Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Josh Klenert and Otto Toth talk about the new, refreshed HuffPost for Android mobile app

TNM was contacted by communications intern Zeena Halepota from The Huffington Post on the idea of writing about the new HuffPost for Android app. With the email came a link to the blog post written by Josh Klenert, who leads the Design & User Experience team, and Otto Toth, who leads the Mobile Development team at The Huffington Post. Honestly, I told Halepota, I couldn't do a better job of explaining the new Android app than they did so suggested simply reposting the piece. She agreed, and here it is:

When we first gathered the team to start discussing an app refresh for Android we started with you, the reader. We pored through the comments on our site, the feedback you've submitted directly, and the suggestions you've posted in the Google Play store. Our takeaway? While you use the app frequently for the latest in news, politics, entertainment, and technology, it could be more stable, more media-friendly and above all: faster.
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Today we're proud to release our updated version of HuffPost for Android. The refreshed app was created with these five core elements:

Faster: A lot has changed since our first Android app. Overall, we wanted to take advantages of the latest Android software and hardware to build a smooth, fast, and simple user experience.

We designed the app to include the latest version of the Android platform -- Ice Cream Sandwich. We've added new features to make for a more natural, fluid, and simple user experience, including:

  • From the top navigation bar, a new quick drop-down list that highlights your favorite sections.
  • A new article viewer that allows the user to flip left-and-right to access more stories.
  • Background downloading of content so users can start to use the app more quickly.
... and Smaller: Second, we completely rebuilt the network that feeds the app to be more mobile-centric. We designed the new server API to offload a lot of computations from the client side to the server side, which tremendously shrinks the data size that is downloaded and improves the client rendering performance -- all which makes for a smaller app that's faster.
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More Legible: We've designed the app to follow all the latest Android design patterns, which should make the app more intuitive to Android users. We've reinterpreted our big & bold HuffPost splashes for the smaller screen and made the feed of blogs and articles bigger, bolder and more tap-able than your traditional article listing. For a better and more legible reading experience we're using typography designed for digital screens by Font Bureau.

Online, and Off: If you want to read the news while you are offline you can download your favorite sections before you hit the road or board your next flight with a simple press of button.
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Widgets: To scan the latest news even faster, you can place our brand new widget on your home screen to quickly flip through the latest news when you are in a hurry and don't have time to engage with the full app.

As with all software, this is just the beginning -- we look forward to adding new features over time. Look for the companion Android tablet app in the coming months, as well as our redesigned iPhone app. Download the app and let us know what you think.

Josh Klenert leads the Design & User Experience team for The Huffington Post. Otto Toth leads the Mobile Development team for The Huffington Post.