iDownloadBlog iPhone app development
Every day the average user is buried by tons of contents. In order to win readers as loyal users, the editors need to take the content consumption experience to a higher level. The key is to get readers involved, while keeping the experience simple and smooth.
Sebastien Page, founder and Editor in Chief of a well-known American blog that talks about the Apple world, came to us with a simple request: help his blog to stand up in the technology blog landscape.
The solution: the development of a native iPhone app
Sebastien wanted an iPhone app because he thought it was the best way to help users access their favorite contents in a different, easy and more engaging way.
We wanted to realize an app able to deliver tech news to tech fans almost in real time. Our goal was to improve the user experience of reading and browsing through the articles, making it better than the mobile browser’s one. A key request was to keep the same content creation process for the editors.
FOR THE EDITOR we integrated the iPhone native app with WordPress, the editor’s CMS, using the WP API in order to pull the articles directly.
This solution have two positive implications:
- The editors doesn’t have to change anything in the writing process,
- All the articles already in the blog are automatically visible in the app.
So, without changing anything in the content creation process we have been able to provide to iDownloadBlog a totally new and effective way to spread their contents.
FOR THE READER we developed an intuitive app, easy to use, able to grant a great user experience. The articles are displayed as cards in order to make the news browsing process something neat and pleasant. Users can also adjust the character and the size of the font, add content to a favorite list and interact with the iDownloadBlog vibrant community through the article comments section.
We liked so much developing for the Apple Watch (here you can find our first project for the Apple Watch) that it was really natural for us to include an Apple Watch app to this project. Moreover we thought it was a cool feature for the iDownloadBlog users, who are very enthusiastic about Apple devices. The Apple Watch app allows readers to see the articles titles and add the more interesting to their favorites, so they can read them later on the phone.
After we solved our concerns about keeping inalterate the content creation flow, the main key for developing a great app was to provide a cool and functional design.
Sebastien Page, the founder of the blog, gave us a very fresh concept: he asked us to put one single piece of news per screen, allowing the user to swipe right and left to navigate that, à la Tinder. We instantly fell in love with the idea and we helped him developing the concept more in depth with mockups and different iterations on his first concept.
In order to obtain a complete and smooth interaction we only needed a few, well designed, screens.
The design is inspired by Tinder and Paper (a nice app from Facebook). We chose the “card style” because it allows users to swipe easily from one article to another while, at the same time, seeing an exhaustive preview of it.
We worked closely with Sebastien in order to obtain a product able to satisfy his expectations. We divided the project into three different steps: the low level design, the high level design and the implementation.
I don’t always make apps, but when I do, I use an Italian studio 🙂 https://t.co/3NCHt0fe7a
— Sébastien Page (@SebastienPage) 14 marzo 2016
Despite Sebastien (and the iDownloadBlog headquarter) are located in the United States, the distance was not a problem thanks to a well managed communications e revision system. That enable us to deliver the product without any time delay.
From left to right: the low level design the evolves into the high level final design
Developing an app that allows users to enjoy editorial contents on mobile devices provide editors a great opportunity: the possibility to better incorporate advertising. Compared to sharing contents through a mobile adapted browser page, sharing content with a dedicated app allows the editor to establish in advance the form and the positioning of the ads, determining the reader stress level.
In the iDownloadBlog app, we tried to mediate between the user needs of a great reading experience and the client needs to monetise his work. We insert two small horizontal banners per article and a full screen advertise, displayed every so often while swiping between cards. Every advertisement are served via AdMob, the Google ads system. All the ads can be turned off with an in-app purchase.
In the end
We developed an app able to change how editorial content can be delivered and read, combining the connection to Wordpress with a inspired and functional interface design.
At the launch the app hit the top 30 chart in the news section in the US store thanks to the marvellous marketing effort of the iDownloadBlog team.
- UI/UX Design
- Apple Watch