Revamped WRAL News app offers search, improved readability

Posted June 6, 2016
Updated June 7, 2016

You asked and we listened.

WRAL has rolled out a fresh update to its Apple, Android and Amazon news apps that gives users access to a 20-year archive of articles and videos at their fingertips.

Looking for a story you saw on TV? The new search feature in the app's menu makes it easy to find the story as well as other related content directly on your phone or tablet.

"Search was the number one request we have had from our app users, so we are thrilled to add this feature," said John Conway, general manager of CBC New Media’s digital platforms. "Users can now search more than 20 years of WRAL stories and videos, and are able to view that content in the WRAL News app.

"They are no longer limited to the stories currently in the news."

Users can search by tapping the menu icon, also known to some as the hamburger menu because of the stacked vertical lines.

WRAL app search

Ease of use was a major goal in improving the app, specifically making it easier to scan headlines to find the stories that interest you. Larger headline fonts and more eye-catching images will help you find exactly what you’re looking for faster and easier.

"We received quite a bit of feedback about our headline sizes; and as phone screens have become larger, we've noticed the feedback more and more," said Jake Seaton, digital product manager for WRAL.com. "The new views – with bigger fonts and images – will make scanning much easier for our app users."

A richer reading experience was also paramount is revamping the app so that users have access to the same videos, images, infographics and interactive content that is available on WRAL.com.

"The new app brings the rich presentation we're used to on the web – including images, video and tweets in stories, for instance – to app users, and allows us to experiment visually in delivering in-depth reporting," explained Jodi Leese Glusco, director of content for WRAL.com.

And for cord cutters, the WRAL app for iPhone and iPad now supports video casting so users can watch WRAL News directly on their Apple TV and Google Cast devices. Android users can also take advantage of the integrated Google Cast functionality to mirror their phone or tablet to their TV at home.

The update also provides a number of bug fixes that improve on the podcast and radio streaming experience, as well video playback. The new version was optimized for smartphones, which make up more than 80% of app traffic. WRAL's new media team is working on a version of the app that will be specifically designed for tablet users, with a more visual display that better uses the larger screen sizes.

For some users, the WRAL News app will automatically update to the new version (5.0, which can be found in the About section of the main menu) based on your device’s settings. Other users may need to download the new version from the iTunes, Google Play or Amazon app stores.


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