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News aggregator Newsnow has recently released a version of its website optimised for mobile users.

Newsnow mobile

Newsnow uses a wide range of sources, I find it useful for keeping up with football news for instance, so how well has it translated to mobile? 

Getting started

Some websites seem to make you jump through hoops to get onto their mobile versions; some (like Guardian mobile) make you register first, while others (ITV and TimesOnline) insist that you text them first to receive the link.

Newsnow does it slightly better, putting the address (nnmob.com) on the site, though sites should just detect the fact that mobiles are being used and direct users to that version, though some users may appreciate the option of using the standard site.

Homepage

The key thing for mobile versions of websites is to make the site as simple to use as possible, by removing any unnecessary graphics, photos, ads and other thing which make the site harder to view and slows the loading process on a small screen.

Newsnow does this quite well, presenting a stripped down version which displays stories in chronological order, and provides a navigation menu at the top:

Newsnow

This is much easier to view than the standard version on a mobile, which requires much zooming in on an iPhone:

Classic Newsnow on mobile

It does require a fair amount of scrolling, which may affect performance on some mobiles, but it is easy to use and view headlines on a small screen with the optimised version.

Navigation

Navigation is quite complex on the standard website, partly because there are a lot of news categories to look through. It has been simplified as much as possible, with a search box and a drop down menu with different categories.

Navigation Newsnow mobile

After selecting a section, sub-categories within the sections are accessible, so all the content on the web version of the site is available via mobile.

Clicking on a story opens the page in a new window, which some usability experts may disagree with, but is perhaps the best way to use this kind of site.

Conclusion

Some useful features of the web version are missing though; including the table showing the most viewed and recently viewed articles, which provide a useful way to find content. 

These have been ditched though, as well as the ads, to keep it simple for the mobile web.  

For such a text-heavy and cluttered website, Newsnow has been translsted well to mobile with a stripped down version that is easy to use.

Related articles:
NewsNow revamps website, jury remains out 
Is 2009 the year of the mobile internet?

Related research:
Mobile Internet - Roundtable Briefing, June 2008

Graham Charlton

Published 11 December, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Nice job, Newsnow.

It's a clean, simple site with content that feels right for mobile users.

I don't like going to the full site on my iPhone -- much prefer the mobile version.

over 7 years ago

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