The Telegraph has recently redesigned its mobile app.
Now free, faster and with a greater focus on personalisation, it is part of the publisher’s aim to engage a younger audience.
I decided to give it a whirl – here’s what I thought.
Previously only available for Telegraph subscribers, the app is now free and available for everyone to use.
Signing up is quick and easy. You can do it via your email address or using your Google+ or Facebook login.
I chose the latter as it’s always the easiest option.
As well as providing convenience for users, this log-in feature is a good way for the Telegraph to collect data and target an untapped audience.
It’s also clearly another reason for making the app free to download.
With the previous app averaging 17,000 to 19,000 daily active users, the publisher is hoping the revamp will increase this figure.
My first impression of the app was that it looks very different to the Telegraph website.
Using an eye-catching colour scheme, it is much more vibrant and modern than I was expecting. More on that later…
Users are first met with the main navigation menu. Here, you can choose from eight verticals – top stories, news, sports, business, comment, entertainment, lifestyle and video.
Clicking through to a category, you can then scroll through a feed of articles containing the headline and image of each one.
Once you click through to read a particular article, it is then possible to swipe left or right to view the previous or next in line.
While it’s not difficult to navigate, user satisfaction might depend on how you prefer to view news online.
With clearly defined categories, it means you are able to navigate to a specific section instantly.
Alternatively, the ‘Top Stories’ stream allows for a more casual browse. This is akin to scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed, but likewise, it means that it is harder to scan multiple article headlines at a glance.
Unlike the Guardian app – where an overview of articles is visible on the homescreen – the Telegraph is much more isolated in its approach.
Look & design
One aspect that really impresses is the speed of the app. There’s no waiting for articles to load, so everything feels very fast and fluid.
While the main menu is clear and simple, the look of the app is one aspect that is less agreeable.
Personally, I don’t mind the bold colours and graphic style design.
It might appear garish on a bigger screen, but I don’t think it’s all that troublesome on a mobile.
However, the sizing of the images does feel overblown and unnecessary, overshadowing the synopses below.
Looking through the reviews, the design is clearly not to everyone’s taste.
There’s no doubt this is the most divisive aspect of the app – and one factor that will determine whether users will stay loyal or ultimately abandon it.
The new app promises increased personalisation, and this comes in the form of the customisable main menu.
It’s very easy to do. You just click ‘edit’ and tick or untick the categories depending on what interests you the most.
The idea is that the more you interact with the app, you will receive news notifications and see articles that are more relevant to your interests.
Since I downloaded it yesterday, I have already received quite a few push notifications.
While the stories are the type I would choose to read, the frequency could prove annoying, so I’d probably find myself disabling this feature after a while.
The app includes a decent amount of integrated video, often embedded into articles to discourage users from clicking away.
I found this feature pleasing as I generally watch videos in relation to articles, rather than viewing them inside a dedicated ‘video’ section.
The option to share articles is good, if a little subtle, and there are also a lot of links to related content.
The only downside to this is that most links take you outside of the app to the main Telegraph website.
This means frustrating load times and a disruption of the user experience.
Overall, the new Telegraph app is a bit like Marmite.
You’ll either love the graphic design and news-feed style navigation. Or, you’ll probably hate it.
The shame is that loyal readers are likely to edge towards the latter, especially if they are used to the much more muted and traditional style of the print and online paper.
There are some good points – like clearly defined categories and personalised content.
However, whether this will be enough to entice new users remains to be seen.