Until now, iPad app Hitpad has concentrated on presenting the latest news in an easy-to-digest way. Now its developers have taken the same approach to Facebook.
Once you’ve connected your Facebook account to the updated app, you’ll be able to switch between two channels from the top of the interface – ‘Hot Topics’ (the news content the app has always provided) and ‘Facebook’, which presents content shared on the social network by your friends and the Pages you’re subscribed to in a fresh way.
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Links, videos, photos and statuses each have a separate column, and you can expand any piece of content for a closer look, allowing you to ‘like’ and comment from within the app. You can also post new status messages, making it a simple but effective way of interacting with Facebook.
It won’t replace a dedicated Facebook app as there’s no messaging, support for apps and the like, but this is all about getting a quick overview of your Facebook world right now, just as Hitpad’s Hot Topics channel provides for news reports.
On the news side of things there are a few updates too, including regionalized versions for the UK , Australia and Canada in addition to the US, and ‘related topics’ that allow you to explore deeper into a subject covered in a story by bringing up information about similar subjects.
I really like what Hitpad is doing and for the most part it works well. One place where there’s room for improvement is in the graphic design of the app, which can feel a little overbearingly crowded, especially when you pick the app up for the first time. As we recently reported, design is more important than ever. The startup has gone some way to addressing this issue in the latest version with a choice of fonts, which does actually make a difference (I’m a fan of the ‘Classic’ option).
As Hitpad develops further, it’s easy to imagine the team adding ‘at-a-glance’ channels for Twitter, LinkedIn and other popular sources of ‘information overload’. If easy access to information is why you bought your iPad, it’s definitely worth giving Hitpad a go. It’s free to download on the App Store.