Brendan Dawes

Analogue + Digital


Why the next version of Accidental News Explorer won't be full of new features.

When I created The Accidental News Explorer I made it mainly for myself. I wanted an app to help me discover new things to read in a way that celebrated serendipity. Oh and I wanted it to look good too.

I never designed ANE in the hope it would have universal appeal; in fact I knew there would be more people who didn't get it than there were people who did. But I was completely OK with that. I took the time to craft a product that I was proud of and eventually released it on the app store. The response was wonderful—it genuinely makes me smile when I read a review from someone who found it really useful and a delight to use.

The flip side of course are the bad reviews, which annoyingly you can't respond to on the app store. You just have to man up and take it. Those are the rules so so be it.

But of course an app is never finished. Everyone expects a new version at some point; after all that's the world we live in—consume, upgrade, consume again. Here's the newsflash: I never had any intention on releasing new versions. For me this app was done. Yeah sure it isn't perfect but it's perfect enough for my needs. I had other things to make now, new things to conjure up. But the app consumer had other ideas. How about landscape mode? How about more lines on the headline? And it goes on and on.

The thing is, adding more features often just brings more noise. I know if i implemented every single feature request ANE would be ugly as sin.

So yes I've listened but then I've filtered. And then I filtered again. So the next version will have only two new features and even these will be subtle. They're things that I was always going to add anyway but wanted to get something out there without too much procrastinating.

I have to keep this product true to it's original ideas of simplicity and usefulness. These are the timeless features that never become tired.