June 6, 2013

Bigger, better: ESPNcricinfo's new iPhone app

In keeping with the idiom of change in the digital world, our new iPhone app is here and it is designed to give you a better user-experience with more functionalities

While pronouncing change as the only constant in life, it is unlikely that the Greek philosopher Heraclitus would have foreseen life a millennium and a half ahead. His words, however, now ring truest in the digital world: change is not merely the constant, but the leitmotif. And it is the most exciting part of the ride.

The cricket world has been gloomy recently but life would be morbid without optimism. A new tournament is about to begin, and we are delighted to present to you a new version of our iPhone app. The Android one is due to follow in a few days.

It seems like only yesterday that we launched our first iPhone app, but two years is about time for an upgrade. The website has changed, as have technology and your expectations. With the latest version, we bring not merely a new design but, as you would expect from the new product, a far better user experience and many more functionalities.

More significantly, though, we bring you much more of the site. The biggest challenge in designing a mobile version of a website as large and as deep as ours has always been in crunching it to fit a smaller screen, but our designers and building partners have managed to pack in a lot more while not compromising on the aesthetic quality and the ease of navigation. Consequently, these mobile apps are now much closer to the full-site experience.

We know that when you are on the go, scores are what you look for the most. We have put them on top of the screen with an easy sideways scroll. Crucially, the scores panel is a mix of editorially curated content and your preferences. As on the website, you will always find international matches up front, but the domestic matches will be based on your preferences. The default setting will be based on your geographical location, but you can set your preferences based on the teams you support.

The live scorecard itself has been improved significantly. There are easy navigation buttons for full scorecard and commentary, and the commentary is now on an infinite scroll. You can, of course, like I do, simply swipe across these pages seamlessly. We have brought back the lean-back mode, an old favourite that puts the live scores on screensaver mode. And, in keeping with our commitment to take the app closer to the full site, we have added a full-match coverage module that makes available all the match-related content - stories, photographs, video - on a single screen.

The home screen has been neatly divided into familiar sections. The main headlines are followed by the Specials, which scroll sideways. The main navigation scrolls sideways too, and we have added the blogs section, which incorporates The Cordon. Bringing up the bottom are the daily regulars - Quote Unquote, Did You Know? and Number Crunching.

The story pages have been enhanced significantly. They carry the little niceties like pull-quotes and sidebars, and related stories are at the bottom. For those of you who like interacting and sharing, you can now post comments using your Facebook id and post the pieces you like on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, all your comments can now be read on the app.

For idling away time, there is a quiz game and for the curious, there is a glossary section to browse through. The search has been made more efficient and, to give you quick access to content that you like, there is a star icon that allows you to save stories and sections to your favourites folder.

Those of you who have the app already will receive an update notification. In case you don't, here's the link.

As always, we are keen to hear from you. Tell us if you like it. And tell us what you don't like. You have the right to expect the very best from us, and it is our obligation to be worthy of your expectations.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo