June 8, 2010 | by Chris Smith
I’ve always wondered the exact reason news companies produce smart phone apps that basically contain the same content as their site.After using the HuffingtonPost.com Android app and widget for a couple of days, I see that the “power of the app” allows developers and content providers bring the experience and the niceties that they want their users to have.
The HuffingtonPost.com app allows it’s users the ability to read any of the content that you would be able to find on the real HuffingtonPost site, yet does it in a fasion that may be more presentable. At the top of the screen are the different topics such as politics, entertainment, sports, media, technology, etc. and the stories are post vertically. It only take a swipe of a story page to switch to the next topic and I have to admit that the app loads pretty quickly.
There are also “slideshows” that allow you to view the latest pictures that are coming into the Huffington Post in a gallery type of format. It is a nice touch, but I think that it may be more effective with a small caption underneath the picture explaining what it is, or at least where it was taken.
In the settings, Huffington Post users can sign in to allow comment posting access as well as link their Facebook Connect account to the app. The settings page also gives control in the way of allowing you to organize and arrange your content categories and even control the sensitivity of article category swiping. It looks like in the comments in the Market for this app, users were complaining about the sensitivity being to high. I like how the developers solved this by giving users complete control.
What about the widget? Well, there is a widget and it doesn’t really do too much other than seeing the latest headlines. In fact, I would have to say that the widget is just for the sake of having a widget and nothing more. It would be nice if your were logged in to have a small comment button on the widget. When pressed it would allow you to comment on the story in the widget.
- category browsing and “swipe to” category
- user and Facebook Connect logins
- home widget
- good speed and performance
- Settings are very limited
- home widget sort of pointless
- picture and app resolution not very high