ITN has just launched a news app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which provides the latest news and sport in a more accessible format.
News organisations in the UK have been pretty slow to adapt their mobile sites or provide apps for smartphones; FT.com has a useful mobile site, with an iPhone app on the way, but others, like the Guardian, need to improve the user experience on mobile.
The ITN iPhone app, which is free to download, keeps it simple, and provides a good usable way to keep up with the top news stories, though there are plans to add more entertainment news and features to the app in future.
It works well though, loads quickly, and provides a clear rundown of the latest news headlines:
I would have liked more categories to look through, and more content overall on the app, but what is on there is well presented and easy to read and navigate.
News stories also link to videos where available, so you can effectively watch News at Ten on your mobile; it even has a ‘fun’ section, showcasing all the recent ‘…and finally’ items from the news bulletins. One drawback though: quite a few video links didn’t work for me.
The best news app I have seen for the iPhone so far is the New York Times app, which, some slow loading issues aside, is a useful benchmark against which to judge other news apps.
ITN News measures up well so far, but it is more basic in terms of the range of content on offer, and could improve by introducing some of the NYT app’s more advanced features, such the ability to search the entire site and browse articles by images.
Still, kudos to ITN for introducing an iPhone app before the BBC. It has done well so far and has become one of the top free apps on iTunes. There is a BBC news app for the iPhone, but this has been developed by a third party:
The BBC Reader app actually looks good, and provides some useful browsing and navigational features, such as storing viewed articles and browsing by pictures, but it links to the standard web version of the BBC site, meaning that some zooming and scrolling is required by users to read articles on a small screen.