by Admin
Screenshots of the iPad and iPhone apps

On Tuesday we are releasing an update to the BBC News iPhone and iPad app in the UK designed to make the app faster and more stable, with bigger, better quality images on the home screen.

We are busy doing some research and thinking at the moment about what people are looking for in our News apps in the longer term, but we thought that in the meantime, it was important to fix one or two bugs affecting some users of the existing app and to make it a better, slicker experience overall.

We want to make sure the current app remains a great way to get a quick overview of the top stories across a wide range of subjects, easy-to-scan on a mobile and, once the stories have loaded, handy to read offline too.

So, it will now be quicker to start up the app and to update it, and it should feel smoother and faster as you scroll and swipe through the screens and stories.

The larger homescreen images we've introduced serve two purposes:

  • first, you can see what's in them more clearly and there's more room for the headline
  • second, their positioning makes it clearer that you can scroll horizontally in each news category to reveal more stories (we noticed that in user testing some people assumed there were only three stories a section).

There is a new layout on iPad when you view the home screen in portrait mode - designed to show more headlines and make it easier to find the stories you're interested in.

Among the bugs that we've fixed is an issue that sometimes caused the app to get stuck when updating, and another where you sometimes saw duplicate stories within a single news category.

For our product team, these improvements required a fairly major reworking of the app's code. The good news is that they are now working from a more stable base which can be built on with new features and functionality. This revising of our code is something we've already done with our Android app, so we'll now be able to release upgrades simultaneously on both iOS and Android, which are by far the largest mobile platforms for us in terms of users. This latest update is already available internationally.

If you're a user of the app, or decide to try it out, we hope you'll like the improvements we've made. And as we think about our apps generally and plan our next steps, we'd like to hear about what you'd most like to see in future.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

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