More and more TV viewers are seeing the news, not from traditional 5-6-10 p.m. broadcasts, but from online and other sources. Two Birmingham stations have custom apps for the iPhone (which are also compatible with the iPod Touch and soon-to-arrive iPad).
In this post, we review Fox 6’s free iPhone app.
Birmingham-based iPhone developers Josh Grenon and Brian Cauble served as our guest reviewers.
Fox 6 iPhone app: News and Weather tabs
What was your overall experience?
Josh: Great! Great user experience!
Brian: Overall, the experience was mixed. The interface is clean and understandable, but features such as sharing stories are very awkward.
Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for TV station affiliates?
Josh: This application could be skinned to various TV stations. I would recommend that other TV stations use this type of application for their news.
Brian: This definitely feels like a skinned app. It seems like an app intended to be used by many affiliates with minor changes.
As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?
Josh: I liked the main categories listed in each tab: news, videos, weather and traffic. Those are the first categories I would look for in an iPhone news application. I liked that no ads were in this application. [Note: A later upgrade has added advertisements, as shown in the screenshots, taken after the review.]
Brian: I liked the ability to have sports and movie information. I would add more local video content for sports and traffic accidents.
As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?
Josh: I had a great user experience with this application! I love the use of the tab bar control to separate the news categories! The only thing that would improve this application would be the Three20 icon menu used in the iPhone Facebook application; this would allow more categories on the front screen when the application starts.
Brian: Not much. The app has way too basic of a look and feel. I would improve the aesthetics and allow users to customize which topics are most important to them.
Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?
Josh: I’d pay 99 cents for this application.
Brian: I would not pay for it. It would need two features to be worth paying for. First, it needs to be customizable. People want customizable news content from a local source. Second, it needs push notifications. People would like to be notified when breaking local news happens.
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Our other review: the CBS 42 iPhone app.
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Josh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.
Brian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.
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What should Birmingham media outlets do online?
Ask our all-star panel on Feb. 16.