Shift has evolved.

Shift Auckland is now Digital Arts Network.

Read the Media Release

NZ Herald iPad Application

Bringing a constant stream of dynamic rich content into the mobile environment without compromising on user experience.

The challenge

APN, owners of The New Zeland Herald, wanted to be ahead of the pack in making their content available through emerging technology. In 2010, though the iPad was yet to be released in New Zealand, APN wanted to hit the ground running. Having already worked with Digital Arts Network for many years on, they approached us for a solution.

Breaking new ground for newspaper apps

Our first task was to see what was already on offer in the global market. The New York Times and Washington Post had already developed iPad apps, along with leading magazines like Time, Wired and USA Today. We conducted a detailed survey of their functionality, design and user experience.

What we found was that while many of these apps had good features, none of them had completely solved the challenge presented by the iPad. Some were overly complicated, failing to embrace the constraints of the medium. Others, like the New York Times, presented a cut-down version of their normal content. We knew APN wanted to make everything available to their iPad readers, while staying true to the device's simple aesthetic.

From our research into the existing magazine and newspaper apps, we developed an ideal feature set of their functionality – for example, swiping to move from story to story, or paginated scrolling and columned content while reading in landscape. That brought us to our next challenge.

The team really know what the end consumer wants and find ways to really deliver it using the best content available. This latest initiative is evidence of that.

Spencer Bailey Digital Publisher - APN
  • Early design iterations
  • Research and development workshop
  • Brainstorming solutions
  • Working through schematics and user flows

Content and readability

Monthly magazine apps (such as Time) were able to individually design each article around the content due to the relatively low volume of content. For a news media channel that has a near-constant stream of new content, this approach was not feasible. We wanted to provide APN with a means of presenting their incredibly dynamic content, while not compromising on visual design and readability.

Our solution was to provide APN with designed templates into which they could render their high volume of dynamic content. The templates were sculpted for readability and visual aesthetics, and set up for both portrait and landscape orientations. This allowed APN to take full advantage of their existing publishing workflow, while providing an engaging, clean and channel-appropriate user experience for their audience.

An award-winning result

In the end, we created a news app that balanced excellent readability, visual design and ease of maintenance. It was very well received, continuing to rank highly among similar apps globally. We’ve since continued to tweak and improve the app in partnership with APN, and Digital Arts Network is very proud of the result. 

The NZ Herald iPad app was awarded official honouree status at the 2011 Webby Awards, and won silver at the 2011 Designers Institute Best Awards.

This is the reason I bought an iPad on day one, and I was not disappointed.

Michael J. Emery Apple App Store Review
  • Generous imagery on article pages
  • 'Pinch' to preview articles
  • Share articles