Quora – the official Android app for the Questions & Answers social network
Sep 10, 2012 7:51 AM –
Quora released the Android client for its popular social Q&A website. With your Quora account, you can ask and answer questions, connect with friends, and follow topics to get updates in your feed.
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy S3
Pros & Cons:
- A decent interface for connecting to the Quora network!
- Easy to set up and use!
- A running feed of questions your connections have answered!
- If you aren’t familiar with the site already, it’s a bit confusing as to what it is.
I’ll admit – when I first sat down to review this app, I had never heard of Quora. I assumed it was another social news reader, with maybe a few new features thrown in to differentiate it from the pack. So when I sat down to evaluate it, that was what was in the back of my mind. And at first, to be honest, Quora didn’t really debunk that idea. It allowed me to connect to “topics” which were the same feeds I subscribe to in other places, so I assumed they worked the same here. There were other, more general topics to subscribe to as well, and at first, I assumed it was just a broad way of sharing news and information on a subject, instead of subscribing to a specific feed.
It wasn’t until I went to my home page and realized that all the activity there wasn’t news items but questions and answers from people in my network (I linked it to Facebook for quick and easy network building.) They ranged from serious topics that I knew the people answering were experts in, to really random things. This made me stop and re-evaluate what this app was.
It really isn’t a social network, or social news reader in the traditional sense at all. Instead it is like one vast Q&A, where people can ask questions on almost any subject, and get back a variety of answers. The feeds I subscribed to, that are associated with sites I regularly get news from, instead notified me of new questions posted in those categories. It’s a place where you can go to not just randomly connect to people whom you’ll never have any further contact with, but a place to engage and talk and learn and, above all, ask and answer questions.
I have to admit, it’s a bit of a fascinating concept. Anyone from a CEO to the janitor can ask or answer anything, so you get a wide range of opinions. You can also up-vote or down-vote good or bad answers in a way that, if you’re a reddit.com user, will feel very familiar. Only unlike that other site, this one is dedicated to the Q&A, and overall, seems to have a more professional tone than reddit.
Once I got past not really understanding what the network was for, I did have a few minor issues with the UI. When setting up my feeds, I had a hard time figuring out how to get back to the home page where the main feed was. Hitting back on my phone just went back to my desktop, rather than taking me back a page in the app. I finally realized the only way to do it was to hit the official “back” button in the top corner. The UI is a bit clunky in other places too, feeling a bit unpolished. I suspect that as the updates start coming, those rough edges will get smoothed out quite a bit, and navigation won’t require hitting back three or four times (even though you never went forward – that’s the thing that threw me; it started me out in the discovery page, so I didn’t want to go back to the last page I had subscribed to.) The emphasis is on the Web site, and this is just a client for the site, and right now, it shows. But overall, the concept is interesting, and the client makes it easy, once you get past the quirks, to get in and participate.
Quora News Feed
Quora Suggested Topics
If you use the Quora site, this is a very useful app. It will let you access your feed and participate in discussions on the go, from your Android device. And if you’re not already using the site, once you get it set up, it’s a good way to browse around and get familiar with what it is.
Ease of Use:
As I mentioned above, I had some minor issues. It was mostly just UI elements not necessarily being where I thought they would be, or working the way I thought they should. It’s a first generation app for a new service, and it shows. Once you figure out the quirks, it’s relatively easy to use, however.
Like a Facebook or an RSS feed reader, you’ll check this as often as you feel the need to pop in and see what your network is up to. It’s a site you can spend a few minutes on, or an hour or two, depending on what kind of time you have and how in-depth you want to go.
Again, the interface is a bit clunky, but it’s not a bad starting place. Once you get past things not working quite the way you expect, it’s fairly easy to navigate. I suspect that as the app matures, the UI will see some vast improvements in overall usability for the new user.