USA Today takes first steps towards building universal Android app

USA Today has launched an Android application that features a new layout aimed to strengthen readership and increase engagement.

The new app design is optimized for the most recent Android operating system. Additionally, the app is also  compatible with all Android phones and seven-inch tablets, including the Nexus 7.

“This app is our first step towards building a universal app for Android,” said David Payne, chief digital officer of Gannett. “Our latest version is compatible with phones in addition to 7-inch Android tablets. Within the near future we plan to update the app to be compatible with 10-inch tablets in addition, in order that our users can download one USA Today app and it’ll be compatible across all Android phone and tablet form factors.

“We also introduced offline reading to our phone app users, giving them the power to download articles upfront for reading on-the-go, even when they don’t have a connection,” he said.

“Updating the design of the app was also very important to us, so that we could provide our users with a clean, simple-to-use interface that is consistent with Google’s guidelines.”

USA Today is a multi-platform news and information media company.

Engaging readers
Through the Android app, consumers can browse through a selection of categories including the latest news, money, sports, life, travel, tech and opinion headlines.

Additionally, users can browse photo galleries, view snapshot polls, sports scores and customize their weather information.

One of the new features of the Android app lets readers download USA Today headlines for offline reading.

Being on as many platforms as possible is crucial for publishers.

Nowadays, consumers have an array of devices on-hand that they use to access news content.

Furthermore, simply rolling out an app and not updating it or redesigning it months later is a mistake many marketers make.

Mobile app redesigns are a great way to keep users at their toes, in addition to offering them an improved mobile experience.

USA Today is sensible to revamp their app and include features to be able to satisfy new and existing users.

“In addition to updating the app to follow Google’s ‘Holo’ interface guidelines, the second one most critical design principle for us was to make the app look great at the highly regarded Nexus 7 tablet and Amazon’s latest Kindle Fire HD tablets,” Mr. Payne said.

“We watch for a future app update that still lays out well at the Nexus 10 and other 10-inch Android tablets,” he said.

Past efforts
USA Today have been ramping up its mobile strategy during the last year.

In September, USA Today gave its Website and mobile apps a fresh new look because the company invested further in print media, with a larger discuss digital products besides (see story).

Most recently, USA Today rebuilt its iPad application from the floor up and enhanced it with new utilities and capabilities to drive reader engagement (see story).

“We offer the similar advertising options in our Android app that we do in our current USA Today apps,” Mr. Payne said.

“Opportunities include prestitial ads, banner ads in our headline lists and in our articles, in addition to full screen interstitials. Geo-targeting is obtainable, and pre-roll video is coming soon,” he said.