I’m a heavy Pocket user, and a big fan of the service and their apps. However, lately I’d been feeling that Pocket had become more a never-again-opened archive of ‘articles I found interesting’ rather than ‘articles to read later’. My Pocket was bulging with loads of articles from years past by, many outdated, others irrelevant, a few real gems hidden under the tons of hay. It was time to act to save my beloved Pocket1.
After a bit of further study, and borrowing from the maxim – you improve what you measure – I decided that I needed two extra features:
- Count of unread articles in my Pocket, and
- Estimated reading time for each article.
Not finding anything on Chrome Webstore, or Android Play Store, that covered both these points in a single app, I decided to get my own hands dirty.
Last December I started work on Accele-reader for Chrome (formerly Pocket Plus). The target was to add to Pocket the few features that I’d been wanting for a long time (but were too trivial/off-focus for the product team at Pocket to develop):
- Unread article count,
- Estimated reading time for articles,
- Trello-like article ageing,
- Offline add-to-Pocket, and
- Read a random article (from my then \*huge\* Pocket list)
Accele-reader was, for my own use, a big success. Article counts, offline adds, and random articles were a bonus, but colour-coded reading time estimates were a big, big win!
However, with the good came the bad – the reading time feature was so good, that I desperately started missing it on the phone app2. A number of users also wrote in asking if I could somehow provide the article reading times on the mobile apps as well. I wasn’t alone.
Last week, another user – Konstantin – wrote in with the suggestion of a clever work-around. And here it is – reading time estimates for articles, now in your Pocket phone and tablet apps!