More On The Apps World

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

We’ve been watching the thousands of apps launched for the various smart phones and, of course, lately for the iPad, as well as some of the tools being used to help develop them.

They certainly are popular. Research firm Nielsen surveyed 4,200 mobile phone owners, and found that 21% of this group had downloaded an app in the previous 30 days. Of those, two-thirds had chosen a free or paid-for game.

A further 55% had opted for maps and navigation services, while 54% had utilised the mobile extensions offered by social networks like Facebook. Also, 38% downloads were in the entertainment and food category; 31% for banking and finance; 30% for sports news and information; 29% for retail; and 21% for travel and lifestyle.

Here are two apps that took our eye recently.

  • Sports Illustrated on the iPad has used advanced WoodWing Digital Magazine Tools to develop its app.

    “Sports Illustrated succeeded in turning the iPad version of its magazine into something unique,” says Erik Schut, president of WoodWing Software, Zaandam, The Netherlands. “Not only has the famous ‘wheel’ to operate various sharing functions been implemented in the app, they also make extensive use of the newest features available in our Digital Magazine Tools. We were blown away when we saw the creative applications they have come up with.”

    WoodWing’s Digital Magazine Tools coupled with Adobe’s InDesign technology enable publishers to easily create content for the iPad in almost the same way they produce content for print. Because these tools present themselves simply as new panels in InDesign, the layout staff is easily able to use them without special training. The Digital Magazine Tools are an extension to WoodWing’s Enterprise publishing system, which is already being used by numerous publishers around the world for their print publications.

In the Sports Illustrated app, special attention has been paid to the interactive features. When touching the screen for about one second, a navigation wheel appears, offering options to share the content via the social networks Facebook and Twitter, or to send an email. In addition, live Web content – like player statistics – or related pictures and articles can be accessed directly.

    Furthermore, the design team has made extensive use of hotspots and overlays, to add extra layers of information to the content directly visible on the screen. This has also been applied to the advertisements, making them ‘multi-dimensional’.

  • And on the heels of its mobile app reaching a milestone 1 million downloads, Canada’s Yellow Pages Group has now made the free app available for download for the iPad.

    Stéphane Marceau, chief marketing officer at Yellow Pages Group, says, “The iPad’s tablet format represents a new way for Yellow Pages Group to provide Canadians with access to local business information to help them with their purchase decisions.”

    YPG is believed to be the first Canadian local commercial search provider to build and customize an application for the iPad.

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