Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

USA Today revamps iPhone, iPod touch apps for quick news access

Gannett Co. Inc.?s USA Today is launching a new iPhone and iPod touch application that highlights the publisher?s content for quick access by readers.

The USA Today app has been revamped after the company has realized that a large chunk of its users are accessing the app at home, work and while traveling, showing how mobile is quickly becoming the go-to channel for all-day news coverage. In addition to the iPhone and iPod touch app, USA Today also has an app for the iPad and lines of apps for Android, Windows and HP devices.

?This app is more about presenting content and an ad experience with content and imagery first in mind,? said Matt de Ganon, vice president of mobile product and operations for USA Today at Gannett Digital, Washington.

?We do have new features, but it was more about the look and feel of the user experience,? he said.

Breaking news
The app is set up horizontally and updated in real-time to show off the top stories in each of USA Today?s sectors, including news, money, sports, life and technology.

Compared to USA Today?s old app, the design has been tweaked to cut down the number of options for consumers.

For example, on the publisher?s old iPhone app users could find stories either by topic or category at both the top and bottom of the app. Now, a button in the upper left-hand corner combines both into one place for users to access content.

The app also includes larger photos, photo galleries and more video content than was available previously.

The weather section has also been updated to include a more detailed forecast for up to 10 different cities. Users can view either a five-day or 15-day forecast.

Current USA Today app users will need to re-download the app from Apple?s App Store to view the new content.

Mobile publisher
USA Today?s mobile strategy is premised on the publisher being on every mobile platform.

Most recently, USA Today developed an app for the Kindle Fire after realizing the growing opportunity of the device (see story).

USA Today has also partnered with news apps such as Flipboard to make its content accessible to as many readers as possible.

The updates to the company?s iPhone and iPad app point to the growing need from consumers for quick access to news content.

In particular, an app is a good bet for publishers because it creates a rich user experience and keeps a prime place on users? mobile devices that they are likely to access daily.

?Mobile consumption is second only to television and plays a critical role in news consumption habits now,? Mr. de Ganon said.

?In addition, mobile capabilities are moving at a lightening pace,? he said.

?USA Today listens to its audience, and our goal is to provide great content in an engaging design on the platform the customer chooses. We are committed to designing and developing the best news and information apps on the market.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York