The Halifax, Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald’s recently redesigned app has been named by Apple Canada’s App Store editorial team as one of the six best apps in its category for 2013. Apple announced Wednesday that the recently-enhanced Chronicle Herald app—officially launched on December 12 and redesigned for iOS 7—is one of six apps awarded in the “Best of Newsstand” iPad app category in Apple’s Canadian App Store. The other apps recognized by Apple in the same category include Montreal’s La Presse+, the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Vanity Fair.
The Chronicle Herald is Canada’s last family-owned independent major city daily newspaper. I’m a newspaper fan, and personally still prefer to read my daily newspaper, which in my case has been the Chronicle-Herald for most of the past 50-odd years, in its print edition. It arrives in the box at the end of our driveway six days a week at about 6:00 AM. I figure hard copy newspapers are on the bubble (the C-H recently dropped its Sunday edition), and I intend to enjoy them as long as they’re available, but this in one honey of a newspaper reader app—an object lesson in how to configure a great one, as Apple evidently recognized. (Full disclosure: freelance op-ed commentaries of mine have occasionally been published by the C-H.)
The C-H notes that it had been working Halifax’s MindSea Development Inc. on its apps since 2010, and after the newspaper moved to a metered website last August and a subscription-based iOS 7 app in October, MindSea CEO Bill Wilson proposed a redesign. Cited by the Chronicle Herald, Mr. Wilson says it was fantastic to be recognized by Apple. His company received a similar honor in 2011 for a U.S. client. “It’s probably their biggest feature, the biggest award they can give out, the editor’s choice for the year,” he notes, “but this is the first time we’ve had a chance to, from the ground up, design something purely for the iOS 7, so it gives it a focus on clean design and focus on the content, which is really refreshing. So I think from that point of view, in terms of English newspapers across Canada, it is unique.”
In his blog, Wilson notes that the Mindsea team aimed to create a ground-breaking app designed for iOS 7, including:
- Content-focused design emphasizing readability and bold visuals
- Ability to swipe between sections and stories to see all the latest news
- Videos and photo galleries within articles to get the full story
- Integrated Apple Newsstand capabilities including subscriptions
- Extra! functionality to view augmented reality content in the print edition
- Breaking news alerts through push notifications
- Streamlined content publishing with support for reader news tips
- Supported by revenue from mobile ads and paid subscriptions
He thinks that three factors substantially contributed to this project turning out so well:
- “The team at The Chronicle Herald was incredibly collaborative and user-driven throughout the process. We worked well together while applying an iterative design and development approach.”
- “We have expertise in publishing and had already launched over a dozen newspaper apps in the App Store. Without an industry learning curve, we were able to invest more time in creating a breakthrough app for The Chronicle Herald.”
- Timing: “The Chronicle Herald is one of the first Canadian newspapers to launch a Newsstand iPhone/iPad app designed for iOS 7. They were able to move quickly and earn a top spot in the Newsstand section of the App Store….They’re one of our favourite clients because they’re open to exploring new approaches and asking good questions.”
With the Chronicle Herald iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app, users can read local, national, and international news, business features, sports, and arts and entertainment coverage, video stories, dynamic content, analytical pieces, op-ed columns and breaking news reports in an attractive format. Redesigned from the ground up, the new App runs on devices with iOS 7 or higher. Navigation has been greatly improved, plus the functionality of more video and photo gallery integration in stories enhances the reading experience. They’ve also included push notifications so you can get breaking news alerts directly to your device.
The Chronicle Herald is amongst the first newspapers to include in its reader App—in addition to the default format—a fully integrated e-paper reader mode, which will be a major plus for users who like to read the paper in the same columnar broadsheet context as the print edition. Another first is the addition of Herald Extra!—enhanced functionality that allows readers of the printed product to bring the printed page to life with augmented reality features. In the coming weeks and months, the Chronicle Herald says they will begin adding additional photos and video to specific print content pieces and advertising to give readers something Extra!
- First month free trial.
- Monthly subscription cost: $12.99 plus applicable taxes. A subscription to the app is included for print edition subscribers.
- Complete the subscription in iTunes. Payment will be charged to your iTunes account after you confirm the purchase.
- No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period.
- Subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period. This can be managed in your iTunes account settings.