RSS feeds aren’t exactly new territory in 2012. People have been cultivating their web viewing experience for years now. But Prismatic: Always Interesting suggests a new sort of RSS feed that looks and feels much more like the newsfeed for a social network. It updates constantly and can be refreshed, items added or removed on a whim. At its core it could become the perfect marriage of social networking and information gathering. But it’s not quite there yet.
Prismatic’s set-up guide starts innocently enough. It asks users to connect to a social network like Facebook or Twitter so the app can determine what sorts of things would be of interesting to them. From there, it offers up a list of suggestions that the user can follow up their feed – mine included the NBA, Chicago Tribune and indie rock. The suggestions were pretty much spot on. Not that I’m some impossible enigma, but I was impressed with how specific Prismatic was able to get with the things I might want to follow in the news.
From there the app dispenses a few more instructions relating to swiping the screen that went by so fast, I honestly have no idea what they were trying to convey. Similarly, once you’re in the meat of the app, the part with your newsfeed and a sidebar of seemingly endless suggested categories, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. While the app looks very attractive, it’s built like a rehabbed house – parts don’t quite seem to fit together and the user is left to sort out too much information in a very tight space. At times Prismatic feels like a desktop app that was shoehorned into a mobile space.
Problems aside, Prismatic has the makings of a very useful app. The way it brings together the Facebook or Twitter feed into an RSS feed environment is interesting and fun to use, when it makes sense. Hopefully Prismatic can iron out the kinks and give users a whole new way to view the web.