Beleaguered media darling Medium, a platform for anyone to write and share stories amongst its large community, has finally released its Android app to Google Play. The app works on devices running 4.4 KitKat and above, and features all the Material Design goodness you’ve come to expect since Lollipop – so it wasn’t just a port of the company’s iOS app.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the company you’ve almost certainly seen articles hosted on the site or on websites inspired by Medium. Its content management system and article formatting features some of the most lauded design in the industry, famous for being incredibly clean, crisp, and bold with large images and headers. Here’s an example on desktop:
Websites ranging from TechCrunch to The Daily Dot have since taken design queues from the publishing platform, but while Medium has been very influential in terms of design, it’s been struggling to define exactly what its purpose is – is it a publisher, is it a CMS like WordPress, etc – most recently cutting down on the amount of high-quality journalism it pays for out of its own pocket, and shifting towards a more social network-centric model. The company still seems to be pushing forward on the engineering front, however, as proven by this launch on Android.
The app opens to a screen that asks you to choose three topics that interest you for the app to curate the kind of content you’ll see from its landing screen feed. Once inside you’re presented a collection of top stories based on those topics as well as the stories published and recommended by those you’re following and friends from whatever network you’ve authenticated to the service through. If you don’t have time to read a story you can bookmark it for later and access from a tab on the landing screen.
The app was initially available through a Google+ communities beta for several weeks, which I was in, and it seems that the company implemented a lot of the suggestions that beta users contributed. For a long time the Floating Action Button (FAB) displayed in stories disappeared during scrolling, for example, but much protesting from the community led to it being static in this first release. Medium has a list of features it plans to add in the future, and the beta will live on as the bleeding edge version where you can catch updates early. All necessary information about planned updates and how to join the beta is in, well, a Medium post.