
Ping was born out of a weekend hackathon where the goal was an exercise in simplicity. We were fascinated by the idea of an app that could tell you what you need to know, right when you need to know it. Why scavenge for content — it should come to you.
Behind the design
We’ve grown weary of over-designed products that place more emphasis on the user interface than on the content itself. So we set out to build a product that eliminates unnecessary UI metaphors and focuses purely on content and context. Content is the centrepiece and context gives it meaning.
Simplifying the interface allowed us to spend more time refining how elements feel, act, and even sound. When the canvas isn’t cluttered, you have more room to play with. As a result, we were able to spend more time exploring unique design aspects and watched Ping grow a personality.
The circle (or dot) is at the core of the spatial navigation. Instead of moving between screens by sliding or flipping or stacking, we thought it would be fun to move through portals. And if you pull open the portal slightly, you can peek into it. Lastly, we brought a simple list to life by phasing colours as you scroll it.
We believe the best walkthrough for a simple product is exploration. Over time, Ping evolves the more you interact with it. Ping adapts with you.
We hope you’ll enjoy Ping as much as we enjoyed building it. Download Ping now.
Follow us on Twitter @whatsping for updates.
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