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Sight: Web content indexing the hard, user-unfriendly way

Mark Gibbs | July 31, 2014
Startup Landscape Mobile's Sight app uses screenshots to bookmark content but isn't well-designed or convincingly more efficient than other methods.

I just got off the phone with startup called Landscape Mobile, that publishes an app called Sight, and which claims:

Sight [is] an app that takes an image — a screenshot — and finds the article behind the image, retrieves the content, and then formats it for a better reading experience.

Let me clarify that for you ... when there's content displayed on your iOS screen that exists on the Web and you take a screenshot, the Sight app searches the Internet for that content and, if found, adds the page to a list that Sight keeps on your iDevice. Selecting  an item on the list displays the page content reformatted to be more readable with a link at the top that will take you to the target page.

The thinking behind the app is that saving Web content displayed  by browsers and various apps is somehow difficult and Sight makes it easier. That said, I'm not sure how taking a screenshot is easier than clicking on a browser's menu to send the link by email or save the URL as a bookmark. I also have some serious issues with the app's design because it is counterintuitive and doesn't follow many of the expected UI design models that iOS users are used to.

According to Landscape Mobile:

The day that the team came up with the idea for Sight, they pulled an all-nighter to get the first version prototyped. The designers and front end engineers then created many iterations to make the app simple and elegant, while the backend engineers built out a series of smart systems to find and bring the best matching articles to the user. Now that Sight is ready we're excited to present it to the world, and see how it helps users collect information more easily and efficiently.

I am, as you might have guessed, not sold on this pitch.

The first of the UI issues appear when you fire up the app and are presented with a screen that explains how the app is to be used. Unfortunately the screen doesn't make it clear that you need to take a screenshot of the page that's displayed to start the app (by the time you read this that oversight may have been fixed).

The next UI issue is that there's a summary screen that is only visible by swiping down on the display (yes, this potentially conflicts with iOS's swipe down to reveal the notifications panel) but, again, there are no instructions or UI indications that this screen  exists. The really big problem here is that if you don't know this screen exists and how to get to it then you can't access the configuration page which we'll come back to in a minute.

 

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