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‘First Arkansas News’ has its own Android app

By: 1 May 2013 One Comment

FANdroidWe’re trying something a bit experimental here at First Arkansas News and we hope people will like it.

What are we doing? Simply put, we’re making the site a bit friendlier to mobile browsers. While First Arkansas News has had a mobile theme for some time, look for that to improve (it looks pretty good now, but needs some tweaking). What’s more, we’re experimenting with an Android app that we hope is convenient (read on for more details about that and, no, Apple iOS users haven’t been left out in the cold).

While the desktop theme for the site looks great, there’s no escaping the fact that more and more people are accessing the Internet through mobile devices. Want proof? Have a look at this Computerworld article from March 25. According to that publication, the mobile browser usage share has jumped 26 percent in the past three months and is expecting to grow. While the vast majority of people still access the Internet through desktop browsers, mobile browser usage is expecting to grow and ignoring that trend would be foolhardy.

So, to make things a little easier for people using mobile browsers, First Arkansas News is using the WPtouch plugin for WordPress from BraveNewCode and are working to clear up a couple of annoying issues with it. The theme looks very good and is very usable, but the site isn’t rendered as precisely as it could be in some instances — we’re talking about aesthetics here rather than functionality.

QRCodeIn addition to the mobile theme, we’ve put together an Android app through AppsGeyser.com that will, hopefully, be convenient. If you want to put that on your Android device, simply click here to download and install it or scan the handy QR code to the right. If the Android app proves to be popular, the next step will be to get it listed on the Google Play store. Why wait? Believe it or not, First Arkansas News isn’t rolling in cash — we’re reluctant to spend any cash unless we know we’re making an investment that makes sense.

Now, Apple iOS users aren’t left out in the cold. By using the Safari browser, it’s very easy to add a First Arkansas News icon to your home screen so you can access the site at will. Simply head to FirstArkansasNews.net in Safari, click the right-facing arrow at the bottom of the screen and then tap “Add to Home Screen” in the pop-up dialog.

For those of you using the WordPress platform, making your site play nice with mobile browsers is a snap thanks to the WPtouch plugin and setting up an Android app through AppsGeyser takes a few minutes. Both of those services are free unless you want to use advanced features (in the case of WPtouch) or get your app published to Google Play (in the case of AppsGeyser). Those two tools are great places to start if you’re looking to make your site more appealing to mobile users, so give them a shot and see how you like them.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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