Daily Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail launched a full version of their Windows 8 app last week. The app is available in the Windows Store and is designed to be used on Windows 8 tablets and desktop devices. It complements the Windows 7 mobile app and joins existing Globe and Mail apps available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.
The result: a consistent user experience across devices and seamless user experience between apps. While apps developed for the Windows 8 platform will retain their own branding, purpose and content, the apps will share a common user experience. This is made possible because a number of core features such as search and share are already built into Windows 8 itself. This will allow developers to focus on content and design.
According to Matt Frehner, the Mobile Editor at The Globe and Mail, developer outreach and strong UI guidelines will become the future of developing for native platforms. In the case of building for the Windows 8 platform the developer tool kits and design guidelines enabled them to build an app that fits within the Windows 8 environment but retained enough flexibility that they were still able to put their own touch on it.
The Globe and Mail Windows 8 application is designed to give users an elegant online reading experience, according to the paper. The app launches directly into the top news stories which are updated in real-time by the Globe's editorial team.
Users navigate through the app by scrolling horizontally and are able to flip between sections using the navigation bar. Horizontal scrolling is a prevalent feature in Windows 8 apps and is a feature that works very well for digital versions of newspapers as makes the experience comparable to reading a paper version. The font size can also be adjusted and user preferences are saved across devices.
While the app is free to download, the Globe's metered paywall still applies to their mobile applications. Subscribers with Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday subscriptions will have unlimited access to content. Non-subscribers have access to 10 articles a month with the exception of articles accessed through social media sites,videos, stock quotes and letters to the editor which are not included in their overall count.
The online version is available for a monthly fee of $19.99.