Dank is a unique new Reddit app which breaks away from the cookie cutter templates and design guidelines that Material Design inspired apps mostly use. The app has its own delightful animations, gestures and user interface quirks. Dank is building towards a good hefty feature set – it currently supports fast media playback and viewing, for videos and images respectively, as well as inline comment replies, markdown support, GIF search while commenting, and much more. Dank does all this while still feeling right at home as an Android app, despite the unique design.
Dank’s Beautiful User Experience
Dank’s dark design is perhaps the first thing you would notice about the app’s design. The layout is minimalistic – login and settings are on the top right, while subreddit search and switching are on the top left. The main feed shows a filter and a simple list of the latest front page posts. Tapping and loading a post or media is instantaneous, and the animations are much more pleasant than any other Reddit app that I’ve used on Android. You can either tap on the title of a post to open it, or simply on the thumbnail to load the link or media in an overlay.
Scrolling inside an image/GIF/video post is my favorite part of the design. The title and comments simply move up in a separate layer on top of the content. If you swipe down the media, it closes the post and takes you back to the previous screen. If you are on a link post, the app shows a nice looking preview of the URL with a title, favicon, and a thumbnail image. Swiping down from the top on a link post also closes it, just like media posts.
You can swipe right or left on a post title or comment for various actions. Swiping left will bring up the upvote (short swipe) and downvote (long swipe) arrows. A long swipe right on comments will bring the user profile/save/copy link/share link options while a short swipe right will show the reply option. A long swipe right on a post title will show the save option. They might sound like a handful when you read them, but once you get used to these gestures, they became muscle memory and makes other Reddit apps look unintuitive.
In settings, you can change visual settings, filters (to show or hide NSFW posts), data usage and miscellaneous, which houses the option to add launcher shortcuts (accessible via long press on the app icon). In data usage, there are options to change the polling frequency for new messages, media quality and video auto-play on WiFi and cellular networks. Dank also lets users set up WiFi or cellular network pre-fetching for subscribed subreddits’ comments, descriptions and images.
What makes Dank better than the rest of Reddit apps? It puts content, front and center. You will not find any controls or buttons which do not need to be there. And neither are options hidden under layers of menus. The intuitive gesture based interface uncovers contextual options and reduces clutter, which has been one of my main issues with most Reddit apps on Android.
The app is still incomplete and there is a list of features it needs before the final release. Saket Narayan, the developer behind Dank, has already shared some plans on the next update. He’s planning to push out an update every 1-2 weeks. It’s also expected that he will be changing the name of the app. Apparently, that’s one of the most vocal feedbacks that beta users have shared.
Currently, the beta is only limited to 2,000 users and all slots have been filled up. Saket plans to open up the app to more users once he completes the basic feature list as per his announcement post here. Dank has the potential to become the Apollo for Reddit alternative for Android.