Noa v2.0 | Simplified & Personalised
The irony of you reading a product update about a company that specialises in taking text articles to an audio format is not lost, yet here we are and here we go. Before I dive into exactly what we’ve just released it’s probably worth me reiterating what exactly Noa is all about and why we exist.
The Story So Far
We all want to be informed with what’s going on in the world. Knowledge through quality journalism enables us to be better equipped for whatever comes next — a business decision, a job interview, an exam, a chance to get one up on the competition, or even something as simple as a conversation by the watercooler. Education doesn’t just exist in lecture halls, five hundred-page textbooks or a stint at university, education is a lifelong journey of acquiring knowledge through the means we chose, and the sources that present themselves. In recent times, we are choosing in-depth journalism as an educational resource at a declining rate.
The reasons why we’re consuming less and less quality journalism are not exactly conscious ones, nor are they part of a mass revolt. Quite simply, the competition for our time has stepped up considerably in the digital age. We are busier than ever. We’ve got more places to be and more people to see. And as we move closer and closer to the post-print era, we’ve got more choice and variety on our screens and devices. Just a generation ago ‘media’ consisted of television, radio and of course, the newspaper. These days ‘media’ has a much broader definition and the transition of the newspaper to its new digital self is not something we’ve all embraced with open arms. Too many of us are struggling to find (or make) the time to engage with the full story behind the headline and this can only have a negative impact on the overall meaningful knowledge that we are acquiring… and this is exactly why we built Noa.
In 2016, and at the beginning of our professional careers, Gareth & I were fully aware of the existence of high-quality journalism given our respective careers in the Financial and Technology industries. But finding the time to sit down and read all of the articles that we wanted to was becoming a challenge. Recognising the success of audiobooks and their ability to present written text as spoken word, coupled with consumer preferences for single platform apps in both music and podcasting, the idea for a similar product in the journalism space was born.
At the core of Noa is our understanding that people are often too busy to find the time to sit down and allow reading to be their primary focus for a prolonged period of time. This is where the audio solution comes in. Our team of professional (human) narrators will read articles to you from your favourite publications and journalists while you’re on-the-go. Noa is for those who take the car, train or bike to work. For those who hit the gym or go for a run. For those who cook, clean and do chores around the home. The convenience of Noa allows you to keep up with the events of the world while you do other things.
In a nutshell, our company is about knowledge and convenience.
We are thrilled to be releasing our 2nd generation mobile app for iOS and Android. The new app is the product of many months of thought and idea generation around how we set ourselves on a course for the future of journalism. Noa 2.0 has a brand-new look and feel, and there are some features we think you are going to love.
Navigation & Design
We’ve given the app a complete facelift. New logos, fonts and colour schemes are all part of this build — but more importantly, we’ve simplified navigation to the point where you are just one click away from streaming an audio article as soon as you open the app.
My Feed & Personalisation
My Feed is our first step into the world of personalised news and a fundamental foundation for future enhancements. My Feed allows you to tell us the categories you’re interested in, and the ones you’re not, making way for a personalised list of articles that we know you’ll enjoy.
We fully anticipate that you’ll be listening in places that you’d ideally like to not have to pull out your phone and chose the next article that you would be interested in listening to — and that’s why we built Queue. Tap and hold any article to add it to your queue and build up a list that will last the full duration of your journey without ever having to open your phone.
The thing about great journalism is that so much of it is virtually timeless. You could read or listen back to an article in six weeks, six months, or six years and still enjoy it as much as the first time. This is where Favourites comes in. It’s your personal bank of articles that you’ve gathered over time for listening back on or sharing with friends.
One of my all-time favourites has to be from Bloomberg Businessweek: “How Two Brothers Turned Seven Lines of Code Into a $9.2 Billion Startup” by Ashlee Vance. It’s the story of Irish brothers, Patrick and John Collison, and their success in payments with Stripe.
Right now, we’re about to get working on version 3 and some talking speakers!