World News Network iPhone App Case Study

About World News Network

The World News Network is one of the most comprehensive and diverse news resources of Internet. With over 75 million pages indexed, the network covers all the genres of news that includes politics, business, sports, entertainment, science, technology, health, etc. Providing news from over 1000 eminent sources from around the world, World News Network is a global leader in online news.

 

Mission

With the advent of Smartphones and Tablets, the technological world changed like never before. People's way of accessing information changed and so did their requisites. World News Network wanted to enter this market and decided to create an iPhone Application for wn.com. The iPhone App would provide the user with all latest happenings of the world including photos, videos, biographies and lots more, all on the touch of a finger.

The company wanted the WN App's user interface design to be such that the usability of the app would be as simple and as efficient as possible. Also, the design should have a perfect balance of visual elements and technical functionality. So, before developing the application, WN needed some wireframe mockups of the app to be designed.

World News Network wanted Application Nexus to design a WN App that would be tailored with the color and theme of World News website. It was decided that Application Nexus would design three different wireframe mockups of the app, trying various permutations and combinations, and the best one will be taken ahead.

Critical

The biggest challenge of the app was that it should look good on the comparatively small screen of iPhone. Since it was a News App, there were supposed to be lots of different menus and it was imperative that the screen should not be clustered. Perfectly balancing the array of images, text and icons was also very important.

A News App showcases a wide range of subjects; so to decide which section should be featured on the home page needed some smart thinking. The company also wanted Slideshow, Search, Popular, Settings, etc. tabs to be shown on the homepage itself.  Some of these were distinctive tabs that WN wanted to be featured on the app. Tabs like 'Setting' where the user can actually customize his home page or choose the language he wants; a 'Popular' tab where the most read stories and subjects will appear; a 'Biography' tab in which one can find all the information of any renowned personality.

The company also wanted a menu of five tabs (news, video, gallery, wiki, sites) to appear on every news article that is opened. So where exactly to place this menu, making sure it won’t create disarray, was absolute vital.

Another significant thing that needed to be kept in mind was the space for touch gestures. For iPhone, the minimum hit size is 44x22 pixels; a button is designed to be smaller than this and the user might get annoyed with mis-hitting the intended button.

Also, given that there are myriad News Apps out there, the company wanted the WN App to be unique, along with featuring some amazing UIs. Respecting the interface guidelines meted out by Apple, the task to create a unique News App on the discussed features was quite challenging.

How Mission was accomplished

After some brainstorming sessions, the team of Application Nexus laid out a step-by-step plan on how to design the WN wireframe mockup. The foremost priority was selecting the right color theme for the App, as the first thing that impacts the user, are the visuals. Since, it was a News App, a minimal color palette was decided and the focus was kept more on the data rather than the graphics. Keeping in mind the logo, theme and colors of the WN website, we designed two colored wireframes - one in black and the other in blue. The company approved the blue wireframe and the end result was a stunning blue-themed WN News App.

The layout of the homepage was another critical task as there were many menus that needed to be featured. It was decided that only the 'Top Stories' will be featured, along with a slideshow of the latest happenings. The remaining menu, which included Sports, Culture, Features, Related Subjects, etc. would appear as one scrolled down the homepage. We also took special care to make sure that the navigation from homepage to inner pages would be easy and efficient for the user.

The Setting tab, which the company had specifically asked to include on homepage, was placed on the top right of the home screen. Clicking on this tab would take the user to an inner page, which would give the options of customizing home screen, choosing language and sending feedback. We designed separate pages for each of these options, too.

On the bottom of the home screen, a menu was created which had buttons for WN Home, Popular, Search, Slideshow and More. Clicking on the Popular button would take the user to the list of the most popular subjects and stories. Likewise, the Search, Slideshow and More buttons would also lead the user to inner pages which had a list of the respective menus. Each inner page was designed specifically and to the minutest detail. Another requirement of the company was that a menu of five tabs should appear on the inner page of a news article. The menu was smartly placed above the image of the article which would make it easier for the user to see and click on.

The sizes of the buttons were designed keeping in the mind the guidelines set by iPhone. Since the ideal target of a fingertip is around 44x44 pixels, the minimum space between elements was kept in between 12 to 22 pixels. This would avoid the user tapping on a wrong button.
It is said that the best apps are those that get their User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) right and this is what Application Nexus worked towards.

Business Benefits

  • An iPhone App - It is no revelation that iPhone is one of the biggest sensations of this century and it has created a sort of revolution in the technological sphere with their Apps. Having an iPhone App can be propitious for any media company because what users today want is easy accessibility and convenience. World News Network's decision to target this market and create WN iPhone App would certainly prove successful in the near future.
  • Designing a Wireframe Mockup - It is quite possible that one is inclined to impress the users with an app that looks great, but it doesn't mean that it would be easy to use. By designing a wireframe mockup, the technical functionality and visual elements can be perfectly balanced and developing the app would be much simpler.
  • Addition of new features - To be unique, certain features were added which would make the experience more enjoyable for the user. An option was created where users can actually submit their articles; this made the app more social and interactive. Another feature was the ability to customize the homepage; the kind of news and the number of news you want, will be featured on homepage. Choosing the desired language, amongst 40 different languages, is also an element which shall enable users from across the world to access the WN App. The addition of these features will definitely spice up the user experience and be beneficial for the company.
    The launch of the WN App is already in process and users can very soon experience their daily dose of World News right on their iPhone, along with some promising new features.
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