Serving readers the stories they want, when and how they want them
I am delighted to tell you about the new mobile app for The Economist, which we have just released for iPhone and iPad. It is the first major change to The Economist on mobile in almost eight years: when the original Digital Editions Economist app was released in 2010 the iPad was brand new, and at that stage the success of the iPhone and its app ecosystem was not yet guaranteed.
A lot has changed in mobile over that time. As a result, our mobile team has looked carefully at how readers use their smartphones today to help inform the new app’s development, while of course remaining true to the goals and spirit of The Economist. An easy-to-use user experience and good performance have been a priority, and throughout the process we have tested the app with readers to make sure it does the job it needs to do: give our subscribers the best possible experience of The Economist. (The app is for paying subscribers only; it does not provide any free articles for non-subscribers.)
I will explain the different features of the app below, but for those who want to dive in straight away, you can download it from the App Store.
Our readers are busy people. Reading everything The Economist publishes each week can be a challenge. But we know our readers want to take a wide view of what’s going on in the world, and not just read myopically on a limited set of subjects. Daily Picks is intended to help readers achieve this.
Daily Picks is a list of articles curated by our editors. It is the first thing you’ll see when you open the app each day and combines articles from The Economist’s output: the weekly edition, new stories on Economist.com and, in the mornings, our mobile-only daily update Espresso (with more to come later). Our previous app only included articles from the weekly print edition, so with a broader range of content, including our analysis of breaking news stories, the new app will feel much more topical, which we hope will encourage more frequent use. And because Daily Picks is a limited selection, drip-feeding articles from the print edition throughout the week, readers should be less likely to feel overwhelmed by what we publish. We hope you will discover something new and interesting to read every time you open the app — possibly something that you might not otherwise have seen at all.
The morning briefing (Espresso)
Our daily briefing app, Espresso, was released as a standalone app in 2014, and is a important start of the day for many readers. For those readers who want everything in one place, Espresso will now appear at the top of the Daily Picks each morning, six days a week (weekdays and Saturdays).
The weekly edition is still very important to our readers. So that you don’t miss out, you can find the latest weekly edition of The Economist in the This Week tab. A new edition will be published here each Thursday afternoon UK time, ahead of it being available in print.
It is not yet possible to read editions other than the latest one in this new app; we will add this feature very soon.
The Economist weekly edition is also available as a full, unabridged audio version. This is available in the new app — making it easy to listen to The Economist on a packed train, while driving, or in any situation where reading is not easy to do.
Each article from the weekly edition has a playback option, and the entire print edition can be played from the This Week tab. Offline support for the audio edition will come very soon.
Real fight starts now
This first version is only the beginning for the new app. The mobile team will continue to improve the experience over time, add more features, and include more articles, audio and video from The Economist’s output. The goal? To help subscribers seamlessly enjoy and discover the best of our journalism in one place. The app is available on iOS only for now, but we plan to launch an Android version later this year.
The existing Economist app is still available — under the name “The Economist Classic” — as is the separate Espresso app. So you can continue to use these if you prefer to do so.
We hope you enjoy the new app, and I welcome your feedback on how we can improve it.