How AP Mobile and Guardian apps present multimedia contents and interactivity on smartphones

On the web, a multimedia news story usually provides an interactive, rich media user experience – an interactive interface where visitors can explore various contents: texts, photo gallery, audio slideshow, video, audio, data visualization, etc. On mobile devices, though, it is a challenge to deliver similar rich media and interactivity. That’s why many news apps only have texts and photos, and not much interactivity.

Among the news apps I have on my iPhone 4S, the Guardian and AP Mobile are the two apps that feature more multimedia contents than other news apps, and AP Mobile, at times, has news stories that combine interactivity and rich media.

The Guardian app has a separate “Multimedia” section which features standalone videos, audios and photo gallery; but being standalone contents, there is not much  interactivity – they are further put into three subsections: Video, Galleries, Audio. Here’s a screen recording of me exploring Guardian app on my iPhone:

AP Mobile, at times, has special reports that incorporate both rich media and interactivity. In a special report on the Boston marathon explosions, AP Mobile presents a multimedia, interactive story that has, in one piece, texts, photos, video, infographic, photo gallery, and data visualization (in that order). The interactivity is where one can tap to go through the photo gallery, and tap on three tabs to explore the data visualization. Here’s a screen recording of AP Mobile’s Boston report:

I should say, as seen in the AP video recording, the user experience is not very smooth: at times, I experience sluggish responses – where you see pauses in the video, it is when I was waiting for the app to respond: the infographic takes a little while to show up, the photo gallery responds after I tapped that arrow multiple times, and the data visualization also shows a delay before responding to my taps on the other tabs.

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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