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Deconstructing the Newsreaders – Usability examination of 4 iphone news applications

  • Dec 1st, 2009

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Mobile Media

mainMedia companies are now focusing heavily on mobile content distribution and looking for new revenue models on mobile devices. Understanding the unique opportunities and constraints of this medium isn’t exactly intuitive. The device landscape and trends seem to change bimonthly  and there isn’t a ‘no-brainer’ template for companies to adopt and invest in. Everyone just has to jump in the water and start swimming or be left behind. New business models, design patterns and user interactions are all still being sorted out in this evolutionary process.

What makes mobile application usability different from the traditional website equivalent? In short: small screen, limited input devices, and infinite variability of social and environmental contexts encountered by mobile users. You can’t regurgitate your website onto a small screen and call it a day, you have to give some thought to the wants and needs of a user are as they pull their mobile device out of their pocket and open your app to interact with your brand. You have to evaluate what makes your brand special in the mobile context and play to those strengths with a polished and easy-to-use application. “Usability” has lately catapulted into a long-deserved limelight role in product creation. The promotion of usability has created a new vocabulary for customers to differentiate “good” software and it can no longer be a secondary consideration.

So what attributes make a news media company’s application truly excellent and usable?

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