App Watch: What Publishers Are Launching in the Mobile Space
Application: National Journal News & Hill Directory
Produced By: National Journal Group
Platform: iPad and iPhone
Political junkies are always looking for a fix, and with its new mobile app launched in April, the National Journal is ready to deliver. In addition to news and analysis of inside-the-beltway politics and policy, the app features National Journal Directory, a database with up-to-date information on every member of congress and their staff (as well as for states and governors).
“The core National Journal audience consists of beltway professionals, many of whom have regular business with the individuals who are featured in the directory,” says Jess Perry, vice president and general manager of digital operations for National Journal. “For anyone on the go, in and out of meetings, the app provides a quick read on the day’s top stories, along with easy access to key data points about every elected official along with staff contact information.”
So let’s say you are a Washington insider—a lobbyist, perhaps—and you discover at the end of a networking lunch that an important bill you are pushing for has died in committee. Never fear! With this app, the information you need to get your lawmakers in line is never more than a few swipes away.
The mobile directory is a pared down version of National Journal’s online Almanac of American Politics, which Perry describes as “a rich database of legislator, district and committee profiles, key votes [and] staff contacts, used mostly for research purposes.”
All this rich content is available free to users through July; after that, the news feed remains free, while content from the magazine and directory will be available only to print subscribers and members.
Application: The Huffington Post Universal App
Produced By: The Huffington Post
Platform: iPad and iPhone
The Huffington Post has always been more about breadth than depth, with reams of SEO-friendly blogs, comments and news articles drawn from a wide variety of sources. This makes for a particular challenge when designing an app for mobile devices: How could any phone or tablet replicate the experience of browsing HuffPo on a desktop?
“With HuffPost serving up an amazing amount of content across our news, politics, entertainment [and] tech sections, we wanted an experience that allowed users to personalize our editorially curated content to set their favorite sections, but also dig deeper,” says Josh Klenert, head of UX & Design at Huffington Post Media Group.
The answer was a universal iOS app incorporating design elements customized for iPhone and iPad. The new version of the Huffington Post app, released in February, allows users to personalize their experience around their particular interests, post comments and easily share content via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, e-mail and SMS to join the online conversation.
“Readers can select their favorite sections and then, from the main screen, they can simply swipe right-to-left to see those sections, and then swipe down to dig deeper within a section,” Klenert says.
Customization tools also include text resizing, a nighttime reading mode, and a “compact mode” allowing iPhone users to see more articles at once on the smaller screen. Articles, which are updated real-time, can be bookmarked on iCloud or saved for reading offline.
- James Sturdivant