Design

Guardian puts open journalism Guardian Witness platform at forefront of new mobile and tablet app

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

May 29, 2014 | 4 min read

The Guardian has launched a new app across mobile and tablet that puts its open journalism Guardian Witness platform at the forefront.

The app is the first re-design for four years and comes amid a website design overhaul, currently being tested in beta format. The new app took almost a year to design, and was aimed at building the prominence of and access to the Guardian’s open journalism tools.

The Guardian Witness platform has been built directly into the app, whereas previously users would have been re-directed to the app store to download it. The title worked with digital agency Mentally Friendly on the project, the same agency the Guardian worked with on the previous Guardian Witness app.

Launch: The Guardian's new app

“It’s a huge step forward,” the Guardian’s group product manager Tom Grinsted told The Drum. “It’s about the holistic integration of contributing from our users, which is a really big thing for us. It’s a really important part of what the Guardian does and how it works in the world.

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“We’re going to be developing the app in general and Witness specifically over the next few years and this is a really important step to deeply integrating that open journalism. Witness has been a great success over the last year and this is really about say we know it’s a success, but how are we going to make more of it.”

The app currently offers display advertising in units that Grinsted said fit more seamlessly within the overall design. Plans to introduce the Guardian’s native advertising and content marketing services will be rolled out later, as will programmatic trading, although there is no set timescale.

The new design makes use of bigger and bolder in-steam mid-page units, and uses colour more heavily to differentiate between article and section types. In addition, for the first time users can subscribe to alerts from the Guardian’s breaking news live blogs, a service not available on the Guardian’s desktop platform. Users can also sign up for alerts when specific writers publish an article.

Most of the re-design, which started after it was deemed the older apps were “showing their age”, was carried out by the Guardian’s in-house team, although New York-based agency Code and Theory was brought in to help at the consultation stage and with ideas around prototypes.

Nick Hewat, commercial director at Guardian News & Media, said: “As people’s habits change, both news organisations and advertisers need to adapt and meet our audiences where they are. The new app is beautifully designed and will provide ad options that you would expect from a world class digital offering.”

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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