It already has an excellent mobile version of its website, but FT.com is looking to improve on this offering with an iPhone app, released today.
The FT Mobile app is free to download and supported by advertising, though it does carry the same restrictions as the main site, allowing users to read 10 articles per month before having to cough up for a subscription.
The app is well laid out, with plenty of navigation options. The top menu bar allows users to skip between different sections of the site, and can be scrolled horizontally, which provides more options without talking up too much space on the page.
There are also the four links at the bottom of the page, allowing users to switch between news, market data, their portfolio (for signed in users), and a currency converter.
The site search is good too, allowing you to look for both news and quotes, and the fact that it saves recent searches is useful, though some sorting and filtering options would help users to be more accurate with their searches.
The article pages are excellent, and some though ha been given to making it easy for users to read them on iPhone screens. For instance, there is an option on the top right of the page to enlarge the text to save straining your eyes.
In addition, as you can see above, turning the iPhone turns it into an article reader, so all the navigation options disappear, leaving just the article text and making the most of the screen:
All pretty impressive, though I would have liked some links to related news or others in the same section at the foot of each article, rather than having to navigate back to the category page first.
There are some useful tools on the app too; including a currency converter:
The markets section is impressive too. As well as providing an overview of the major financial markets, you can check fast moving stocks, track eight currencies, as well as commodities and bonds.
As on the article pages, the app makes good use of the iPhone to provide a global market map when you turn the phone:
FT Mobile has a high proportion of readers with iPhones (60% had either
Blackberries or iPhones according to stats from earlier this year)so the app makes perfect sense.
This is an excellent app which makes good use of the iPhone’s capabilities to provide financial news and information in an appealing and usable way.
The presentation of market and stock data is particularly impressive, but I also like the way in which the FT has made the news articles as easy to read as possible, something other newspapers can learn from for their own mobile sites and apps.