If you’ve ever been latecomer to a news story, you know how frustrating it can be to catch up.
Timeline is a news app that wants to solve this problem, and it does so by including a historical timeline with each article that delves into the context behind the developing story.
Timeline takes inspiration from Circa and perhaps even Vox.com with its summarizing nature, and it’s clearly vying to be the best modern news app.
Each story starts with The Brief, which does a great job of bringing you up to speed in a concise manner. Since Timeline employs its own editorial writing staff of about 10 people, everything you read is originally written, and the style is both modern and professional in tone.
Even with a relatively small editorial team, Timeline covers a wide scope of topics, with coverage divided into sections including a front page, US, world, technology, business, politics and policy, science and environment, health, sports, culture, and entertainment. There’s overlapping coverage, but it’s clear Timeline is trying to cover all the bases.
After reading The Brief for an article, scrolling funnels you right into the earliest coverage of its development, with each successive story following the story’s chronological timeline.
From a design standpoint, Timeline is pretty polished. Images display in-line and there’s support for videos and GIFs, though I noticed most stories stick to text and images.
If you’re in the middle of reading and want to get your bearings, there’s also always the timeline button, which exists as a table of contents of sorts that gives you a simplified overview of the dates and coverage. From this overview, you can tap an article headline to jump around, and it’s a nice option to have that makes navigation simple and intuitive.
Timeline’s focus on historical context makes a lot of sense. It appeals to the generation raised on Wikipedia, where following a topic’s history is made easy, and it’s even encouraged. If Timeline has a killer feature, it’s how easy it makes it to catch up on a large-scale story, but I’m guessing most people will prefer AP or other news sources for minute-by-minute breaking news.
With its smart design, modern layout, and in-house editorial staff, Timeline has the potential to evolve into a competitive news app that will give Circa a run for its money.
You can download Timeline for iOS right here.