Listen to Long-form Articles with Listle (App Review)

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Nowadays, you can read long-form articles on just about anything. Politics, business, parenting, gardening – you name it.

But the question is, do people actually have the time to read the articles they want to? And, of course, are they even willing to read through the entire article?

A new application in town aims to help people “read” articles they’re interested in without having to glue their eyes on the screen.

It’s called Listle.

Listle Startup Screen. Source: Listle
Listle Startup Screen. Source: Listle)

This review article will talk about what the application is all about, what its main objectives are, and if it’s attractive to its target market.

What is Listle?

Listle is an app that lets users listen to high-quality audio versions of articles on the internet. The articles that are available on this app can usually be read on CNN, Medium, National Geographic, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and many more.

Think of audiobooks but only for articles.

It has a library full of the best articles on the internet and each week, fresh content is being uploaded. The app usually focuses on articles that are over 1000 words – ones that take more than 10 minutes to read.

How It Works

All articles uploaded on the application are converted to audio recordings that users can listen to any time, anywhere.

Although the voices on the audio-recordings sound a bit monotonous, it still follows proper punctuation and pronunciation. But don’t worry, imagine Alexa reading the article out loud for you.

The app has several features:

Following Content

Users can follow topics, authors, publications, or categories that suit their interest. This will automatically show articles that might interest the user on their homepage. All audio-recordings can be listened to, even if the user did not follow that content.

Screenshot: Listle main view. Source: Listle

Basic Controls

Users also have the freedom to pause, rewind, or forward the audio-recording. They can also change the speed to 0.75x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, and 2x. And if they have a queue or a playlist, they can just simply skip through their recordings.

Screenshot: Article View. Source: Listle

Library and Sorting

These recordings can be added to the user’s library, saved into playlists and downloaded to be listened to later, when there’s no internet connection. There’s no limit when it comes to adding content to your library.

Screenshot: Listle Library. Source: Listle app

Bottom line is, it’s Spotify for articles.

However, it also has a unique feature. Users can actually request for articles to be converted into audio-recordings. So if you can’t find the audio version of the article that you want to read, just simply send a request and wait for it to appear in your library.

Other features

In addition to these main features, Listle offers an option to share the audio version of an article or show the original article.

Screenshot: Options while listening to an article in Listle app

Listle’s Main Objectives

From what we see, the application has two main objectives.

The first one would be helping a person listen to audio-recording of articles he doesn’t necessarily have the time to read. And second, letting a person leisurely listen to these recordings rather than the taxing act of reading them.

Lack of Time

As mentioned in the previous section, Listle aims to help people “read” articles without the need to glue their eyes on the screen. For busy people, reading an article can be pretty time-consuming and it would defeat the purpose if they’d just skim through it.

A lot of great articles on the internet take about 10 to 20 minutes to read – that’s a lot of precious minutes for busy people.

Screenshot: Topics and Categories. Source: Listle

Just by simply listening to an audio-recording of articles around this length, a busy person can listen to it during his or her downtimes – working out, commuting, taking a shower, etc. in other words, this is great for busy people or parents who have zero idle time but are avid readers.

Convenience of Listening

Quite similar to reading books, not everybody has the patience to read through articles. Although these are relatively shorter, it still doesn’t change the fact that you have to read. For some people, this is too taxing of an activity.

So, instead of reading every word of the article, why not listen to it?

Moreover, you don’t have to glue your eyes on the screen and get lost with what you’re reading. You can just simply play it over your speakers or plug in your earphones and listen.

Pros and Cons of the App

Let’s first start with the positive aspects.

First, there are people in the world who actually have almost zero time to read articles. So, the whole part where they can listen to audio-recordings of these articles is definitely a win. Moreover, they can listen to these articles anytime, anywhere they want.

Second, Listle creates the convenience of not having to read – you just only need to click play and listen. Surely, this idea is attractive to those too lazy to read an entire article.

And finally, it could easily be a Spotify for articles. You can follow contents and publications, add them to your library, create playlists, and download them for listening later on.

With all the good parts said, let’s dive into the not-so-good ones.

While its two main objectives definitely address specific groups of people, there are a few things that we have to consider.

Podcasts are already pretty much popular with the same group of people interested in reading articles. Although the content of these articles isn’t carbon copies of the ones in podcasts, you can easily find a podcast quite similar to the said article.

Moreover, podcasts are more on the conversational side of things which makes them more entertaining to listen to. If you’re not a fan of audiobooks, you definitely won’t appreciate the beauty of Listle.

Another thing to consider is that there are already a lot of resources where users can listen to different kinds of content – not just articles. People might just opt to actually read rather than listen to audio-recordings of the articles.

But the point is, the app has specific target groups that might actually put the app to good use. The busy ones and the lazy ones. With such a huge library, it can easily be a great application for articles.

Switching between Reading and Listening

A feature that would make a difference is a way to easily switch between reading and listening mode. Currently, the app is made for listening to long-form articles.

Imagine the following situation: You start reading a long-form article on the subway, exit the train and continue to listen to the article at the exact position you stopped reading. Such a feature could be a game-changer.

Verdict – Yay or Nay?

Listle clearly provides a new method for people to utilize articles on the internet. The concept of audio-recordings isn’t new but it caters to a specific kind of long-form articles.

But we have to admit, this might not be attractive for all the readers out there. Some might still prefer doing it the traditional way, by reading. But for those who just don’t have the time to really glue their eyes to the screen, this is a great solution.

For the lazy ones out there, this might also be your best friend. You can just pick any article you want and not be bothered by words and paragraphs.

It definitely is a yay but only to a select few – the ones who want to maximize their downtimes and the ones not enticed by reading.

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Rolf Mistelbacher

Rolf Mistelbacher

Hi, I am the CEO & Founder of Fresh van Root, a boutique digital agency in Vienna, Europe. I got first online in '96 and since then I am hooked on the web. Here I blog about social media, WordPress and blogging, productivity, apps and tools for digital marketers, and all things related to running a digital agency. Before starting Fresh van Root I was working at Microsoft for quite some time. Get in touch with me on LinkedIn or Twitter!

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Rolf Mistelbacher
CEO & Founder Fresh van Root