Professional networking portal ApnaCircle has launched an Android application to cater to mobile users. Talking to India Digital Review, Yogesh Bansal had stated that the portal already gets 10% of its overall traffic from mobile. The transition from web to mobile is one of the key aspects to every online portal now, with the emergence of mobile devices and increased connectivity on the go.
ApnaCircle merged with France based social media platform Viadeo in 2009 and boasts of 45 million global users and 3 million user base in India. ApnaCircle has a stiff competition from the likes of LinkedIn in India, which recently stated that it has surpassed 20 million user base in the country.
How does ApnaCircle work?
When you download the application, you are greeted with a six tile layout illustration of your contacts and messages along with news feed. You can view your contacts under ‘My Contacts’ and add contacts based on the suggestions on your phone book contacts and your company. Messages lets you check the messages you may have sent/received on your network. The ‘Visits’ section shows you the people who have most recently visited your profile. Good way to know who has shown intent for being in your network and otherwise.
You can add your contacts to your phone and request them for their phone numbers for a more personal conversation. You can also contact them through Skype and request them for a Skype ID if they haven’t mentioned it on their profile. You can also have your own ‘personal’ and ‘business’ purpose business card on the application for others to view information about you. The application can also add an ability to sync through Facebook and Twitter to find your friends which many applications are trying to adopt with these networks being the primary source of networking for many.
The news feed section shows you the recent news and happenings along with any your contacts may have shared on the network. The news section is not that comprehensive and lagging at times. It would be good if the application can filter out news and articles to be read based on the domain you are currently pursuing. The news is a mix of everything and not that attractively put to compel a read. The inbuilt browser capability to read the articles is good to have for user experience. LinkedIn has also incorporated the feature in the new update on Android. I hate to be redirected to some other application/browser to read.
The news section in terms of screen space takes a 1/4th space and the other part is about the updates your contacts have shared. In order to gain and have that extra attention span by the user, I believe the news section can have a more prominent layout to encourage click throughs with bold images supporting it (Something which LinkedIn has done well in their recent update). Content wise, the application is left to be wanting more and the articles featured are not exclusive for the user to return for more.
You can share your update in 140 characters or less with your network. However, there is no support to add rich media content to your status update. The ‘new message’ icon is hidden under the news section; it would be good to have it right on the home screen to encourage people to share content. Hiding it under some tab is not helping the application usability.
How effective is ApnaCircle?
The application is good in performance and functions without much lag. However, in terms of features and additions, the application has still miles to go. LinkedIn having acquired Pulse and Slideshare, is moving in the right direction in delivering content that appeals to its network. ApnaCircle might have to do something of similar sorts to attract and retain users. A 45 million network is of no use unless most of them are actively involved in the network (which I highly doubt on ApnaCircle).
Do give ApnaCircle a spin and let us know what you think about the application.