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

AP Android app streamlines content access via tile-based navigation

The Associated Press recently redesigned and streamlined its Android application, leveraging tile-based navigation to make it easier for users to personalize and access content.

The AP Mobile Android app update includes both cosmetic and functional revisions, such as a new tile-based interface, faster performance and debunked bugs. The revamped Android app builds on an ongoing strategy that the AP is carving out in giving mobile users the best possible experience.

"For AP creating a successful mobile app is a delicate balancing act between the user experience, adding value for our more than 1,100 contributing members and creating a viable business that can support growth ongoing," said Michael Boord, global director of mobile products at AP, New York. "The new Android app takes some cues from our successful iOS version in this regard with a more flexible interface.

"The new design allows us to expand the content offering with non-feed type content, such as AP radio broadcasts or our popular AP Top 25 polls," he said. "It also allows us to surface and feature engaging member content, such as a series on sea change by The Seattle Times, while enabling more unique advertising and monetization opportunities."

New, improving
The wire news agency released its updated AP Mobile iOS app last October. The Android and iOS apps are available for free download on Google Play and the Apple App Store, respectively.

AP has experienced quick growth in mobile, predominately on iOS, according to Mr. Boord.

Much of its growth on iOS can be attributed to ease of use and AP's ability to surface new content and new advertising opportunities.

The Android app update reflects AP's desire to drive similar growth on Android with features and usability that will excite both users and marketers, according to Mr. Boord.

The redesigned app has native Android features and tile-based navigation, which enables faster access of content.

Users can customize the tiles to show only preferred features.

Streamlining, speeding up and simplifying consumers' reading, listening and viewing experiences are vital to news media.

AP Mobile Android updated app

Dominating others 
AP's new app is the latest example of how publishers are scrambling to keep up with consumers who are gobbling up content on multiple screens by developing their own top-notch apps and sites.

"Consuming news on mobile is quickly becoming the dominant platform," said Tony Vlismas, senior director of marketing at Polar, Toronto. "It?s estimated that next year it?ll be more than half [of all news consumption].

Mr. Vlismas is not affiliated with AP News. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

"Whereas we lived in a world where mobile was for snacking or curation, now people are using it as their primary source above desktop," he said. "AP News, and other media companies are seeing the importance of providing a native experience on a reader?s phone.

AP is not the only news media that is updating existing or launching new apps.

CNBC recently overhauled its Android app to offer more real time data, news and analysis (see story):

Going forward
As print media increasingly moves toward mobile, news media outlets are expanding and improving their mobile offerings (see story).

AP is the world's oldest and largest news-gathering organization, it is a non-profit cooperative, owned by its subscribers who contribute to and draw from its news materials.

Moving into 2014, AP will continue to innovate with exciting new features around customization, new tools to enhance its story telling ability with more mobile-friendly content types and layouts and better integration of advertising units, according to AP's Mr. Boord.

"We are also putting more emphasis on video, better surfacing local member content and exploring ways to better leverage the power of sharing and social media," he said. "And we are constantly looking for ways to continue to grow our user base both domestically and internationally."

Final Take
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York